Australian Rory Sutherland of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team survived an epic first day in the Wasatch Mountains and won Stage One presented by Zions Bank at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah. After 131 miles of racing and nearly 8,938 feet of vertical gain, Sutherland outsprinted Liquigas-Cannondale’s Damiano Caruso (Italy) and BMC Racing Team’s Brent Bookwalter (USA), who finished second and third respectively.
Sutherland, who finished with a time of 5:25:31, put him in the Larry H. Miller Dealership’s Leader’s jersey. With temperatures approaching 100 degrees, the peloton dealt with tough climate and terrain before finally descending to Ogden for the final sprint on Historic 25th Street in downtown Ogden.
“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, who lives and trains in Colorado. He recently won 2012 Tour of the Gila in New Mexico and Tour de Beauce in Quebec. “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.”
After a calm start and ride through Ogden Canyon, one attack held together for the majority of the race, led by Bissell Pro Cycling’s Ben Jaques-Maynes (USA), Competitive Cyclist Racing Team’s David Williams (USA), Team SpiderTech powered by C10’s Caleb Fairly (USA) and EPM-UNE’s Eduard Beltran (COL) established an early breakaway. That group was joined by Champion System Pro Cycling’s William Clarke (AUS) as he bridged to the leaders on the first ascent of Trapper’s Loop near Snowbasin. They held the lead until the final Ski Utah King of the Mountain Climb at North Ogden Divide.
“The final 20 kilometers were pretty chaotic,” said Bookwalter, who lives in Asheville, N.C. He raced in Europe this year for BMC Racing Team, including the Tour de Suisse. “You have a climb like, that close to the finish and you just try to make it over the climb … and survive.”
Jaques-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.
American 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. Jesse Anthony (Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies, USA) was selected as the day’s Exergy Development Group Most Aggressive Rider jersey, after chasing down the breakaway in a solo attack for several miles.
Two-time defending Tour of Utah champion Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma-Quickstep, USA), along with 2009 Tour of Utah winner Francisco Mancebo (Competitive Cyclist, ESP), 2012 Olympian Chris Horner (Radio Shack-Nissan-Trek, USA) and Utah’s Dave Zabriskie (Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda) all finished safely in the pack of 40 riders behind Sutherland.
Wednesday is Stage Two presented by XO Communications, a Team Time Trial at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah. The 13.5-mile (21.75-kilometer) course is a three-lap race against the clock on the fast and flat race track west of Salt Lake City. Teams will race together in a tight formation with the team’s time being that of the fifth rider to cross the finish line. Racing begins at 12:45 p.m. and will wrap up at approximately 3:45 p.m.
Stage One Top 10 Results
1. Rory Sutherland, UnitedHealthCare Pro Cycling Team, 5:25:31
2. Damiano Caruso, Liquigas-Cannondale, :04
3. Brent Bookwalter, BMC Racing Team, :06
4. Caleb Fairly, Team Spidertech p/b/ C10, :10
5. Lawson Craddock, Bontrager Livestrong, –
6. Leopold Koenig, Team NetApp, –
7. Michael Schar, BMC Racing Team, –
8. Christian Vandevelde, Garmin0Sharp-Barracuda, –
9. Mathias Frank, BMC Racing Team, –
10. Christopher Baldwin, Bissell Pro Cycling, –