Tour of Utah: Jake Keough victorious in stage four sprint
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Friday, August 10, 2012

Tour of Utah: Jake Keough victorious in stage four sprint

by Kyle Moore at 6:17 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
 
UnitedHealthcare gets a second stage win, Vande Velde leads into the queen stage

Jake KeoughAfter picking up a win with Rory Sutherland on stage one, UnitedHealthcare got a second stage triumph in the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah on Friday as Jake Keough sprinted to victory on stage four.

The 25-year-old came around Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) inside the final hundred metres after Farrar couldn’t quite finish off what turned out to be a very long sprint. Marco Benfatto (Liquigas-Cannondale) was second, and Farrar hung on to third. Stage three winner Michael Matthews (Rabobank) sprinted to fourth.

A breakaway of six men built a maximum lead of eleven minutes during the 219km stage and was stubborn in the finale, appearing for a while as if it would not be caught. Peter Velits (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Thomas Leezer (Rabobank), Yann Huguet (Argos-Shimano), Craig Lewis (Champion System), Jeremy Vennell (Bissell), and Jasper Stuyven (Bontrager-Livestrong) had a lead of still nearly a minute with five kilometres to race.

Defending the race lead of Christian Vande Velde, Garmin-Sharp at times preferred to let other teams with sprinters help pull back the strong group of six, but a tailwind assisted in helping the escape stay away. It was only inside the final two kilometres that the cooperation in the breakaway dissolved, and UnitedHealthcare helped lead the bunch past.

After a final left-hand bend with 800 metres to go, the sprinters queued up. Keough picked Farrar’s wheel to follow, and it proved to be a wise choice. The hard-luck Farrar had a good turn of speed but was forced to unleash it too early. Keough came out of his slipstream at the right moment to grab his biggest win of the season.

“All the guys rode all day today, they were unbelievable,” Keough lauded from the podium. “Everyone committed and it took a lot of guts with so many strong guys in the group.”

Keough spoke of the escape that spent more than 200 kilometres in front of the field.

“The gap went out really quick, and everyone wanted to stop [working.] Garmin has ridden really hard and maybe wanted a break. There was a tailwind and it was hard to keep the break in check, but everyone was really awesome.”

The longest stage of the race featured three intermediate sprint points and no categorized climbs, meaning that current king of the mountains Tim Duggan (Liquigas-Cannondale) would hold his jersey for another day.

The breakaway of six got off the front 15km into the 219km day and built a maximum lead of nearly eleven minutes. Huguet was the best placed overall, at eight minutes behind Vande Velde, so Garmin-Sharp only had to keep the break relatively in check. It was up to other teams if they desired a stage win, and UnitedHealthcare spent much time on the front in the second part of the stage.

Competitive Cyclist and Exergy also chipped in toward the end, and with 35 kilometres to race, the break had just a 90-second advantage. But they held that gap into the final 15km until Garmin-Sharp recommitted and helped haul them back.

Farrar nearly had his first win since a stage of the 2011 Tour de France, but Keough sprinted around for the well-earned victory by UnitedHealthcare.

2012 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah Stage Four Brief Results:

1, Jacobe Keough (UnitedHealthcare)
2, Marco Benfatto (Liquigas-Cannondale)
3, Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp)
4, Michael Matthews (Rabobank)

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