Thursday, August 9, 2012

2012 tour of utah - stages 1 and 2

Here we are again, Tour of Utah time.  Boy, between the Tour de France just finishing, being in the midst of the Olympics and the Tour of Utah kicking into high gear, we are doing a lot of sports-watching!  This year the ToU has some big names: defending champ Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma), Tommy Danielson (Garmin), Jens Voigt (Radio Shack), Chris Horner (Radio Shack), Christian Vandevelde (Garmin), former local Dave Zabriskie (Garmin), current local Jeff Louder (United Healthcare), Tyler Farrar (Garmin), Brent Bookwalter (BMC), 2009 ToU champ Francisco Mancebo (Competitive Cyclist) and Ben King (Radio Shack), many of whom are just off the Tour de France.  Hopefully their recent time in those mountains will help them with ours!

Stage 1 - 8/7/12:  A 131-mile road race, starting and finishing in Ogden, Stage 1 threw the guys right into it with 8,939 feet of climbing.  Rory Sutherland, an Aussie on the United Healthcare team, got the stage win.

Stage 2 - 8/8/12:  Out at Miller Motorsports Park, this was a team time trial, something not usually seen.  We took the day off and went out there, where it was hot, just a little windy and smoky from a wildfire on the other side of the mountains.  The teams did three laps of the race course for a total of 13.5 miles; each team started together but their time would be the time of the fifth rider to cross the finish line, so you could drop your sixth and seventh riders if they couldn't keep up, but you had to keep five in the pace line.

Dave Zabriskie, current U.S. time trial champion,
is a huge comics geek and has a 
Captain America time trial kit

They put three teams out on the track at a time, starting them four minutes after each other.  It was a much smaller crowd than it had been last year, the noontime Wednesday start keeping a lot of people away, I imagine.  Because there were fewer people, we were able to move around, watching the riders out on the course from one lofty grandstand, checking out the starting line from another grandstand and hovering at the sidelines for the finishes.

Winning team Garmin finishing

Poor Levi's team had a bad showing, coming in last and leaving him with over a 2 minute deficit to make up for the next road ride.  It was the Garmin team with the winning time of 22:35, stripping the yellow jersey from Rory Sutherland and putting it on Christian Vandevelde.

Team Radio Shack pace line

I would have to give the sportsmanship award to the Radio Shack team, however.  Veteran riders Chris Horner and Jens Voigt were just lovely to the fans after their ride: Horner offered to sign autographs for a bunch of kids without being asked; and Jens charmingly told an old lady to give him a kiss when she asked for a photo with him.  Nice guys, those two.

Jens Voigt, cooling down

Random notes:  This year there was food to be purchased (after my complaint about that last year) from a hot dog cart and the park's own concession stand.  You could get beers too but they were 24-oz. scuba tanks of Bud Lite and Coors so we decided to pass.  The podium girls were slightly better-looking than last year's models but their shoes were still pretty hookerish.

Stage 2 podium, with Christian Vandevelde
in the yellow jersey

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