Tuesday, August 11, 2015

2015 tour of utah - stages 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

I can't believe that we just watched our sixth Tour of Utah.  What a great event this is continuing to be.  Last week, northern Utah hosted the Tour with mixed weather and good crowds.  There were fewer really big names this year - Chris Horner was riding but Tommy Danielson withdrew due to a suspicious doping result - but that didn't stop the fans from coming out.  Like last year, we were only able to attend the last two stages in person.  Here's what happened in the first five stages:

Stage 1 (8/3/15) Logan to Logan, 132 miles and 6,553 feet elevation gain.  To start things off, there was a KOM (King of the Mountain) in Logan Canyon at 7,799 feet. The route then descended around Bear Lake, climbed back up to Garden City and then a long descent back to Logan with a couple of circuit before the finish.  Stage podium:  Kiel Reijnen (USA, UnitedHealthcare); Alex Howes (USA, Cannondale-Garmin); Taylor Phinney (USA, BMC Racing).

Stage 2 (8/4/15) Tremonton to Ogden, 100 miles and 4,630 feet elevation gain.  The cyclists cruised the "Fruit Highway" in rural Box Elder County, then climbed Ogden Canyon (10% average gradient), circled Pineview Reservoir and then climbed the North Ogden Divide before descending into Ogden, again doing several in-town circuits with a finish on historic 25th Street.  Stage podium:  Jure Kocjan (Slovenia, Team SmartStop); Robin Carpenter (USA, Hincapie Racing); Brent Bookwalter (USA, BMC Racing).

Stage 3 (8/5/15) Antelope Island State Park to Bountiful, 109 miles with 6,400 feet elevation gain.  Unlike so many Utah locals, the riders actually got out to Antelope Island, then crossed the causeway, heading for North Ogden.  They did a KOM on the North Ogden Divide (again), then descended into the Eden valley, riding past Pineview Reservoir (again) and ending in Bountiful with two nine mile circuits that included a climb up the benches.  Stage podium:  Logan Owen (USA, Axeon Cycling); Brent Bookwalter; Edwin Avila (Columbia).

Stage 4 (8/6/15) Soldier Hollow to Soldier Hollow, 127 miles and 8,173 feet elevation gain.  This is where the climbing started kicking into gear.  After starting in Soldier Hollow, there was a KOM at Daniels Summit, then flattening out a bit past Strawberry Reservoir.  There was another KOM after a ten mile, Cat. 2 climb up to Wolf Creek Pass (elev. 9,300 feet), then descending into Woodland and returning to the start.  Stage podium:  Eric Young (USA, Optum); Dion Smith (New Zealand, Hincapie Racing); Jure Kocjan.

Stage 5 (8/7/15) Salt Lake City circuits, 55 miles and 4,921 feet elevation gain.  This is a great stage for fans as the riders rush around and around within the city limits.  The course changed slightly this year: instead of climbing the 11% grade of State Street up to the state capitol, the riders had to climb the 20% grade of Wall Street and Zane Avenue up to the state capitol.  They did seven laps and it was won on the final stretch, with Canadian Michael Woods charging up the hill for his first big win AND the yellow jersey.  (And then minutes after the race concluded, a huge lightning and wind storm swept through the area.)  Stage podium:  Michael Woods (Canada, Optum); Sonny Colbrelli (Italy, Bardiani CSF); Kiel Reijnen.

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