Schopp Wins 2012 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah; Leipheimer Takes Final Stage

Johann Tschopp (BMC) in Little Cottonwood Canyon on his way to winning stage 5 and the overall race
Johann Tschopp (BMC) in Little Cottonwood Canyon on his way to winning stage 5 and the overall race. Photo: Dave Iltis.

By Jared Eborn

Bigger, stronger, faster and more grueling than ever. The 2012 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah lived up to its billing at America’s Toughest Stage Race and delivered six days worth of knockdown racing that served up epic stage wins, stunning miscues and a victor few expected to see.

BMC Racing Team’s Johan Tschopp found himself with the biggest win of his professional career after he used an impressive solo attack in Little Cottonwood Canyon to not only win the Tour of Utah queen stage at Snowbird, but vault himself to the top of the overall standings. From there, he survived an incredible assault by defending champion Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) up the Empire Pass Road south of Park City and emerged as the champion.

“Every time I’ve come over the top of that hill and on that downhill I imagine myself in that scenario that I was today,” Leipheimer, a former Utahn who saw his hopes for a third consecutive Tour of Utah title dashed in an inexplicable failure from the OPQS team in the Stage Two team time trail, said after finding a way to still have success in a race that means much to him on a personal level. “You know off the front coming out of the corners hard and taking the risks on the downhill and racing to that finish line. It’s why I do this. I’m pretty happy about that.”

Happy, too, were the thousands of fans who lined the highways and streets to watch the action as the race covered six days of action and featured more miles and vertical gain than in any of its past renditions.

With a field deeper in talent than ever before and including several Olympians and Tour de France teams, the Tour of Utah was also a chance for young riders and those on lower-profile teams to make an impression – chances those cyclists didn’t let pass.

Rory Sutherland (United Healthcare), Joe Dombrowski (Bontrager-Livestrong), Jake Keough (UHC) and Ian Boswell (Bontrager-Livestrong) showed they have what it takes to take on the big boys while the likes of the Garmin-Sharp armada, RadioShack-Nissan-Trek’s Matthew Busche, national champ Timmy Duggan (Liquigas) and Leipheimer provided daily displays of fireworks.

And it all started in Ogden.

Stage 1 – Ogden to Ogden – 131 Miles, 8,939 Feet Vertical

Rory Sutherland took the sprint in stage 1.
Rory Sutherland took the sprint in stage 1. Photo: Dave Iltis

The only thing hotter than the temperatures for Stage One of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah might have been the action on the roads.

With the thermometer slipping past the 100-degree mark by the time the 131-mile race ended, the 129-rider field was greeted to the 2012 edition of ‘America’s Toughest Stage Race’ with yet another epic instrument of suffering.

And by the time all was said and done, UnitedHealthCare’s Rory Sutherland blew past a lead group of 40 strong riders to take the victory on Ogden’s Historic 25th Street.

“It’s been six years of trying to do it and it finally worked,” said Sutherland, describing his team’s long-awaited trip to the top step of a podium in an American UCI-sanctioned race. “The first day of the tour, we managed get the yellow jersey and a stage win. Everything else from here on is a bonus, so we can try and enjoy this tour more than normal.”

Liquigas-Cannondale’s Damiano Caruso was second with BMC’s Brent Bookwalter close behind in third.

Sutherland’s burst of speed came after one long day of work. Stage One began in Ogden and returned after a loop through the Ogden Valley, the Morgan Valley and East Canyon with a quick trip down to Henefer for good measure.

After a few uneventful attempts to establish a breakaway, a group of four riders finally escaped and worked on building a gap as the peloton approached Trapper’s Loop for the first time. Ben Jacques-Maynes (Bissell), David Williams (Competitive Cyclist), Caleb Fairley (Spidertech p/b C10) and Eduard Beltran (EPM-UNE) sped off into the distance while the peloton braced itself for the remainder of the week’s work. After Champion System’s Willliam Clarke bridged the gap to make it a five-man break, the lead stretched to more than 10 minutes as they rolled past East Canyon Reservoir.

Paced by the Radio Shack-Nissan-Trek and Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda teams, the peloton rallied to bring the breakaway riders back over the final 60 miles of the stage. Though Jesse Anthony, the 2011 winner in Ogden’s Tour of Utah stage, had left the group and bridged to make it a six-man break, the chase group of 100-plus riders was too strong for the breakaway to succeed. After the catch was made on the ascent of the North Ogden Divide, a group of 40 pulled away from the field and fired off attack after attack as the finish line approached.

Utah favorite Dave Zabriskie nearly made his solo attack stick as he bolted from the field with 5K to go and built a 10-15 second advantage, only to be pulled back in with a little more than three kilometers left to race.

Sutherland patiently waited until the race entered downtown Ogden and worked his way to the front of the group as they swept through a trio of 90-degree turns in the final kilometer. Sitting in third wheel and without his customary leadout train coming out of the final turn, Sutherland said he waited a few seconds to pick his line and sprung his attack at just the right moment, winning the race pulling away.

“To get that (the win), at altitude, in hot temperatures, is a pretty hard way to start the Tour. The last climb was definitely hard, especially after how far we had already ridden,” said Sutherland. “I’ve been trying to win one of these for six years in the U.S. and finally had the abilities to get one done. So this is huge for me and for my team.”

The 10-second time bonus gave Sutherland a 4-second edge over Caruso and 6-second lead over Bookwalter. The bulk of the 40-man lead group finished safely.

“The final 20 kilometers were pretty chaotic,” said Bookwalter “You have a climb like that, that close to the finish and you just try to make it over the climb … and survive.”

Jacques-Maynes took advantage of his time in the breakaway to win the Ski Utah King of the Mountains jersey. Bontrager-Livestrong’s Lawson Craddock (USA) captured the Subaru Best Young Rider (under 23) and today’s second-place finisher Caruso will wear the XO Communications Sprint jersey.

Skyline High grad Connor O’Leary (Bontrager Livestrong) was the highest placed Utah-based athlete to finish Stage One, 4:45 behind the leaders. He was awarded the Miller Light Best Utah Rider jersey.

Two-time defending Tour of Utah champion Levi Leipheimer, along with 2009 Tour of Utah winner Francisco Mancebo, 2012 Olympian Chris Horner and Zabriskie all finished safely in the pack of 40 riders behind Sutherland.

Sutherland’s win gave UHC a nice boost of exposure as it fights to climb the ranks of professional cycling teams and served notice, if it was actually needed, to the Pro Tour squads that the Tour of Utah was going to be a slugfest from start to finish.

Stage 1 – Ogden to Ogden p/b Zions Bank

131.6 miles

Stage Results

1. SUTHERLAND Rory, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team; 5:25:41, 10 point bonus

2. CARUSO Damiano , Liquigas-Cannondale; 5:25:41, 6 point bonus

3. BOOKWALTER Brent, BMC Racing Team; 5:25:41, 4 point bonus

4. CRADDOCK Lawson, Bontrager Livestrong Team; 5:25:41

5. KOENIG Leopold, Team NetApp; 5:25:41

61. O'LEARY Connor , Bontrager Livestrong Team; 5:30:16

83. LOUDER Jeffry, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team; 5:30:16

85. MUMFORD Reid, Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies; 5:32:25

100. NANKERVIS Tommy, Competitive Cyclist Racing Team; 5:34:50

Overall Results

1. SUTHERLAND Rory, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team; 5:25:41, 10 point bonus

2. CARUSO Damiano , Liquigas-Cannondale; 5:25:41, 6 point bonus

3. BOOKWALTER Brent, BMC Racing Team; 5:25:41, 4 point bonus

4. CRADDOCK Lawson, Bontrager Livestrong Team; 5:25:41

5. KOENIG Leopold, Team NetApp; 5:25:41

61. O'LEARY Connor , Bontrager Livestrong Team; 5:30:16

83. LOUDER Jeffry, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team; 5:30:16

85. MUMFORD Reid, Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies; 5:32:25

100. NANKERVIS Tommy, Competitive Cyclist Racing Team; 5:34:50

Stage 2 – Miller Motorsports Park, Tooele – 13.5 Mile Team Time Trial

Christian Vandevelde leads the Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda squad through a turn in the stage 2 Team Time Trial. Garmin won the stage and put Vandevelde in Yellow for 3 days.
Christian Vandevelde leads the Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda squad through a turn in the stage 2 Team Time Trial. Garmin won the stage and put Vandevelde in Yellow for 3 days. Photo: Dave Iltis

He may not carry a Utah driver’s license these days, but Dave Zabriskie still knows how to drive at an awful fast pace on his home state’s roads.

Put him on a closed racetrack and Zabriskie might be unstoppable.

That was definitely the case at Miller Motorsports Park as Zabriskie set the early pace for his Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda squad during Stage Two.

While Zabriskie was the lead bike out of the start gate during the 14.5 mile team time trial, Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda blistered the race track in Tooele and skillfully powered his team leader, Christian VandeVelde into the yellow jersey as the race’s overall leader.

“I love it when a plan comes together,” Zabriskie playfully tweeted after the race.

That plan was perfectly executed as Zabriskie led his 8-man team out of the gate and quickly established the perfect pace to dominate the 17-team field. After Zabriskie pulled off, Tyler Farrar took over in front and used his sprinters legs to ramp things up and allow his team to lock into their rhythm – a rhythm that was unrelenting as it covered the 3-lap race in nearly perfect precision.

“I don’t have to do much with so many experienced riders, such as VandeVelde and Zabriskie,“ said Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda team director Charlie Wegelius on planning a strategy for this specialized discipline. “You win a team time trial not by going extremely fast, but by never going slowly.”

Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda’s win shook up the overall standings in the race.

Stage One winner Rory Sutherland’s United HealthCare team had a fine effort on the MMP tarmac, but finished 53 seconds slower than the Zabriskie-led pace. That knocked UHC’s strongman out of yellow and down to 10th in the GC.

VandeVelde is the new leader with partners in crime Tom Danielson and Zabriskie sitting in second and third, respectively, as each have the same time. Teammate Peter Stetina is in fourth giving the argyle-clad squad a dominating presence on the leaderboard.

Rabobank’s Wilco Kelderman jumped up to fifth in the GC after his team mastered the wind in the early TTT sessions to finish second on the day, 33 seconds off the pace. Radio Shack-Nissan-Trek finished third at MMP, 38 seconds back.

The stage also spelled doom for Leipheimer and his hopes for a Tour of Utah three-peat.

Trouble showed up almost immediately for the six-rider Omega Pharma-Quickstep team as one rider was off the back less than a mile into the race and, with the team time going to the fifth rider, the squad having to deliberately slow down to allow its fifth wheel to catch back on after failing to stay together through the chicanes and turns of the speedway. Leipheimer found himself two minutes and four seconds out of the lead after the stage and his designs to take another Tour of Utah victory dashed.

Stage 2 – Miller Motorsports Park Team Time Trial p/b XO Communications

145.2 miles

Stage Results

1. VANDEVELDE Christian, Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda; 22:35.3

2. ZABRISKIE David, Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda; 22:35.3

3. HOWES Alex, Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda; 22:35.3

4. DANIELSON Thomas, Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda; 22:35.3

5. FARRAR Tyler, Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda; 22:35.3

52. O'LEARY Connor, Bontrager Livestrong Team; 23:43.3

79. MUMFORD Reid, Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies; 24:23.2

106. LOUDER Jeffry, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team; 25:20.4

123. NANKERVIS Tommy, Competitive Cyclist Racing Team; 27:34.4

Overall Results

1. VANDEVELDE Christian, Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda; 5:48:16

2. DANIELSON Thomas, Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda; 5:48:16

3. ZABRISKIE David, Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda; 5:48:16

4. STETINA Peter, Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda; 5:48:46

5. KELDERMAN Wilco, Rabobank Cycling Team; 5:48:49

61. O'LEARY Connor, Bontrager Livestrong Team; 5:53:59

79. LOUDER Jeffry, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team; 5:55:36

83. MUMFORD Reid, Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies; 5:56:48

120. NANKERVIS Tommy, Competitive Cyclist Racing Team; 6:02:24

Stage 3 – Ogden to Salt Lake City – 85.5 Miles, 7,134 Feet

Dave Zabriskie leads the field over Little Mountain on Stage 3 in chase of Johann Tschopp. They caught him just around Ruth's Diner on the descent of Emigration Canyon.
Dave Zabriskie leads the field over Little Mountain on Stage 3 in chase of Johann Tschopp. They caught him just around Ruth's Diner on the descent of Emigration Canyon. Photo: Dave Iltis

After skipping a year, one of the Larry H. Miller’s iconic stages was back.

Not back, however, was a breakaway group of riders holding off a hard charging peloton and enjoying a victory.

Instead, the stage which began in Ogden and traveled the Wasatch Back before finishing at the University of Utah saw that breakaway get caught as the yellow jersey team chase it done near the summit of Big Mountain. But instead of calling it a day, that breakaway was able to descend Emigration Canyon with a 50-rider group and then do something few expected – give the stage a winner anyway.

“Today was just trying to survive until the finish, because it’s the shortest stage,” Rabobank’s Michael Matthews, who was in that 5-man break for about 60 miles, said. “I can climb OK, but not if they go really fast up the long climbs. Today was survival and to see what I had left for the finish.”

He had plenty.

By picking a pair of wheels to follow – Exergy’s Freddy Rodriguez and UnitedHealthCare’s Rory Sutherland – Matthews was able to find the perfect line to slip around the right side and pull away for a win.

“I didn’t do a very good tactical job in the finish,” Matthews said. “I tried to follow Rodriguez, because I heard he’s a pretty good sprinter, then it got a bit messy. Some guys came underneath on the last corner with 800 to go, so I lost a couple positions there. Rory Sutherland started moving up with 300 to go, so I just followed him and started my sprint with 200 to go.”

The end result was a stage victory for Matthews and ownership of the Sprint points lead and the Most Aggressive Rider jersey for the day.

Little else changed, however, at the top of the standings as Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda’s Christian VandeVelde remains the overall leader with teammates Tommy Danielson and Dave Zabriskie in second and third, respectively. Peter Stetina, also riding for Garmin, sits in fourth giving the Argyle Armada a dominating presence on the leaderboard.

Timmy Duggan, who was also part of the five-man breakaway, led the charge down Emigration as only Johann Tschopp was able to crest the Big Mountain Summit ahead of the reduced peloton.

His 30-second lead was eventually closed as the chase caught him near Ruth’s Diner in Emigration Canyon and from that point it was a matter of teams trying to set up their leadout trains.

BMC massed its team at the front and placed Michael Schar and Brent Bookwalter on the podium behind Matthews.

Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda, content to stay out of harm’s way, let its crew of GC contenders coast in safely behind the winner to assure itself of staying in the lead.

Stage 3 – Ogden to Salt Lake City p/b University of Utah Health Care

230.7 miles

Stage Results

1. MATTHEWS Michael, Rabobank Cycling Team; 3:24:07

2. SCHÄR Michael, BMC Racing Team; 3:24:07

3. BOOKWALTER Brent, BMC Racing Team; 3:24:07

4. SUTHERLAND Rory, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team; 3:24:07

5. FAIRLY Caleb, Team Spidertech p/b C10; 3:24:07

48. LOUDER Jeffry, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team; 3:24:07

84. MUMFORD Reid, Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies; 3:34:07

101. O'LEARY Connor, Bontrager Livestrong Team; 3:34:07

119. NANKERVIS Tommy, Competitive Cyclist Racing Team; 3:38:05

Overall Results

1. VANDEVELDE Christian, Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda; 9:12:23

2. DANIELSON Thomas, Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda; 9:12:23

3. ZABRISKIE David, Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda; 9:12:23

4. STETINA Peter, Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda; 9:12:53

5. KELDERMAN Wilco, Rabobank Cycling Team; 9:12:56

57. LOUDER Jeffry, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team; 9:19:43

83. O'LEARY Connor, Bontrager Livestrong Team; 9:28:06

93. MUMFORD Reid, Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies; 9:31:15

118. NANKERVIS Tommy, Competitive Cyclist Racing Team; 9:40:49

Stage 4 – Lehi to Salt Lake City – 134.4 Miles, 4,219 Feet

Jacob Keough (United HealthCare) won stage 4 in a well timed sprint. Note his teammate celebrating in the field. Photo: Cathy Fegan-Kim,
Jacob Keough (United HealthCare) won stage 4 in a well timed sprint. Note his teammate celebrating in the field. Photo: Cathy Fegan-Kim,

These were Jeff Louder’s roads and this is Jeff Louder’s home.

And this was, as much as any rider in the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah peloton, Jeff Louder’s race.

Though the Salt Lake City native and resident may not have been the designated favorite for his United Healthcare team, he was still the man the team looked to for knowledge, for insight and – when needed – for leadership.

During the Tour of Utah’s longest stage – Stage Four at more than 134 miles — Louder was called upon. UHC desperately wanted a second stage victory in this race and with the Wasatch Mountains looming on both the horizon and schedule knew the 6-man breakaway had to be reeled in.

With those six riders working hard to build a lead of more than 10-minutes, the peloton had some work to do and UHC was more than willing, more than capable and more than ready to do it.

The result was a perfectly timed catch just 800 meters from the finish line at EnergySolutions Arena where Jake Keough bolted through the field and raised both hands in celebration with a exciting victory.

“It feels good. There’s a lot of high quality riders here,” Keough said, clearly happy to have a win over several ProTour riders. “I’m still learning. I’m still trying to progress. I’m kind of making these small steps one at a time.”

Louder, designated the team road captain during Stage Four, called the situation ‘dire’ after seeing the breakaway get more than 10 minutes up the road. Knowing some teams would be content to let others do most of the work, Louder marshaled his UHC troops and got some support from other teams hoping to place a rider in the sprint finish.

“I knew in the back of my mind that once things got pretty dire I was going to have to jump in,” said Louder. “It’s a team effort to win a sprint.”

Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda’s Christian Vandevelde finished safely at the back of the first group to cross the line and retained his overall lead in the GC hunt.

“I’m happy to be a Utahn and win this jersey, but I’m happy for our team UnitedHealthCare.,” Louder said after slipping into the Best Utah Jersey. “To see the team win is the best. To see Jake (Keough) win was great. It’s an honor to be on this team.”

Keough edged out Liquigas-Cannondale’s Marco Benfatto to the line in front of EnergySolutions Arena. Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda’s Tyler Farrar finished third. The 119-rider group covered the 134.2-mile (216.2-kilometer) course in four hours, 47 minutes and six seconds – an average speed of more than 28 miles per hour.

“We committed to doing it all day (chasing the break). We knew a lot of the teams riding for the GC, with the mountains coming, kind of wanted a break, so we tried to take advantage of that. It was hard to make the catch, but we chipped away at it and got it right at the end,” Keough said.

Stage 4 – Lehi to Salt Lake City p/b Xango Adobe

364.9 miles

Stage Results

1. KEOUGH Jacobe, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team; 4:47:06

2. BENFATTO Marco, Liquigas-Cannondale; 4:47:06

3. FARRAR Tyler, Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda; 4:47:06

4. MATTHEWS Michael, Rabobank Cycling Team; 4:47:06

5. CANDELARIO Alexander, Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies; 4:47:06

29. NANKERVIS Tommy, Competitive Cyclist Racing Team; 4:47:09

81. O'LEARY Connor, Bontrager Livestrong Team; 4:47:09

90. MUMFORD Reid, Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies; 4:47:35

107. LOUDER Jeffry, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team; 4:48:44

Overall Results

1. VANDEVELDE Christian, Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda; 13:59:29

2. DANIELSON Thomas, Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda; 13:59:32

3. ZABRISKIE David, Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda; 13:59:32

4. STETINA Peter, Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda; 14:00:02

5. KELDERMAN Wilco, Rabobank Cycling Team; 14:00:05

59. LOUDER Jeffry, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team; 14:08:27

80. O'LEARY Connor, Bontrager Livestrong Team; 14:15:15

90. MUMFORD Reid, Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies; 14:18:50

114. NANKERVIS Tommy, Competitive Cyclist Racing Team; 14:27:58

Stage 5 – Kimball Junction to Snowbird – 101.1 Miles, 10,000 Feet

Slyfox attempts to provide Jens Voigt a cash prime. The Stage 5 crowds at Tanner's Flat in Little Cottonwood Canyon were huge and full of good cheer.
Slyfox attempts to provide Jens Voigt a cash prime. The Stage 5 crowds at Tanner's Flat in Little Cottonwood Canyon were huge and full of good cheer. Photo: Cathy Fegan-Kim

This one had it all. Daring breakaways featuring a local favorite. Superstars attacking the field. Youngsters shocking the field and making themselves household names to American cycling fans.

And a new rider in the yellow jersey.

A solo attack up Little Cottonwood Canyon launched BMC Racing Team's Johann Tschopp of Switzerland to victory today at Stage Five of the Tour of Utah. By hitting the finish line in four hours, 18 minutes and 20 seconds at Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort first, the Swiss rider leaped from 14th on general classification to the overall race lead.

Team NetApp’s Leopold Koenig pulled away from a chase group over the final kilometer to finish second, 43 seconds behind Tschopp. American Joe Dombrowski of Bontrager Livestrong placed third, just 47 seconds back.

Tschopp’s victory shook up the general classification as he supplanted Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda’s Christian Vande Velde, who now sits in second on G.C., 38 seconds off the pace. Radioshack-Nissan-Trek’s Matthew Busche is third on G.C., 43 seconds back. Koenig and Dombrowski round out the top five, at 53 and 58 seconds back, respectively.

“For us, it's very important that we were able to win the stage and especially to be able to take the (yellow) jersey a great victory for the BMC Racing Team. And for me, it's a special moment, it is the first time that I wear the leader's jersey in a stage race,” Tschopp, who speaks French, said through an interpreter. “I prepared very well for the Tour of Utah, it's a race that is well suited for me with its beautiful roads, a lot of mountains and mountains that suit me. It is somewhat similar to Valais in Switzerland, I had fun.”

Dombrowski was part of the four-man chase group that included Leipheimer. This group escaped the peloton and tried to chase Tschopp up Little Cottonwood Canyon. His efforts were rewarded with not only a podium spot for Stage Five and he slipped into the Subaru Best Young Rider jersey.

“Coming into the climb, Garmin was riding with Stetina, and they obviously had multiple options with Vande Velde and Danielson, and it just slowly thinned out,” Dombrowski said. “It wasn’t anything too punchy, they just dropped one-by-one and then Levi attacked with 5k to go and I followed. That’s when the race was on to the top and it was just a group of four and was attacking all the way until the last (kilometer).”

That group could not track down Tschopp, and the new Tour of Utah G.C. leader was able to enjoy the final few hundred meters en route to wearing the Larry H. Miller Dealerships Overall Leader’s jersey.

Ben Jacques-Maynes, Bissell Pro Cycling, went over the top of a pair of mountains quickly enough to earn all the points needed to take control of the Ski Utah King of the Mountains jersey.

“I won the first KOM over Jordanelle and none of the other guys who were up there got any points and at that point it was a bit of defense. I was able to sit back and relax and just watch some guys,” the Californian said. “Timmy Duggan, who was wearing the jersey, he went hard at the top of Alpine Loop and I had to dig deep to hold his wheel on that, but I got the points up there too and just finished the day off pretty well. So I can't complain and hopefully I'll be able to wear it tomorrow.”

Spaniard Francisco Mancebo of the Competitive Cyclist Racing Team, the 2009 Tour of Utah champion, launched a solo attack on the Alpine Loop and bridged to the main breakaway group. He finished 20th on the stage, but was awarded the Exergy Development Group Most Aggressive Rider jersey. Jeff Louder, of BMC Racing Team, retained his Miller Lite Best Utah Rider jersey after spending most of the day in the breakaway. Rabobank’s Michael Matthews (Australia) picked up more than enough points to stay in the XO Communications Sprint jersey.

Stage 5 – Newpark to Snowbird p/b Exergy Development Group

466.15 miles

Stage Results

1. TSCHOPP Johann, BMC Racing Team; 4:18:20

2. KOENIG Leopold, Team NetApp; 4:19:03

3. DOMBROWSKI Joseph Lloyd, Bontrager Livestrong Team; 4:19:07

4. BOSWELL Ian, Bontrager Livestrong Team; 4:19:12

5. LEIPHEIMER Levi, Omega Pharma-QuickStep; 4:19:20

48. LOUDER Jeffry, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team; 4:26:45

95. MUMFORD Reid, Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies; 4:42:57

104. O'LEARY Connor, Bontrager Livestrong Team; 4:42:57

111. NANKERVIS Tommy, Competitive Cyclist Racing Team; 4:45:01

Overall Results

1. TSCHOPP Johann, BMC Racing Team; 18:18:49

2. VANDEVELDE Christian, Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda; 18:19:27

3. BUSCHE Matthew, Radioshack-Nissan-Trek; 18:19:32

4. KOENIG Leopold, Team NetApp; 18:19:42

5. DOMBROWSKI Joseph Lloyd, Bontrager Livestrong Team; 18:19:47

55. LOUDER Jeffry, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team; 18:35:12

91. O'LEARY Connor, Bontrager Livestrong Team; 18:58:12

96. MUMFORD Reid, Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies; 19:01:47

109. NANKERVIS Tommy, Competitive Cyclist Racing Team; 19:12:59

Stage 6 – Park City to Park City – 76.73 miles, 6,844 Feet

The Yellow Jersey group on the Empire Pass Climb in Stage 6. Johann Tschopp (in yellow) finished 49 seconds down on stage winner Levi Leipheimer (who had already flown ahead), but still held on for the overall win.
The Yellow Jersey group on the Empire Pass Climb in Stage 6. Johann Tschopp (in yellow) finished 49 seconds down on stage winner Levi Leipheimer (who had already flown ahead), but still held on for the overall win. Photo: Dave Iltis

Leipheimer, with only a faint hope of winning the overall title at the Tour of Utah, didn’t want to leave the race without letting the field know he was still one of the best riders out there. On a course he was strongly involved with designing, Leipheimer launched an all-out assault on anyone who had hopes of winning the final stage as he crushed anyone in sight in ascending the Empire Pass Road between Heber City and Deer Valley. His solo attack dropped rider after rider and he caught the handful of breakaway cyclists and dispatched them quickly.

Riding triumphantly into Park City as a huge crowd of spectators watched, Leipheimer put his stamp on the race even if he was unable to repeat as champion.

“I definitely felt the pressure today, having been the one who pushed for that climb,” Leipheimer said. “They actually put it in. I didn’t think they would.”

The challenging stage left the field shattered but in awe of how the race has grown. Leipheimer felt particular satisfaction in that, even if the overall result wasn’t something he had envisioned.

“I think it’s a testament to how the Tour of Utah has grown,” he said. “If you make a mistake or two, like we did in the team time trial, then your race is over. I felt very good all week. I think better and better.”

Tschopp and his BMC Racing Team partners carefully monitored the Stage Six surges and attacks in order to keep any potential threats to the General Classification standings and survived a pair of climbs – including an epic ascent of the Hors Categorie Empire Pass Road – to bring home victory in historic Park City.

Covering Sunday’s 76.7 mile course in three hours, six minutes and 54 seconds, Leipheimer was 49 seconds faster than those trying to chase him down. But it was not enough, as Tschopp rolled in with the chase group and finished the race with an overall time of 21:26:32.

Radioshack-Nissan-Trek’s Matthew Busche (USA) was second overall, 43 seconds behind Tschopp while Team NetApp’s Leopold Noenig (Czech Republic) placed third, 49 seconds off the pace.

Leipheimer, who started the day 2:07 behind Tschopp in the overall standings, put nearly enough time into Tschopp to sneak away with his third straight Tour of Utah title. But BMC rallied enough remaining troops to keep the Omega Pharma-Quickstep cyclist in range to ensure an overall win. Leipheimer finished sixth overall, 1:08 back.

“I knew that Levi had two minutes and my strategy was to perform at my maximum,” Tschopp, from Switzerland, said through an interpreter. “At times it was a little bit risky, but I did what I had to do.”

A massive crowd gathered in downtown Park City to celebrate the event as Leipheimer, who spends several weeks each year in the area training, proved the best man for the course he was partly responsible for designing.

Stage 6 – Park City to Park City p/b United Healthcare

542.89 miles

Stage Results

1. LEIPHEIMER Levi, Omega Pharma-QuickStep; 3:06:54

2. KRUIJSWIJK Steven, Rabobank Cycling Team; 3:07:43

3. KOENIG Leopold, Team NetApp; 3:07:43

4. TSCHOPP Johann, BMC Racing Team; 3:07:43

5. DANIELSON Thomas, Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda; 3:07:43

60. LOUDER Jeffry, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team; 3:23:08

84. MUMFORD Reid, Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies; 3:29:33

96. O'LEARY Connor, Bontrager Livestrong Team; 3:34:09

101. NANKERVIS Tommy, Competitive Cyclist Racing Team; 3:47:15

Overall Final General Classification

1. TSCHOPP Johann, BMC Racing Team; 21:26:32

2. BUSCHE Matthew, Radioshack-Nissan-Trek; 21:27:15

3. KOENIG Leopold, Team NetApp; 21:27:21

4. DOMBROWSKI Joseph Lloyd, Bontrager Livestrong Team; 21:27:30

5. BOSWELL Ian, Bontrager Livestrong Team; 21:27:35

59. LOUDER Jeffry, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team; 21:58:20

86. MUMFORD Reid, Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies; 22:31:20

Miller Lite Best Utah Rider

1. LOUDER Jeffry, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team; 21:58:20

2. MUMFORD Reid, Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies; 22:31:20

3. O'LEARY Connor, Bontrager Livestrong Team; 3:34:09

4. NANKERVIS Tommy, Competitive Cyclist Racing Team; 3:47:15

Subaru Best Young Rider

1. DOMBROWSKI Joseph Lloyd, Bontrager Livestrong Team; 21:27:30

2. BOSWELL Ian, Bontrager Livestrong Team; 21:27:35

3. BENNETT George, Radioshack-Nissan-Trek; 21:30:40

Ski Utah King of the Mountains

1. JACQUES-MAYNES Ben, Bissell Pro Cycling; 38

2. EUSER Lucas, Team Spidertech p/b C10; 31

3. DUGGAN Timothy, Liquigas-Cannondale; 31

XO Communications Sprint Leader

1. MATTHEWS Michael, Rabobank Cycling Team; 42

2. SUTHERLAND Rory, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team; 25

3. BOOKWALTER Brent, BMC Racing Team; 23

Best Team

1. Radioshack-Nissan-Trek; 64:25:46

2. Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda; 64:26:44

3. BMC Racing Team; 64:28:23

 

 

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