Wearer of the snowflake-adorned King of the Mountain jersey since the first road stage, Rubens Bertogliati (Team Type 1-Sanofi) fully intends to defend the jersey on the final day. But he knows that he’ll have his work cut out for him on the Queen Stage which culminates with the climb up to Snowbird.
“For the win tomorrow for myself, a little bit difficult.” he laughed following the tough circuit race in Salt Lake City on Saturday afternoon. “I really try to go in the right breakaway to do some points and then I think I will have the jersey.”
Bertogliati captured the KOM lead in a breakaway during the first stage of the Tour of Utah. With no KOM points until the final day, the 31-year old focused on another objective and that was to win a stage.
“We knew we didn’t have guys for the GC so we had to try to go in the breakaways, to be active in the front and certainly on a circuit like this, if you’re in the front you’re always in a secure position.” he said.
Bertogliati and his teammate Javier Megias made it into the 25-rider break which escaped on the first lap of the Salt Lake City Circuit Race.
“The circuit was very hard and we were good riders in the breakaway, so we worked together to gain minutes.” Bertogliati said. The gap grew and held at around the two minute mark for the next seven-times around the 7.4-mile (11.9-km) downtown loop. The tough circuit which included a steep short climb to the finish line, was made even tougher with the very high temperatures, close to 100 F.
He continued, “Then I tried to save a little bit in the last three laps to give everything in the final.”
After working well together for the most part, the attacks started in the break for the stage win in the last laps.
After being dropped on the false flat which went up for a few kilometers past the finish line, Bertogliati made it back to the group along with Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Cervelo).
“We could go back in in the group in the descent so I tried to recover until the last kilometer.” he explained. “I knew maybe the first part of the last kilometer was too hard. I think where the winner attacked, it was the right place and he had good legs and he gained a hundred meters immediately. After the second part, in the last 500 meters were more suitable for me and I was a bit back and I jumped across, I gained two, three positions and I came in third.”
Bertogliati came in third behind stage winner Javier Acevedo (Gobernacion Indeportes Antioquia). Megias took second.
“I am very happy for my teammate Javier Megias who did second. He has diabetes, he’s always very aggressive in the race, he races very much. I think he is the best diabetes rider we have in the world.” Bertogliati commented.
The final 161 km (100 mi) stage, includes three categorized climbs, the first one Alpine Loop comes at 60 miles into the stage, followed by Suncrest 19 miles later. The stage culminates with the deciding 8-12 percent climb up Little Cottonwood Canyon to the Creekside Center at the Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort.
“There are three good climbs. I think the first one is very long, I think it will be hard. It resembles some of the stages at the Tour de Romandie in Switzerland even in the Tour of Switzerland this year. But the weather here is very hot,” Bertogliati laughed, “in Switzerland this year, we didn’t have good weather so it was easy to recover. “