Wednesday, August 13, 2014

2014 tour of utah - stage 6

No hiking on Saturday: there's bike racing to watch!  We had hoped to squeeze in a short hike but couldn't work the logistics, since both Big Cottonwood Canyon and Little Cottonwood Canyon were going to be closed to car traffic during the day.  Instead, H did a road ride and I did a run, then we packed a couple of coolers with food and beer (we needed two coolers because we planned to stay up at Snowbird after the race to watch the last Cool Air Concert of the season) and headed up LCC around 1:00 p.m.  The traffic was heavy heading up the canyon, drivers carefully navigating around the Ultimate Challenge riders and the spectators setting up camp on the roadside.  Tanners Flats was full of bike fans/crazy people but the fandom was not limited to that location - there were a lot of people out to cheer on the cyclists.

We finally found a parking spot next to the Wasatch Powderbird Guides helipad, above Snowbird on the Alta bypass road.  In prior years it has been quite warm and sunny watching the Queen Stage but not in 2014: clouds were building and it was off-and-on chilly.  We cruised through the vendors, nabbing some granola bars and Sierra Nevada stickers, before finding a place near the jumbotron to watch the race.

Chris Horner and Tommy D. finishing

Stage 6 (8/9/14) Salt Lake City to Snowbird, 107.2 miles, 12,643 foot elevation gain.  The route was changed a bit from years past, starting at the University of Utah and heading up Emigration Canyon, summiting Big Mountain, cruising through East Canyon to Park City, and climbing through Deer Valley up and over Guardsman Pass.  From there, the racers descend Big Cottonwood Canyon, then immediately start climbing up Wasatch Boulevard, then turning east and climbing Little Cottonwood Canyon [oh the pain!!!] to the Snowbird finish.

Stage 6 jerseys

Things started getting exciting on the BCC descent.  Cadel Evans (2011 Tour de France winner), Joey Rosskopf, Riccardo Zoidl and Wilco Kelderman broke away and stayed in the lead, with Tom Danielson and Chris Horner chasing them.  The chase group got close near the top of the LCC climb but never caught the break.  Right before the turn into Snowbird, Rosskopf was in the lead, pushing as hard as he could  but Evans surged past him like he was standing still to take the stage win.  Horner finished fifth and Danielson sixth, both of them fourteen seconds back, so Tommy D. held onto the general classification lead.  Stage podium:  Cadel Evans (BMC/Australia); Joey Rosskopf (Hincapie Sportswear Development/USA); Riccardo Zoidl (Trek/Austria).

Cadel Evans, Stage 6 winner

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