We had another unique start for today's stage starting on Antelope Island. After two laps around some the island roads we raced across the causeway connecting it to the mainland. The race for the break was pretty intense. Once the battle finished we had Daniel Eaton and Chris Jones in the 10 man break. It was good to have two guys in there, but we really wanted Daniel Jaramillo in to try and reclaim the KOM jersey. Nonetheless we had to be satisfied and focus for the two tough finishing circuits around Bountiful and the "Bountiful Bench" as it is called, a 2km climb averaging 10% with max gradients of 14%. We
With a break of 10 men out front, the chase was pretty fast all day. We tackled two other climbs through the stage before racing into Bountiful. As we approached the climb the first time, the break's time gap was coming down inside 1:45. Over the top of the climb the first time there were some counter attacks and I jumped into one. I had a free ride as I still had Chris and Daniel up front, so if we got across they could help me with anything they had left. Also it helped the guys behind because they didn't have to chase with me up front. All in all it was good. My group was right on the heals of the remaining break as we hit the climb the second time. Immediately there were only a few of us left. We closed the gap to the leaders and Chris came to make one last effort for me. He took us to the steepest part of the climb, at which point I attacked and went solo. I made it to about 200 meters from the top before some guys came from behind. I was missing just a little and couldn't follow. I tagged onto the next few guys that came by as we crested the climb. The group was pretty small on top, but I think a few guys came back on the plateau over the top before the final decent.
We really hoped Marco would be able to make the final group, but he came off just before the top. With him out we had to take an alternate route. We opted to try and set up Jaramillo for the small group sprint. Admittedly I wasn't able to much anything for him, but Jonny helped get him into a good place through the last corner, which allowed him to finish in fifth. We're still missing the stage win, but we're still trying to be present in the race. I had the most aggressive jersey from yesterday and Jaramillo reclaimed the KOM jersey today by taking some points the last time up the climb. We soldier on!
Tomorrow is the queen stage with the finish at Snowbird and there will surely be some explosions. I hope to be able to help Jani move up in the gc. He is definitely one of the strongest here and without his mishap on stage 3, he'd be in the running for the podium. Check us out tomorrow!