Tour of Utah Race Lead Changes after Fireworks in Little Cottonwood Canyon
Showdown of Climbers Expected Sunday for Grand Finale in Park City
[Editor’s Note: 2 great photo galleries are below. Cottonsox photos to come soon! – check back on August 8]
By Lyne Lamoureux
August 6, 2016 – Snowbird, Utah – American Andrew Talansky of Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling made his move on the signature climb to Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort to win Stage 6 presented by University of Utah Health Care. In the process, Talansky leaped to the top of the overall standings and into the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies Race Leader yellow jersey.
Talansky surged ahead of Colombian Darwin Atapuma of BMC Racing Team at the line to claim the 114-mile stage win in a time of four hours and 47 minutes. He and Atapuma attacked in the final kilometers of the legendary climb of Little Cottonwood Canyon and battled it out to the finish line at Snowbird Resort.
Another battle brewed behind for third place between general classification (G.C.) contenders Adrien Costa (USA) of Axeon Hagens Berman and Lachlan Morton (Australia) of Jelly Belly presented by MAXXIS. Costa out-kicked Morton for third and retained the Subaru Best Young Rider jersey. Both riders finished 31 seconds behind Talansky.
Morton, who wore the yellow race leader’s jersey on Stages 3, 4 and 5, dropped to second place in the G.C., now 22 seconds behind Talansky. Costa remained in third place, at 56 seconds back. Atapuma and Canadian Rob Britton of Rally Cycling each moved up one spot for fourth place and fifth place overall, respectively. Defending champion Joe Dombrowski (USA) of Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling moved up six spots to ninth on G.C.
Dave Richards Photo Gallery – click to start lightbox:
“It is a great feeling to win again. To win the stage is really special. Sitting here in yellow is great, but we have another day of racing,” said Talansky, who waited until his main competitor, Morton, was isolated to attack on the six-mile climb to Snowbird Resort.
He added, “This morning we thought about different tactics we could take. We thought of trying something different. At the end of the day we thought the best way was to go head to head with Lachlan. Then whoever had the better day would win. I didn’t know how Lachlan would be or how he would respond. This would just be one-on-one. Almost everyday you can count on tailwind up Snowbird except for the timing of the storm rolling through today. Which made it almost cross but actually a block headwind. When we hit the bottom of the climb it was very frustrating. I looked at Joe and was think how are we going to do this. If you are on a wheel, even if it’s steep, it’s a bit easier. We saw TJ Eisenhart attack and we pulled him back. I then had my guys, Ben King, Joe Dombrowski, Alberto Bettiol all ride. Then Darwin attacked and I could not go with him He is has a great acceleration and is a good climber. I thought if I could get up to him that we could work together and maybe get a gap. I was looking for a spot hoping the wind would shift but it didn’t. I saw that it was 4K to go and I had to go now. I went and got the gap on Lachlan and drove it all the way to the finish.”
“Our plan today was trying to get someone in the breakaway. We had someone who was pretty high on GC up there, which took off the pressure. The plan was to follow on the two climbs and see what we could do at the end. It went pretty well,” Costa said.
Steven Sheffield Photo Gallery – click to start lightbox:
“Talansky was super strong today,” said Atapuma. “Today was a tough day but I am very grateful for all of the work the team did. Today’s climb was comparable to what you find in the Tour de Suisse or the Giro. Tomorrow’s stage is complicated and I hope I have good legs.”
The Tour of Utah’s “Queen Stage” lived up to its reputation as one of cycling’s most demanding days in the saddle, with 11,165 feet of climbing, and two legendary Utah Office of Tourism King of the Mountain climbs. The early 13-rider break battled it out for the two Utah Sports Commission Sprint lines in Wanship and Park City. The 11-percent gradient, Category 1 climb across Guardsman Pass high above Park City decimated both the break and the peloton. After the 14-mile descent through Big Cottonwood Canyon, there were just 30 riders left to chase down the four-man break, who had a one-minute lead with six miles (10 km) to go.
American Benjamin King of Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling, the last rider of the break to be reeled in, was awarded the Larry H. Miller Dealerships Most Aggressive Rider jersey. Kiel Reijnen (USA) of Trek-Segafredo retained the Utah Sports Commission Sprint jersey.
For the Utah riders in the race, Taylor “T.J.” Eisenhart of the BMC Racing Team remained seventh overall on G.C. and Robbie Squire of Holowesko | Citadel Racing Team presented by Hincapie Sportswear jumped five spots to eighth. Tanner Putt of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team is 74th on G.C. Eisenhart was voted the America First Credit Union Fan Favorite in the Most Promising Rookie category. Costa took back the Utah Office of Tourism King of the Mountain jersey.
“I am from Lehi, Utah, which is just thirty minutes down the road,” Eisenhart commented. “BMC came out here a week before the race. We did some recon. We recon’ed parts of this stage. As we were previewing, me and Darwin gave it a little go. We wanted to see where our riding was at. We tried to simulate that again today with me riding in front. I tried to set Darwin up for a good position. Like always Puma went on the attack. He did a great job and couldn’t be prouder to work for this guy right here.”
“Normally you have a tailwind up this canyon. I think everyone was super frustrated. At the bottom there was a block headwind. It basically dulls everyone’s swords and neutralizes quite a bit. Eventually you come to a part of the climb where I had enough of it. I still wanted to put everyone under pressure and I was hoping maybe the wind would have switched. With the wind it was absolutely brutal. When they brought me back, I did as much as I could up front to let Darwin sit on and save as much energy as possible,” said Eisenhart.
Stage 7 presented by Utah Sports Commission uses the same course that became a classic in 2013, with Park City hosting the Tour for an eighth time. The Sunday finale on Aug. 7 covers 78 miles (125.5 km) with a new start and finish on Upper Main Street in Park City. Spectators can see a flash of the peloton in Kamas and Midway for Utah Sports Commission Sprint lines. Stage 7 has 7,883 feet of climbing, including one of the toughest climbs in the world at Empire Pass, the second of two Utah Office of Tourism King of the Mountain climbs of the day. This six-mile section of rough pavement through the Aspen trees has a gradient that averages 10 percent, with pitches greater than 20 percent. At the bottom of a technical descent into Park City, the racers will navigate a quick lap using Main Street, 9th Street, Park Avenue and Heber Avenue in downtown Park City for a final grinding climb to the top of Main Street.
Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah Award Jerseys
Larry H. Miller Group of Companies Overall Leader jersey – Andrew Talansky (USA), Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling
Utah Sports Commission Sprint jersey – Kiel Reijnen (USA), Trek-Segafredo
Utah Office of Tourism King of the Mountain jersey – Adrien Costa (USA), Axeon Hagens Berman
Subaru Best Young Rider jersey – Adrien Costa (USA), Axeon Hagens Berman
Larry H. Miller Dealerships Most Aggressive Rider jersey – Ben King (USA), Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling
America First Credit Union Fan Favorite jersey – Taylor Eisenhart (USA), BMC Racing Team
Results and Standings
Stage 6 presented by University of Utah – Top 10
1.TALANSKY Andrew (USA), CANNONDALE-DRAPAC PRO CYCLING – 4.47’03”
2.ATAPUMA HURTADO Darwin (COL), BMC RACING TEAM – 4.47’03
3.COSTA Adrien (USA), AXEON HAGENS BERMAN – 4.47’34”
4.MORTON Lachlan David (AUS), JELLY BELLY pb MAXXIS – 4.47’34”
5.BRITTON Rob (CAN), RALLY CYCLING – 4.47’49”
6.SQUIRE Robbie (USA), HOLOWESKO/CITADEL pb HINCAPIE- 4.48’04”
7.ROSSKOPF Joseph (USA), BMC RACING TEAM – 4.48’15”
8.ZOIDL Riccardo (AUT), TREK-SEGAFREDO – 4.48’25”
9.DIDIER Laurent (LUX), TREK-SEGAFREDO – 4.48’40”
10.EISENHART Taylor (USA), BMC RACING TEAM – 4.48’40”
General Classification (After Stage 6) – Top 10
1.TALANSKY Andrew (USA), CANNONDALE-DRAPAC PRO CYCLING – 24.04’30”
2.MORTON Lachlan David (AUS), JELLY BELLY pb MAXXIS – 24.04’52”
3.COSTA Adrien (USA), AXEON HAGENS BERMAN – 24.05’26”
4.ATAPUMA HURTADO Darwin (COL), BMC RACING TEAM – 24.05’53”
5.BRITTON Rob (CAN), RALLY CYCLING – 24.06’39”
6.ROSSKOPF Joseph (USA), BMC RACING TEAM – 24.07’05”
7.EISENHART Taylor (USA), BMC RACING TEAM – 24.07’32”
8.SQUIRE Robbie (USA), HOLOWESKO/CITADEL pb HINCAPIE- 24.09’29”
9.DOMBROWSKI Joseph (USA), CANNONDALE-DRAPAC PRO CYCLING – 24.10’05”
10.DIDIER Laurent (LUX), TREK-SEGAFREDO – 24.10’05”