Rally Cycling charges into the final weekend of the Tour of Utah, determined to deliver Rob Britton to the steps of the State Capitol as the winner of America’s Toughest Stage Race. After five days of racing and almost 30,000 ft of climbing, the 2017 edition of the Tour of Utah will conclude this weekend with two exciting stages. Saturday’s queen stage will end with the notorious 32-kilometer, 4,000 ft ascent to Snowbird Resort. The Tour of Utah wraps on Sunday with a fast and technical circuit race through the streets of Salt Lake City, but it is by no means a parade through town.
“The team has been fantastic,” said race leader Britton. “There a lot of guys that are still close on general classification, and others a little further back with nothing to lose, so there is a lot of work ahead. Tomorrow is key to winning the overall, and the team is ready. We have four guys to get us to the base of Sundance, and hopefully, Huffman can get us all the way to the base of Snowbird. For the final ascent, we have Emerson (Oronte), Adam (de Vos), Sepp (Kuss) and myself, four of the strongest climbers in the race. Our plan for the final climb – well that's a secret!”
Rob Britton powers his way to the overall lead in the stage three time trial
Britton took the overall lead with a stellar performance in stage three’s uphill time trial up Big Cottonwood Canyon. Britton flew up the steep mountain road in a time of 18:26, 13 seconds faster than runner-up Serghei Tvetcov (Jelly Belly-Maxxis) and 26 seconds faster than third-place Gavin Mannion (UnitedHealthcare). Britton’s impressive ride gave him a 26 second lead in the general classification over Mannion, with Tvetcov a further two seconds back.
With the yellow jersey in hand, the team started Thursday’s stage four dedicated to defending Britton’s overall lead. The team rode well in sweltering heat, controlled the race, and safely delivered Britton across the line with his 26-second lead intact. In addition to protecting Britton’s overall lead, the team showed its depth and dedication to each other. After riding on the front of the peloton all day, Colin Joyce sprinted to a strong fourth place while Tour of Utah fans voted Eric Young, Best Sprinter. The award had extra meaning for Young – the two-time Tour of Utah stage winner sacrificed his chance for victory to help protect Britton’s yellow jersey.
Rally Cycling is dedicated to delivering Britton to the overall title
Friday’s stage five into Bountiful again saw the team successfully defend yellow, with an excellent display of teamwork. Throughout the day the team kept Britton safe and near the front of the peloton. The stage ended with two demanding circuits that featured a steep climb and technical descent. With attacks coming fast and furious in the final kilometers, Sepp Kuss and Adam de Vos showed their strength and maturity, setting tempo and reeling in any rider that tried to escape. Britton finished in the front group for seventh on the stage and remains safely atop the standings.
So far, so good,” said Team Director Pat McCarty. “Our plan for defending is focused on being smart and applying pressure when needed. The guys have been doing an excellent job of making sure that general classification riders don’t go up the road. Tomorrow on Snowbird is going to be a throw down – it is the biggest day for the general classification. We have a fantastic team, four of the best climbers in the race, and the whole team is ready to lay it down for Rob.”
Tune into Tour Tracker and watch Rally Cycling defend yellow.
Stage 6 - Heber Valley - Snowbird Resort (1:10 pm - 4:20 pm MDT)
Stage 7 - Salt Lake City - Salt Lake City (1:00 pm - 4:20 pm MDT)
Tour of Utah General Classification After Stage 5
1. Rob Britton (Rally Cycling)
2. Gavin Mannion (UnitedHealthcare)
3. Serghei Tvetcov (Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis)
4. Neilson Powless (Axeon Hagens Berman)
5. Brent Bookwalter (BMC)
6. Taylor Eisenhart (Holowesko-Citadel)
7. Robin Carpenter (Holowesko-Citadel)
8. Jonathan Clarke (UnitedHealthcare)
9. Sepp Kuss (Rally Cycling)
10. Ficara Pierpaolo (Amore & Vita - Selle SMP)