Friday, August 14, 2015

2015 tour of utah - stage 7

Stage 7 (8/9/15) Park City to Park City, 78 miles with 7,806 feet elevation gain.  Continuing the trend of the last couple years, we did our ride at Round Valley before the final Tour of Utah stage.  Although we were a little later than we have been, there weren't too many people out on the trails (and no cranky trail runners).  The storm that swept through Friday night tamped down the dust a bit and there were only a couple of puddle-y spots to avoid.  As we left the Quinn's area, we noticed a couple of police cars blocking an intersection in advance of the race start; we rode up to them and perched on the guardrail for a bit, getting front row seats to the peloton as it whooshed out of Park City towards Wasatch County.

Not a Tour of Utah cyclist

The route took them out to Peoa and Oakley, through Kamas, Heber and Midway, before climbing up and over Empire Pass (a 10-km climb that averages a 10% grade, with a couple of pitches over 20%).  The riders then descended down through Deer Valley, reversing what they had just climbed the day before, taking a hard left into downtown Park City and ending with an uphill finish on Main Street.

That's right, I'm a cowgirl

There were an awful lot of people in town this year.  We took maybe a little too much time walking around and were unable to get spectator spots right along the barricade this year (thus the lack of photos).  We were able to watch the jumbotron (mostly) and the race soon got exciting, with local boy Tanner Putt making an early break on the Empire Pass climb, only to be sucked back in by a group of 9-12 riders, most of whom were solid GC contenders.  This group crested the summit together and then started the mad descent, but Brent Bookwalter soon distanced himself, careening down the mountain at speeds over 60 m.p.h.  We all thought Bookwalter was going to win the stage but Aussie Lachlan Norris caught him with 3 km to go; it was a wild uphill sprint to the finish, with Norris just edging out the American.  The rest of that lead group weren't too far behind - Michael Woods had a big crash just as they turned left onto Main Street - and Joe Dombrowski sealed the deal as the yellow jersey winner and overall 2015 Tour of Utah champion.

Stage 7 podium

Stage podium:  Lachlan Norris (Australia, Drapac); Brent Bookwalter; Natnael Berhane.  General classification: Joe Dombrowski; Michael Woods; Brent Bookwalter.  Sprinter: Brent Bookwalter.  KOM: Gregory Daniel (USA, Axeon Cycling).  Best Young Rider: Daniel Martinez (Colombia).  Most Aggressive:  Natnael Berhane.  Fan Favorite: Taylor Phinney. Team standings: Colombia; BMC Racing; Hincapie Racing.

ToU GC podium

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