Brown, Albert Take 2016 Tour Del Sol Stage Race

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By Ryan Barrett — It was a banner weekend in St. George for Canyon Bicycles-Shimano Racing as they took home the overall wins in both the women’s (Heather Albert) and men’s (Cortlan Brown) Pro 1-3 Tour Del Sol. The event was run under beautiful sunny skies and warm temps.

Fred Shattell of the Sonic Boom Racing Team took 2nd in the Pro/1/2 time trial at the 2016 Tour del Sol.

Kicking off Saturday morning with a 12.4 mile individual time trial, Albert began the event as she would finish it, winning the time trial in front of Mary Emerson (Team TOSH p/b Hyperthreads) and Rachel Holzer (Sisterhood of Cycling). In the men’s event, it was Sonic Boom racing taking the top two spots in the men’s event with Pier Pennoyer and Fred Shattell. Finishing 3rd was eventual overall winner, Brown.

The Pro/1/2 field rounds a corner in the criterium stage with the beautiful red rocks of St. George in the background.

Saturday evening was the criterium, held on a hotdog shaped course at the old airport. Apparently, Albert didn’t get enough time riding alone in the time trial as she went solo in the 40 minute criterium. In the group sprint for 2nd, it was again Mary Emerson, followed by Ali Knutson (Plan 7 DS). The men’s 60 minute event came down to a field sprint, won by recent St. George transplant Tyrel Harlan (Allegiant Travel p/b Matt Smith), followed by Erik Slack (Canyon Bicycles-Shimano) and Nicolas Applegate (Cycleton).

Erik Slack (Canyon Bicycles – Shimano) drives the break. Canyon rode a perfect final stage. Slack was positioned to win the overall if the break stuck. It didn't, but it set up his teammate Cortlan Brown for the overall win, with Slack taking the stage.

Sunday’s road race totaled 60 miles for the pro women. Again, it was Albert taking the win, with her Canyon Bicycles-Shimano teammate Anne Perry finishing on the same time. In 3rd, it was Emerson and the final overall podium was the same. The men’s event was 80 miles, missing the climb up Utah hill that the women completed, but with two laps of the Gunlock Loop, no less brutal. An early breakaway of four riders escaped, including Brown’s Canyon Bicycles-Shimano teammate Erik Slack. According to Brown, this was the teams’ ideal scenario because if the break gained enough time, Slack would win the overall and if not, Brown would be well rested to handle counterattacks closer to the end. Despite the gap going out to four minutes at one point, it worked to near perfection as the race leader’s Sonic Boom team did considerable work to keep the break in check. Brown was able to bridge to the leaders on the final climb to Veyo. In the final sprint, Slack was able to take the stage win with day-long breakaway companion Giancarlo Bianchi (Team Cycleton) taking 2nd and Brown in 3rd. With the time gained, Brown won the overall, followed by Bianchi and Shattell in 3rd.

The roads in and scenery in Southern Utah are perfect for a bike race.
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