Rory Sutherland surprises the bunch sprint in Tour of Utah opener
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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Rory Sutherland surprises the bunch sprint in Tour of Utah opener

by Kyle Moore at 6:17 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
UnitedHealthcare GC leader grabs grueling stage one out of 30-man sprint

Rory SutherlandRory Sutherland (UnitedHealthcare) surprised Damiano Caruso (Liquigas-Cannondale) from 200 metres out in a select bunch sprint in stage one of the Tour of Utah, grabbing the first leader’s jersey of the race.

Sutherland was part of a group of approximately 30 riders who were able to outlast an arduous 210 kilometres under the hot Utah sun on a stage with four categorized climbs. The final and most difficult climb crested with 20km to go, with the descent back in to Ogden being played out with numerous unsuccessful attacks.

Dave Zabriskie (Garmin-Sharp) made the only move inside the final ten kilometres that appeared as if it would stick, but BMC Racing helped to bring him back under the five-kilometre banner. Counter attacks by BMC Racing and Rabobank were reeled in as well, and swinging into two final right-hand bends, no team had established control.

Caruso led out and seemed to be the fastest man surviving, but Sutherland surprised him up the right side with an impressive turn of speed. The winner of the 2012 Tour of the Gila and the Tour de Beauce took the impressive victory heading into Wednesday’s team time trial.

"You know, I had my team-mates Ben Day and Philip Deignan in there with me. I told them I was feeling good, and if anyone was able to ride away then we would lose the opportunity, so it was up to them to hold things together as much as possible and it was my job in the end," Sutherland explained to reporters afterward.

After a prologue got the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah started in 2011, organizers hit riders with a grueling 210km stage featuring four categorized climbs. Already hot in the mid-morning when the race got underway, four riders were quickly given a gap. Ben Jacques-Maynes (Bissell), Caleb Fairly (Spidertech), David Williams (Competitive Cyclist), and Eduard Beltran (EPM-UNE) padded their lead to seven minutes after just 25 kilometres, at which point Will Clarke (Champion System) joined the break.

Their lead maxed out at over 12 minutes after 55 kilometres of racing. Over the first categorized climb, taken by Jacques-Maynes, the first two intermediate sprints were grabbed by Clarke. Garmin-Sharp and Radioshack-Nissan offered a mixed lineup at the front of the peloton to start hauling back the break, and as the peloton hit the feed zone, their deficit was 9’30”.

Clarke flatted going up the category-four Hogsback Climb but was soon back with his group, while Jacques-Maynes again outsprinted the Colombian Beltran for the maximum points. With 80km to race, the gap to the escape was down to 5’30”.

The action began to heat up heading into the penultimate climb of the day, the category-three Trappers Loop grade. Jesse Anthony (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) attacked out of the peloton nearing the climb, while in the break, Williams and Clarke were tailed off the back.

Jacques-Maynes again took the points at the top of Trappers Loop, and Williams got back on as the descent began. With 50km to race, the four-man break had 3’31” over Anthony and 4’35” on the peloton.

The impressive work of Anthony seriously bit into the lead of the four-man escape, and with 30km to go, he was within a minute. Clarke had attached to the lone American and took an occasional turn, but Anthony had a stage win in a second consecutive Tour of Utah in mind. The peloton had also eaten into the tiring breakaway, within three minutes by the time Anthony had attached to the lead group.

As the break hit the final climb, Williams and Clarke tailed off again, and Anthony hammered out the tempo to try and take advantage of his work. But the peloton continued to close down, within forty seconds as the main bunch worked into the climb.

The final climb of the day would crest with still 20km to race, with the steepness of the category-two hill biting into the legs of the break. A flurry of moves came off the front of the main bunch just as it had reeled in the breakaway halfway up the final climb. Ian Boswell (Bontrager-Livestrong) was aggressive, along with Fairley, Peter Stetina (Garmin-Sharp) and Tim Duggan (Liquigas-Cannondale).

Lucas Euser (Spidertech-C10) went away alone, the first of several to try a solo move. After a few kilometres away, the American was hauled back by seven riders, including Duggan and Ben Day (UnitedHealthcare), who were just off the front of the speeding peloton. Chris Baldwin (Bissell) was also aggressive in trying to get a small group ahead of the peloton, but speeds were too high for anything to stick.

Continuing an attacking nature that would eventually pay off, UnitedHealthcare sent Philip Deignan up the road, but the Irishman was soon covered as well. Into Ogden and at the top of a rise, Zabriskie sprung his attack, and the American time trial champ seemed to have the energy to stay away.

But with everyone with legs desiring the first leader’s jersey, the surviving riders battled it out in a makeshift sprint, and Sutherland was victorious.

2012 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah Stage One (210km) Brief Results:

1, Rory Sutherland (UnitedHealthcare) in 5h25'41"
2, Damiano Caruso (Liquigas-Cannondale)
3, Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing)
4, Lawson Craddock (Bontrager-Livestrong)
5, Leopold Koenig (Netapp)
6, Michael Schär (BMC Racing)
7, Christian Vandevelde (Garmin-Sharp)
8, Mathias Frank (BMC Racing)
9, Christopher Baldwin (Bissell)
10, Ivan Santaromita (BMC Racing)


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