Colombian Team Wins Final Stage at Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort
SNOWBIRD, UTAH - Twice Levi Leipheimer of Team Radioshack has raced the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah and both times he has won. Today at Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort, the American crossed the line just behind stage winner Sergio Luis Haneo (COL) of Columbian team Gobernacion de Antioquia Indeportes and secured a second Larry H. Miller Dealerships Overall Leader's jersey.
Henao won today's Stage Five presented by Zions Bank in 4.20'13", the signature "Queen Stage" covering 106.6 miles (171.6 kilometers) and over 11,000 vertical feet of climbing. Team RadioShack teammates Leipheimer and Janez Brajkovic of Slovania finished the stage podium, second and third respectively.
In the final standings, Haneo finished 23 seconds behind Leipheimer and Brajkovic was 45 seconds back of his teammate. 2008 Tour of Utah champion Jeff Louder (USA) of BMC Racing Team finished 10th this year on G.C. and 2010 Tour of Utah champion Francisco Mancebo (ESP) of RealCyclist.com Pro Cycling Team finished 11th.
"I am very proud to win the race, especially this year; it has grown up a lot. It has become a UCI race. I think that today is worthy of what we call a Grand Tour stage in the mountains, like what you see in the Alps, Pyrenees, or Dolomites. Climbs (in Utah) are hard, and high altitude is what makes it harder," Leipheimer, who went to high school in Salt Lake City and continues to train in Utah throughout the year. On finishing behind Haneo for second place on the stage, he added, "The way the Gobernacion team rode, they were aggressive, they were strong, and Sergio deserved it more than I did."
The peloton was aggressive from the start in Park City today, pinning back all breakaway attempts before hitting the first major climb on the Alpine Loop at the base of Mt. Timpanogos, the second highest mountain in Utah's Wasatch Range. The early action came during the XO Communication intermediate sprints where Team PureBlack Racing's Roman Van Uden (NZL) fought to take the final available points, and claimed the XO Communications Sprint classification jersey.
As the race turned up toward Sundance Resort, the contenders made their way to the front. On the second big climb of the day, Gian Cheula (ITA) of Team Geox-TMC attacked and broke away on the Suncrest climb, earning the Vivint Most Aggressive Rider classification jersey.
The group containing Leipheimer brought back all breakaways before the base of the final six-mile climb up Little Cottonwood Canyon. The entire Gobernacion de Antioquia Indeportes team came together in the lead group and began to attack. Leipheimer's RadioShack squad worked to keep the group together and help him defend his general classification win. Leipheimer also won the Ski Utah King of the Mountain classification jersey.
Other jersey winners included Jeff Louder (USA) of Team BMC Racing with the Miller Lite Best Utah Rider award jersey and Cristian Montoya Giraldo (COL) of Gobernacion de Antioquia Indeportes with the Subaru Best Young Rider award jersey. The winning team classification went to the aggressive Columbian squad, Gobernacion de Antioquia Indeportes.
"If we would have scripted this (race) from the outset, with the way it played out - with the stages that were won, the winners of the jerseys, Tejay van Garderen winning the Subaru Best Young Rider jersey, with the leader's jersey falling into Gobernacion Indeportes Antioquia's hands early, and Team RadioShack having to fight for it - and handed that script to a screenwriter, I think they would have torn it up and said 'why don't you write something realistic'," said Steve Miller, president of the Tour of Utah at the wrap-up press conference today about the six days of racing at the sixth edition of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah this week. "(The week) was beyond our wildest dreams. We're very happy with it."
The Tour of Utah gained stature from the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI - global governing body for sport of cycling) as a 2.1-rated stage race earlier this year. It is now one of the top three stage races for road cycling in North America. In just seven years, the race has gone from a three-day race for individuals and regional teams to a six-day race for professional teams with national television coverage and live webcasting for a worldwide audience. The race gained support this year from a record 80-plus sponsors, most of them based in Utah.
All race results are available online at www.tourofutah.com.