Rabobank’s Michael Matthews of Australia spent almost 65 miles in a breakaway and still had enough left to pull away from the field and win Stage Three presented by University of Utah Health Care at the 2012 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah. Matthews finished the 85.5-mile (137.6-kilometer) road race from Ogden to Salt Lake City in 3 hours, 24 minutes, 7 seconds. Swiss rider Michael Schär of BMC Racing Team finished second and American teammate Brent Bookwalter placed third on today’s stage.
Matthews was part of a five-man breakaway that formed shortly after departing Ogden and, along with U.S. national road race champion Timmy Duggan (Liquigas-Cannondale), spent most of the day trying to hold off a hard-charging peloton with Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda setting the pace. The break was caught near the summit of Big Mountain, about 17 miles from the finish. A fast descent down Emigration Canyon set up the exciting sprint.
The overall leaders remain unchanged, with Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda’s Christian Vande Velde (USA) retaining his Larry H. Miller Dealerships Overall Leader’s jersey (9 hours, 12 minutes, 23 seconds). With the same time are teammates Tommy Danielson (USA) and Dave Zabriskie (USA) in second and third, respectively, on the general classification.
“Today was just trying to survive until the finish and see what I had left, if I was still there. I think it was a good tactical decision,” said Matthews, the 2010 U-23 World Road Race Champion. “There was a fair bit of mind games actually on the last bit of the climb. … I think I was pretty lucky when they caught me on the climb. I was able to get over the top with them and just get to the front for the finish.”
After his time in the breakaway ended, Duggan spent much of the final descent on the front setting the pace to help his Liquigas sprinter, Damiano Caruso (Italy). Duggan was rewarded at the end by taking over the Ski Utah King of the Mountains jersey.
“If you’re in a position you have to go for it,” Duggan said of finding himself with an unexpected spot in the early breakaway. “It worked out and I’m still in position for the G.C., and I got the KOM jersey, so that’s good.”
BMC Racing Team’s Johann Tschopp (SUI) took a solo flyer from the break only to be caught in the final kilometers of the stage. For his efforts, Tschopp earned the Exergy Development Group Most Aggressive Rider jersey. Matthews earned the XO Communications Sprint jersey. Salt Lake City’s Jeff Louder (UnitedHealthcare) was awarded the Miller Light Best Utah Rider jersey. Rabobank’s Wilco Kelderman (RAB) retained the Subaru Best Young Rider jersey.
Friday, August 10 is Stage Four presented by Adobe. This is a 134.2-mile (216.2-kilometer) road race from XANGO headquarters in Lehi to EnergySolutions Arena in downtown Salt Lake City. The course is the flattest in the 2012 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah with only 4,219 feet (1,285 meters) of vertical gain. After leaving Lehi, the peloton will travel along roads used by the old Pony Express before heading north to downtown Salt Lake City. Action begins in Lehi at 10:15 a.m. with an estimated finish in Salt Lake City of 3:45 p.m.