By Jared Eborn
The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah just keeps getting bigger and better.
With the most star-studded field in the race’s 10-year history, the Tour of Utah reach new heights, went to greater distances and stretched beyond the state’s borders for the first time ever.
But after all was said and done, Garmin-Sharp’s Tom Danielson used his decisive Stage 4 move up the rugged Powder Mountain climb to distance himself from all challengers and capture his second consecutive Tour of Utah title.
“It was totally different this time. When we talked about the race, I put my hand up and wanted to to win this year,” Danielson said. “It was a lot harder, a lot more pressure on the team, a younger, less experienced team this year, with a lot of kinks along the way – illness, crashes and stuff like that – everybody performed above and beyond. It was the least I could do to perform well on my end.”
Not only did Danielson perform well, he and his Garmin-Sharp team raced a tactically masterful race. After gaining valuable time over the field at Powder Mountain, Danielson and the argyle armada minimized any damage that might have occurred in subsequent stages even with big names like Cadel Evans and Chris Horner doing everything they could to chip away at the lead.
Ultimately, the 57 seconds Danielson gained on one of Utah’s toughest climbs was enough.
Grand Tour winners from each of the three biggest races in the world came to the Beehive State to test themselves against the world-class field and eye-popping terrain. Evans was the 2011 Tour de France winners, Horner won the 2013 Vuelta Espana and Ivan Basso is a two-time Giro d’Italia champ.
But even a pair of late-race stage wins by Evans wasn’t enough to unseat Danielson who raised his arms in victory once again on the final day in Park City.
“It’s magic,” Danielson said. “You come down that straight with all the fans. I wanted to start crying because there’s so much work put into it.”
Expanding to a record seventh stage and sneaking into Wyoming for the start of Stage 5, the Tour of Utah is growing. Already dubbed “America’s Toughest Stage Race,” the event is attracting more World Tour teams each year.
One area of growth was adding a one-day Tour of Utah Women’s Edition to the race and supporting a pair of unofficially associated races making the Tour of Utah a larger event than any scale it has seen before.
Long-time professional women’s racer Nicki Wangsgard organized the Zappos Cedar City Gran Prix held in conjunction with Stage 1 and the Chase Pinkham Memorial Criterium attracted more than 170 pro and amateur racers to Miller Motorsports Park following Stage 3.
With Tour of Utah Women’s Edition also held during Stage 3, Miller Motorsports Park saw one of the most action-packed days of cycling in the state’s history.
Following the 2014 race, Tour of Utah officials announced the 2015 race would be held from August 3-9 with another seven stages of racing. Route details, of course, were not announced but after two years in Utah’s iconic red-rock area, it is speculated that other areas of the state such as Logan, Bear Lake or Moab will see a stage or two.
Stage 1 – Cedar City to Cedar City – Though designed as a stage to give sprinters and their teams a strong chance to finish well in front of a large crowd in Cedar City, Stage 1 was anything but easy. With a long climb over Brian Head and a second ascent atop the Bristlecone Summit, the climbers took their chances with breakaway attempts but ultimately the sprint trains reeled them back.
With a set of finishing circuits in Cedar City, the race was dynamic. Belkin Pro Cycling’s Moreno Hofland showed he was back in great form after a long absence from the peloton following a crash at the Amgen Tour of California. The young Dutchman surged past Team SmartStop’s Jure Kocjan and Lampre-Merida’s Andrea Palini to slip into the first Larry H. Miller Dealerships yellow jersey of the race.
“It's really special for me because it's the first race for me after the crash [in May]. I was confident because training went well but racing is always different,” Hofland said. “I was nervous like it was the first race of the season. All the nerves went to my legs and I could do whatever I wanted in the sprint today.”
1. Moreno Hofland, BELKIN-PRO CYCLING TEAM 4:51:12
2. Jure Kocjan, TEAM SMARTSTOP 4:51:12
3. Andrea Palini, LAMPRE-MERIDA 4:51:12
4. Eric Young, OPTUM P/B KELLY BENEFIT STRATEGIES 4:51:12
5. Kiel Reijnen, UNITEDHEALTHCARE PRO CYCLING TEAM 4:51:12
6. Danilo Wyss, BMC RACING TEAM 4:51:12
7. Rick Zabel, BMC RACING TEAM 4:51:12
8. Tanner Putt, BISSELL DEVELOPMENT TEAM 4:51:12
9. Alex Howes, TEAM GARMIN-SHARP 4:51:12
10. Serghei Tvetcov, JELLY BELLY P/B MAXXIS 4:51:12
18. Christopher Horner, LAMPRE-MERIDA 4:51:17
20. Thomas Danielson, TEAM GARMIN-SHARP 4:51:17
35. Jeffry Louder, UNITEDHEALTHCARE PRO CYCLING TEAM 4:51:17
62. Robbie Squire, JAMIS-HAGENS BERMAN P/B SUTTER HOME 4:51:17
71. Tyler Wren, JAMIS-HAGENS BERMAN P/B SUTTER HOME 4:51:17
78. Chris Putt, BISSELL DEVELOPMENT TEAM 4:51:17
110. Winner Anacona, LAMPRE-MERIDA 4:51:17
Stage 2 – Panguitch to Torrey – The longest stage in the Tour of Utah saw the rare solo breakaway that actually worked.
BMC’s Michael Schar snuck away from the field with a handful of other riders early in the 130 mile stage that traveled over some of Utah’s most scenic terrain. A long ascent over Boulder Mountain saw the group trimmed down to just Schär. After his solo move, however, the Swiss rider suffered some intense cramps in his legs and was nearly caught.
“It was a really tough day for me today. I knew I had come out good (from) the Tour de France. I had a good climb and I had good legs, and normally I do better the higher we go,” said Schär. “All of a sudden I had the worst cramps in my life and in the end I could hardly pedal. Moments like that, it's more about the mind and not about the body, you really have to suffer through that.”
The suffering paid off as he hit the finish line just two seconds ahead of the field. Kocjan was second to the line and his time bonus was enough to jump past Hofland and into the leader’s jersey. The sprinters has another big day in front of an enthusiastic crowd in Torrey outside Capitol Reef National Park.
1. Michale Schar, BMC RACING TEAM 5:03:00
2. Jure Kocjan, TEAM SMARTSTOP 5:03:02
3. Serghei Tvetcov, JELLY BELLY P/B MAXXIS 5:03:02
4. Kiel Reijnen, UNITEDHEALTHCARE PRO CYCLING TEAM 5:03:02
5. Toms Skujins, HINCAPIE SPORTSWEAR DEVELOPMENT TEAM 5:03:02
6. Cadel Evans, BMC RACING TEAM 5:03:02
7. Tanner Putt, BISSELL DEVELOPMENT TEAM 5:03:02
8. Luca Wackermann, LAMPRE-MERIDA 5:03:02
9. Wilco Kelderman, BELKIN-PRO CYCLING TEAM 5:03:02
10. Brent Bookwalter, BMC RACING TEAM 5:03:02
17. Christopher Horner, LAMPRE-MERIDA 5:03:02
20. Robbie Squire, JAMIS-HAGENS BERMAN P/B SUTTER HOME 5:03:02
25. Winner Anacona, LAMPRE-MERIDA 5:03:02
34. Thomas Danielson, TEAM GARMIN-SHARP 5:03:02
66. Chris Putt, BISSELL DEVELOPMENT TEAM 5:14:28
70. Jeffry Louder, UNITEDHEALTHCARE PRO CYCLING TEAM 5:16:21
112. Tyler Wren, JAMIS-HAGENS BERMAN P/B SUTTER HOME 5:16:21
Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah overall standings after Stage 2
1. Jure Kocjan, Team Smartstop, 9:54:02
2. Michael Schär, BMC Racing Team, 0:00:02
3. Serghei Tvetcov, Jelly Belly P/b Maxxis, 0:00:08
4. Kiel Reijnen, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team, 0:00:12
5. Tanner Putt, Bissell Development Team
Stage 3 – Lehi to Tooele – Moreno Hofland showed his Stage 1 victory was no fluke. The young Belkin sprinter launched himself past a large group of racers to victory for a second time during the 2014 Tour of Utah. The stage was perfectly set up for a strong sprinter, with relatively little climbing and a lightning fast set of circuits on the Miller Motorsports Park race track.
“Today, Team SmartStop did all the work, and it worked out pretty good. With two laps to go, UnitedHealthcare pulled full in the front, but we could stay in the wheels pretty easy and it was perfect for us,” said Hofland.
Kocjan finished safely in the bunch and retained his yellow jersey for a second day. Palini finished second while the climbers in the race simply tried to stay out of trouble as the Wasatch Mountains loomed large in future stages.
The Tour of Utah Women’s Edition was a highlight of the day. Held on the race track while the men were pedaling around the south side of Tooele and Utah counties, the inaugural women’s race saw a field of nearly 60 of America’s strongest women line up.
Coryn Rivera showed off her often unmatched sprint legs by pulling away from the field after a challenging 10-lap race.
“We had to ride the front a little bit to keep the speed up in the last two kilometers, so we ran through our riders pretty quickly,” Rivera said. “Alison (Powers) pulled through as usual, did an awesome lead out, delivering me to the line. Luckily I didn't run into any bad luck today so it went perfectly to plan.”
1. Moreno Hofland, BELKIN-PRO CYCLING TEAM 4:29:41
2. Andrea Palini, LAMPRE-MERIDA 4:29:41
3. Eric Young, OPTUM P/B KELLY BENEFIT STRATEGIES 4:29:41
4. Ken Hanson, UNITEDHEALTHCARE PRO CYCLING TEAM 4:29:41
5. Wilco Kelderman, BELKIN-PRO CYCLING TEAM 4:29:41
6. Jure Kocjan, TEAM SMARTSTOP 4:29:41
7. Rick Zabel, BMC RACING TEAM 4:29:41
8. Kiel Reijnen, UNITEDHEALTHCARE PRO CYCLING TEAM 4:29:41
9. Alan Marangoni, CANNONDALE 4:29:41
10. Gavin Mannion, TEAM GARMIN-SHARP 4:29:41
17. Christopher Horner, LAMPRE-MERIDA 4:29:41
27. Thomas Danielson, TEAM GARMIN-SHARP 4:29:41
44. Tanner Putt, BISSELL DEVELOPMENT TEAM 4:29:41
48. Chris Putt, BISSELL DEVELOPMENT TEAM 4:29:41
54. Winner Anacona, LAMPRE-MERIDA 4:29:41
65. Robbie Squire, JAMIS-HAGENS BERMAN P/B SUTTER HOME 4:29:41
87. Jeffry Louder, UNITEDHEALTHCARE PRO CYCLING TEAM 4:31:05
110. Tyler Wren, JAMIS-HAGENS BERMAN P/B SUTTER HOME 4:34:47
Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah overall standings after Stage 3
1. Jure Kocjan, Team SmartStop, in 14:23:43
2. Michael Schär, BMC Racing Team, at :00:02
3. Serghei Tvetcov, Jelly Belly P/b Maxxis, at :00:08
4. Robin Carpenter, Hincapie Sportswear Development Team, at :00:11
5. Kiel Reijnen, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team, at :00:12
2014 Tour of Utah Women’s Edition presented by Play Hard Give Back (see complete results on page 14)
1. Coryn Rivera (USA), UnitedHealthcare 1.16:20
2. Mandy Heintz (USA), Guru Cycles p/b Haute Wheels Racing
3. Meredith Miller (USA), Pepper Palace Pro Cycling
4.Laura Van Gilder (USA), Guru Cyclies p/b Haute Wheels Racing
5. Tina Pic (USA), DNA Cycling p/b K4
Most Aggressive Rider
Breanne Nalder (USA), DNA Cycling p/b K4
Stage 4 – Ogden to Powder Mountain – Danielson might not have officially won the 2014 Tour of Utah when he crossed the finish line at Powder Mountain 57 seconds ahead of his nearest competitor, but he might as well have.
Danielson’s dominating climb put more than enough distance into the overall standings to set the stage for a repeat championship.
With superstars like Horner and Evans on his hip as the climb to Powder Mountain began, Danielson surged away from the rapidly disintegrating chase groups.
“Winning a stage like that after your teammates gut themselves for you like that, there’s no better feeling in the world. We were under a lot of pressure. We have a young team here and lot of guys who just came here from the Tour. The team really stepped up today,” Danielson said. “Hats off to the Tour of Utah for putting together a really complex stage, and throwing a lot at us.”
Danielson and the rest of the climbers took over the overall standings after the first mountain top finish of the 2014 Tour of Utah. BMC’s Ben Hermans, who shadowed Danielson as long as possible, crossed the line in second with Horner right on his wheel. But the Tour of Utah hopes of Evans took a drastic hit as he finished 2:48 back.
1. Thomas Danielson, TEAM GARMIN-SHARP 4:18:53
2. Ben Hermans, BMC RACING TEAM 4:19:50
3. Christopher Horner, LAMPRE-MERIDA 4:19:50
4. Winner Anacona Gomez, LAMPRE-MERIDA 4:20:40
5. Alex Diniz Correia, FUNVIC BRASILINVEST-SAO JOSE DOS CAMPOS 4:21:00
6. Wilco Kelderman, BELKIN-PRO CYCLING TEAM 4:21:00
7. George Bennett, CANNONDALE 4:21:19
8. Carter Jones, OPTUM P/B KELLY BENEFIT STRATEGIES 4:21:24
9. Cadel Evans, BMC RACING TEAM 4:21:41
10. Lachlan Norris, DRAPAC PROFESSIONAL CYCLING 4:21:44
25. Robbie Squire, JAMIS-HAGENS BERMAN P/B SUTTER HOME 4:25:17
44. Tanner Putt, BISSELL DEVELOPMENT TEAM 4:35:13
73. Tyler Wren, JAMIS-HAGENS BERMAN P/B SUTTER HOME 4:43:42
102. Chris Putt, BISSELL DEVELOPMENT TEAM 4:43:42
103. Jeffry Louder, UNITEDHEALTHCARE PRO CYCLING TEAM 4:43:42
2014 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah overall leaders after Stage 4
1. Thomas Danielson, Team Garmin-Sharp, in 18:42:53
2. Christopher Horner, Lampre-Merida, at :00:57
3. Ben Hermans, BMC Racing Team
4. Winner Anacona Gomez, Lampre-Merida, at :01:47
5. Wilco Kelderman, Belkin, at :02:07
Stage 5 – Evanston, Wyoming to Kamas – For the first time in the Tour of Utah’s history, action was seen outside the Beehive State’s borders. With a Stage 5 start in Evanston, Wyoming, the field climbed one of Utah’s most notorious mountain passes before setting things up for a tricky sprint finish in Kamas.
The ascent of the Bald Mountain Pass in the High Uintah Mountains was the highest elevation the Tour of Utah has yet seen. But the tough climb was followed by a long descent to the Kamas valley where the breakaway was captured just after hitting the dirt section of road known as Democrat Alley.
Content to minimize risks, the overall contenders allowed the sprinters to have yet another go at it in Kamas and Eric Young of Optum/Kelly Benefits rewarded his team with a thrilling spring ahead of Kocjan and United Healthcare’s Kiel Reijnan.
“It’s totally unbelievable for me, personally, and for the team as well,” Young said after covering the 101.4-mile course in three hours, 49 minutes and 29 seconds. “It’s really nice. We brought some sprinters here, and we wouldn’t be happy without a stage win. So to come away with this, we’re pretty happy.”
Danielson and other GC riders lost no ground, however, in the overall standings.
1. Eric Young, OPTUM P/B KELLY BENEFIT STRATEGIES 3:49:29
2. Jure Kocjan, TEAM SMARTSTOP 3:49:29
3. Kiel Reijnen, UNITEDHEALTHCARE PRO CYCLING TEAM 3:49:29
4. Robert Wagner, BELKIN-PRO CYCLING TEAM 3:49:29
5. Rick Zabel, BMC RACING TEAM 3:49:29
6. Ben Hermans, BMC RACING TEAM 3:49:29
7. Dion Smith, HINCAPIE SPORTSWEAR DEVELOPMENT TEAM 3:49:29
8. Alex Kirsch, TREK FACTORY RACING 3:49:29
9. Serghei Tvetcov, JELLY BELLY P/B MAXXIS 3:49:29
10. Alan Marangoni, CANNONDALE 3:49:29
12. Tanner Putt, BISSELL DEVELOPMENT TEAM 3:49:29
13. Christopher Horner, LAMPRE-MERIDA 3:49:29
30. Robbie Squire, JAMIS-HAGENS BERMAN P/B SUTTER HOME 3:49:29
33. Chris Putt, BISSELL DEVELOPMENT TEAM 3:49:29
35. Thomas Danielson, TEAM GARMIN-SHARP 3:49:29
40. Winner Anacona Gomez, LAMPRE-MERIDA 3:49:29
67. Tyler Wren, JAMIS-HAGENS BERMAN P/B SUTTER HOME 3:50:16
80. Jeffry Louder, UNITEDHEALTHCARE PRO CYCLING TEAM 3:50:59
Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah overall standings after Stage 5
1. Tom Danielson, Garmin-Sharp, in 22:32:22
2. Christopher Horner, Lampre-Merida, at :00:57
3. Ben Hermans, BMC Racing Team
4. Winner Anacona Gomez, Lampre-Merida, at :01:47
5. Wilco Kelderman, Belkin Pro Cycling Team, at :02:07
Stage 6 – Salt Lake City to Snowbird – Eager to show he wasn’t simply along for the ride and hoping to make a statement, Evans showed little mercy to the field during the Tour of Utah’s Queen Stage from Salt Lake City to Snowbird.
Evans, stoically paced himself up a pair of climbs, slowly but surely eliminating the breakaway group he was part of – one at a time.
By the time the 2011 Tour de France champion hit Little Cottonwood Canyon, he was fighting only a few competitors for the win. After reaching the upper section of the climb, Evans waged a smart tactical battle and launched past Hincapie Sportswear’s Joey Rosskopf over the final kilometer to take a victory in front of a huge crowd high in the Utah mountains.
“My main goal was to come here and race hard. At the end of the day, I think we had a pretty good result out there. It was a premeditated plan today. It was a plan that was easy to make, but harder to execute. It was still not enough for me to make significant moves on the G.C., but it was enough to go for the stage win,” said Evans. “We really like racing here. It's in some ways more enjoyable for us to race here than some of the other bigger races because of the ambiance and so on.”
Still, Evans was not able to take a large chunk of time out of Danielson’s lead. Danielson finished just 14 seconds back and held a semi-comfortable 57 second lead over Horner with Evans even farther back.
1. Cadel Evans, BMC RACING TEAM 4:34:31
2. Joseph Rosskopf, HINCAPIE SPORTSWEAR DEVELOPMENT TEAM 4:34:34
3. Riccardo Zoidl, TREK FACTORY RACING 4:34:38
4. Wilco Kelderman, BELKIN-PRO CYCLING TEAM 4:34:38
5. Christopher Horner, LAMPRE-MERIDA 4:34:45
6. Thomas Danielson, TEAM GARMIN-SHARP 4:34:45
7. Winner Anacona Gomez, LAMPRE-MERIDA 4:34:50
8. Lucas Euser, UNITEDHEALTHCARE PRO CYCLING TEAM 4:35:06
9. Carter Jones, OPTUM P/B KELLY BENEFIT STRATEGIES 4:35:06
10. Ben Hermans, BMC RACING TEAM 4:35:14
23. Robbie Squire, JAMIS-HAGENS BERMAN P/B SUTTER HOME 4:37:18
64. Chris Putt, BISSELL DEVELOPMENT TEAM 4:57:09
65. Tanner Putt, BISSELL DEVELOPMENT TEAM 4:57:09
71. Jeffry Louder, UNITEDHEALTHCARE PRO CYCLING TEAM 5:03:31
73. Tyler Wren, JAMIS-HAGENS BERMAN P/B SUTTER HOME 5:03:31
Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah overall standings after Stage 6
1. Thomas DANIELSON, Garmin-Sharp, in 27:07:07
2. Christopher HORNER, Lampre-Merida, at :57
3. Ben HERMANS, BMC Racing, at 1:26
4. Winner ANACONA GOMEZ, Lampre-Merida, at 1:52
5. Wilco KELDERMAN, Belkin, at 2:00
6. Cadel EVANS, BMC Racing, at 2:29
Stage 7 – Park City to Park City – Evans proved he is still one of the strongest cyclists in the professional peloton by capturing his second straight Tour of Utah stage win after a brilliant ascent up the Empire Pass south of Park City, a screaming descent, and a masterful sprint to the finish.
While a variety of breakaways threatened the field early in the race, the attention was turned to the Empire Pass where Horner attempted to chip away at Danielson’s lead and see if there were any cracks to be found. Even with the help of Horner’s Lampre-Merida teammate Winner Anacona, Danielson refused to wilt under the pressure.
But the lead group didn’t do quite enough to keep Evans from bridging a big gap up the back side of the mountain where he caught the leaders during the descent and patiently waited for the opportunity to recover and make his move.
Just before making the sharp turn back into Park City, Evans slipped to his preferred spot on the curve and slid past his competitors and had an easy spurt of speed over the final 500 meters to take the win.
“Today came as a pleasant surprise actually,” Evans said. “After yesterday’s effort I didn’t have too high of expectations. It’s been really hard racing, really competitive racing, at a high level every day. It’s been quite unrelenting, whether it’s flat or windy or uphill – it’s been uphill a lot – I’m coming better as the race comes on. It’s a good sign for me for my future races. Really, just a great surprise. I’ve been coming to dinner all week here in Park City on Main Street, so I’m really happy to get a stage win here as well.”
Danielson, knowing he had the yellow jersey battle wrapped up, sat up behind the sprint finish and coasted in knowing he had reached his goal.
1. Cadel Evans, BMC RACING TEAM 3:10:52
2. Wilco Kelderman, BELKIN-PRO CYCLING TEAM 3:10:52
3. Winner Anacona Gomez, LAMPRE-MERIDA 3:10:52
4. Christopher Horner, LAMPRE-MERIDA 3:10:52
5. Thomas Danielson, TEAM GARMIN-SHARP 3:10:57
6. Carter Jones, OPTUM P/B KELLY BENEFIT STRATEGIES 3:11:02
7. Ben Hermans, BMC RACING TEAM 3:11:17
8. George Bennett, CANNONDALE 3:11:17
9. Lachlan Norris, DRAPAC PROFESSIONAL CYCLING 3:11:17
10. Yannick Eijssen, BMC RACING TEAM 3:11:17
26. Robbie Squire, JAMIS-HAGENS BERMAN P/B SUTTER HOME 3:16:50
47. Tanner Putt, BISSELL DEVELOPMENT TEAM 3:23:18
57. Chris Putt, BISSELL DEVELOPMENT TEAM 3:23:30
68. Jeffry Louder, UNITEDHEALTHCARE PRO CYCLING TEAM 3:27:54
88. Tyler Wren, JAMIS-HAGENS BERMAN P/B SUTTER HOME 3:35:19
Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah Final General Classification
1. Thomas Danielson, TEAM GARMIN-SHARP 30:18:04
2. Christopher Horner, LAMPRE-MERIDA 30:18:56
3. Winner Anacona Gomez, LAMPRE-MERIDA 30:19:47
4. Ben Hermans, BMC RACING TEAM 30:19:50
5. Wilco Kelderman, BELKIN-PRO CYCLING TEAM 30:19:53
6. Cadel Evans, BMC RACING TEAM 30:20:18
7. Carter Jones, OPTUM P/B KELLY BENEFIT STRATEGIES 30:21:01
8. Alex Diniz Correia, FUNVIC BRASILINVEST-SAO JOSE DOS CAMPOS 30:21:52
9. George Bennett, CANNONDALE 30:22:04
10. Lachlan Norris, DRAPAC PROFESSIONAL CYCLING 30:23:03
21. Robbie Squire, JAMIS-HAGENS BERMAN P/B SUTTER HOME 30:32:54
35. Tanner Putt, BISSELL DEVELOPMENT TEAM 31:09:01
58. Chris Putt, BISSELL DEVELOPMENT TEAM 31:31:03
75. Jeffry Louder, UNITEDHEALTHCARE PRO CYCLING TEAM 31:44:48
92. Tyler Wren, JAMIS-HAGENS BERMAN P/B SUTTER HOME 32:05:32