Saturday, August 10, 2013

Utah's Queen Stage

It was a big day for RSLT in the Tour of Utah. We went into the stage with a plan, and we were able to make it work almost as planned. We wanted to have someone in the breakaway with the intention of having someone jump across the gap on Guardsman Pass, then use the rider in front to help pace them down Big Cottonwood canyon because it is super long and usually a headwind from the top to the base of Snowbird. If you did it alone, you'd be dead at the start of Snowbird. Establishing the break was no easy task. It took a hard hour of racing for a group of 10 guys to finally go. Jens showed his determination by getting into that move. With Jens up the road, we were now setup well to have someone try and jump across on Guardsman. By attacking, we would put pressure on Garmin, playing the numbers game (5 of us were still on GC) because eventually they would have to let one of us go. When we hit the bottom of Guardsman, Ben was the first to stir the pot. He put in a good dig, but was reeled back in after a bit. Then George made his first attack. Eventually George was brought back, at which point Tiago made a move, then George again, then Chris tested the waters. I was doing what I could to follow the pace, but never attacked. Although we didn't get a rider across to the break, we thinned the group to less than 10 at the top and had knocked Garmin down to two riders: Lachlan (yellow jersey) and Danielson.

On the descent, the group swelled to about 20 riders, and we had five riders present. Jens had managed to come back after we caught him near the top of the climb, plus we had Chris, George, Tiago, and me. We were now in an ideal situation for the final climb. With Garmin only having 2 riders, we needed to play the numbers game again. Jens and Chris used their invaluable experience to make a plan. Jens made an incredible attack with Tiago on his wheel. Danielson was forced to chase for his teammate, but he eventually gave up. Jens and Tiago got a good gap, which swelled to one minute by the base of Snowbird. At the base, Danielson began to set a solid tempo. After a few km, Lachlan couldn't hold his teammate's wheel anymore and cracked. At that point, the race was wide open for a new leader. Danielson showed his strength by attacking despite having worked a lot already. George followed that move. After several other attacks and regroupings, Danielson had a good gap on the small remainder of us. Then Chris saw his moment and attacked. He was able to get a gap and ride across to Danielson. From there, it was Chris and Danielson to the finish, while George and I monitored things behind. At the finish, Chris took the stage and yellow jersey, while George and I finished fourth and sixth, moving into fourth and fifth on GC. Overall, it was a great day for the team. We showed a fighting spirit, as well as team strength. Unfortunately tomorrow's last stage isn't a parade stage. We will have plenty of work cut out for us, but we are motivated and strong. We'll do everything we can to bring home the yellow. Thanks for checking in.

1 comment:

Mike Dolan said...

Matthew -

Cheering you on from Brevard.
Nice riding.
Keep it up!

M Dolan