Tour of Utah Wrap-up: A little age and a lot of youth highlight the top ten
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Monday, August 13, 2012

Tour of Utah Wrap-up: A little age and a lot of youth highlight the top ten

by Kyle Moore at 10:35 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Riders and directors react to exciting finale of “America’s Toughest Stage Race”

Tour of UtahIt may only be the third biggest stage race in the United States, but the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah wrapped up on Sunday with a few proven veterans dotting the top results, but also with a host of emerging young riders performing strongly as well.

Johann Tschopp (BMC Racing) got a somewhat surprising overall victory thanks to a solo victory on the penultimate stage, followed by an admirable defense of the leader’s jersey when it came under attack by stage six winner Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma-Quick Step). Leipheimer may have been the strongest rider in the race, but was done in by the team time trial, when his squad had to wait on a struggling fifth rider.

While the Tour of Utah had some veteran presence in the peloton, many of the top riders in the final general classification put their youthful power and potential on display. Tschopp turned 30 years of age on July 1, but behind him, the only riders in the top ten overall older than 30 were Leipheimer and Chris Horner (Radioshack-Nissan).

After the race, Horner reacted to his own performance, as well as that of his Radioshack-Nissan team-mate Matthew Busche. The 27-year-old former American road race champion finished second overall in Utah.

“This was a great result for us. Busche was second on the podium and we won the teams GC. And I felt better and better during the week. Honestly, in the first part of the race I suffered a lot,” Horner stated on the team website. “Levi was the deserved winner [of stage six] but I saw a very strong Busche too. At his own pace he came back with me to the front group [on Empire Pass]. He really did a fast ride. All of this gives us confidence for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge and Busche is ready for the Vuelta!”

Leopold Koenig, the 24-year-old Czech rider in his second season with Team NetApp, climbed well all week and took third overall. Always looking for more publicity from solid results, NetApp manager Ralph Denk was excited for his squad.

“That was an outstanding performance by Leo and the entire team,” Denk lauded. “Our goal for this tour was to finish on the podium and we managed to do it. Leo had a fighting spirit and was in top form. His performance in the mountains was outstanding. Two podium finishes in the stages and third in the general classification is a good result. I am proud of what the team accomplished here this week.”

Spidertech-C10 will be looking to build on Lucas Euser’s Utah effort - eighth place overall - in the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, beginning next week in Colorado. Euser climbed with the best and had two top ten finishes on the final mountain stages, and could be an outside bet for a top five finish in Colorado.

“The team did their job. We know we need to work on our team time trials, but coming away from Utah with a top ten on the GC gives the guys a boost heading into Colorado,” stated Spidertech-C10 director Michael Carter. “All week the guys knew their jobs and they executed well. They came together as a team. We had some bad luck with Caleb [Fairly’s] crash, and Flavio [de Luna] crashed as well, but they are both okay and should recover in time and be one hundred percent for next week.”

Highlighting the youth movement in Utah were Bontrager-Livestrong pair Joe Dombrowski and Ian Boswell. Dombrowski is the 21-year-old Baby Giro champion said to be weighing ProTour offers for next season, and he added a fourth place finish in Utah to his palmàres.

Boswell finished fifth overall, and is reported to have signed with Argos-Shimano as a stagiaire for the remainder of the season.

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