Another heated battle at the Tour of Utah
The third stage of the Tour of Utah took riders from Ogden to Salt Lake City with temperatures once again exceeding 40 °C. After 138 kilometres, Michael Matthews (Rabobank), won the mass sprint ahead of Michael Schär and Brent Bookwalter (both BMC). Bartosz Huzarski, the best Team NetApp rider, finished 39th. Leopold König moved up to 27th place in the general classification and is still 1:10 minutes behind the leader.
Before the first mountain was even reached, the stage was already marked by many attacks. But it wasn’t until the 30 km mark that a group of five, including the later stage winner Matthews, pulled away from the peleton. The group was able to establish a four-minute lead before the peleton started to catch up. The last climb, up a second category mountain, saw attacks both in the peleton and in the lead group. Due to the accelerated pace on the mountain, the lead group fell apart and Johann Tschopp (BMC) led the race as a soloist until 10 kilometres from the finish. Then the riders merged back together, deciding the stage in a mass sprint.
“We have started this tour without a sprinter and are only focused on the overall standing and the difficult mountain stages coming up this weekend. That’s why our goal today was to conserve energy and get Leo to the finish line without losing any time. And we’ve managed to achieve that,” summarised Ralph Denk, Team NetApp team manager.
Unfortunately, Team NetApp already suffered a blow before the race even started. Marcel Wyss had to retire from the race with a fever. “It's a shame that Marcel can’t continue. He knows the race from last year and is in very good shape at the moment. He had high hopes for the race, but what’s important now is that he recovers,” explained Ralph Denk.
With 218 kilometres, the fourth stage, which starts and finishes in Salt Lake City, is the longest leg of the tour. The hilly course climbs a total of 1,300 metres in elevation.
Stage 1, August 7th Ogden – Ogden (211 km)
Stage 2, August 8th TeamTimeTrial Miller Motorsports Park (21.7km)
Stage 3, August 9th Ogden - University of Utah Research Park (138 km)
Stage 4, August 10th Lehi - Salt Lake City (218 km)
Stage 5, August 11th Newspark town center - Snowbird Ski/Summer Resort (165 km)
Stage 6, August 12th Park City - Park City (121.3 km)
Leo Koenig, Bartosz Huzarski, Andreas Dietziker, Reto Hollenstein, Andreas Schillinger, Marcel Wyss, Cesare Benedetti