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Tour of Utah Stage 2 Preview | stage 1: Reijnen wins in Logan | Natnael Finish 31

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1REIJNEN, Kiel (UNITEDHEALTHCARE) 5:09:02 USA

2 HOWES, Alex (TEAM CANNONDALE – GARMIN) USA

3 PHINNEY, Taylor (BMC RACING) USA

4 DANIEL, Gregory (AXEON CYCLING TEAM) RSA

5 VAN ZYL, Johann (MTN – QHUBEKA) + 2 USA

6 YOUNG, Eric (OPTUM P/B KELLY BENEFIT STRATEGIES) + 4 ITA

7 COLBRELLI, Sonny (BARDIANI CSF) COL

8 MOLANO, Sebastián (COLOMBIA) USA 9 MAGNER, Tyler (HINCAPIE RACING TEAM) ARG

10 HAEDO, Lucas Sebastian (JAMIS – HAGENS BERMAN) NED

11 WIPPERT, Wouter (DRAPAC) POR

12 SILVESTRE, Fabio (TREK FACTORY RACING) US

A 13 MURPHY, John (UNITEDHEALTHCARE) COL

14 AVILA VANEGAS, Edwin Alcibiades (COLOMBIA) USA

15 OWEN, Logan (AXEON CYCLING TEAM)

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31 BRHANE Natnael  (MTN QUBEKA)

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The stage was dominated early on by seven-rider move that slipped clear in the opening kilometres as Johan Van Zyl (MTN-Qhubeka), Carlos Ramirez (Colombia), Joe Schmalz (Hincapie Racing), Emerson Oronte (Team SmartStop), Greg Daniel (Axeon), David Williams (Jamis-Hagens Berman) and Josh Berry (Budget Forklifts) broke away. The leaders built a lead of around 14 minutes before the peloton launched the chase.

In the end only Van Zyl and Daniel remained as the duo reached the final closing circuits in Logan. As the field closed in, Howes, Reijnen and Phinney bridged over to Van Zyl and Daniel before the final finishing lap.

“There was a little climb that had a chicane before it,” Howes said of the decision to jump away from the bunch. “It just smelled good so I went for it.”

The five leaders only had a handful of seconds as they went into the final kilometre, but Phinney put in a huge turn of speed at the front. He faded with 150 meters to go, just as Reijnen launched his sprint.

Howes tried to chase the UnitedHealthcare rider but Reijnen was able to hold on for a comfortable win.

 

How it unfolded

Monday’s 212km stage started in Logan under cloudy skies and a light drizzle, and it finished there after two KOMs, two intermediate sprints and several cloud bursts.

The stage began with a climb through Logan Canyon, where the of seven riders moved clear of the bunch. The group’s gap ballooned to more than 15 minutes on the climb, and the escapees had a gap of 12:20 as they approached the first intermediate sprint of the day 69km into the race. Williams took the sprint and won a three-second time bonus, making him the first overall leader on the road.

With two-time defending champion Tom Danielson out of the race after returning a positive test in an out-of-competition anti-doping test last month, control of the race was up in the air, and the teams that didn’t have a rider in the break took turns leading the charge.

The gap started coming down consistently from there, with the leaders’ advantage dipping to nine minutes with 120km remaining. Their advantage was down to seven minutes going around Bear Lake.

Daniel grabbed the maximum points and time bonus at the second intermediate sprint to equal Williams in time on the road, but the breakaway started coming apart the second time up Logan Canyon. Ramirez, Schmalz and Williams were the first riders to lose the pace, followed y Josh Berry.

At the head of the race, Van Zyl, Oronte and Daniel soldiered on. The trio had a gap of five minutes with just over 40km remaining, while in the field a mix of teams continued to pull through at the front of the peloton. The field pulled back another 90 seconds over the next 15km as the breakaway turned into a headwind on the way to the finish.

Several Pro Continental teams, including UnitedHealthcare, Drapac and Bardiani-CSF moved to the front to pick up the chase for their sprinters for success on the two 3km finishing laps in Logan.

The pace up front eventually took its toll on Oronte, who dropped out of the breakaway with less than 20km remaining.

The gap two Van Zyl and Daniel continued to collapse as Hincapie and Optum joined the chase at the front. Even Phinney, in his first race in more than a year, hit the front of the chase for a short spin.

As the leaders entered the closing circuits, the gap was down to just 25 seconds and a bunch sprint looked inevitable.

However, when Phinney, Howes and Reijnen jumped clear and made the bridge, the peloton briefly lost its momentum and the trio reached the two leaders before the final finishing lap.

The five leaders only had a handful of seconds as they went into the final kilometre, but Phinney put in a huge turn of speed at the front. He faded with 150 meters to go, just as Reijnen launched his sprint.

Howes tried to chase the UnitedHealthcare rider, but Reijnen was able to hold on for a comfortable win.

 

Stage 2

The race travels west to Tremonton for the start of stage 2, a 160km run that the sprinters will certainly have marked in their race books. The stage has just one KOM, the relatively tame North Ogden Divide at just over 1,800 metres, and it comes 30km from the finish in Ogden.

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