A fast and furious circuit race beside the Utah State Capitol saw Orica GreenEDGE’s Michael Matthews (Australia) surge to a convincing win at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah. Matthews captured his second stage win of the six-day Tour of Utah on today’s Stage Four presented by University of Utah Health Care.
Matthews flew up the final climb on State Street and with 50 meters to go passed BMC Racing Team’s Greg Van Avermaet (Belgium), who finished second on the stage for a third day in a row. Third at the line was Jasper Stuyven (Belgium) of the Bontrager Cycling Team.
Team Garmin-Sharp’s Lachlan Morton (Australia) finished safely in the bunch to retain his Larry H. Miller Dealership’s overall leader jersey. He has a 26-second lead over Van Avermaet.
“We pretty much had to commit from the start because nobody else was going to help us,” Matthews said of his strategy to win the stage. “Our goal was to make sure I was in the best position into the climb (on State Street), which was on Greg’s wheel… because he was obviously the favorite on today’s stage.”
Morton and his Garmin-Sharp team rode a competitive but safe race, trying to avoid crashes and losing time to BMC’s Van Avermaet. “It was unreal,” Morton said of riding as the race leader. “To have (the team) riding for me on the front is like a dream. They’re so experienced that it makes what’s supposed to be a stressful job for me sort of easy.”
Huge crowds turned out for the 34-mile Stage Four presented by University of Utah Healthcare, using a 6.8-mile circuit through the downtown Avenues community. This was the first time in two years a stage of the Tour of Utah has been held late in the afternoon; two years ago a late-day time trial was held at Miller Motorsports Park.
The Friday night affair featured an early break of five riders, who dangled off the front for a couple of laps. Champion System’s Pro Cycling’s Craig Lewis (USA) broke from the group and attacked on the final lap. He was caught on the final climb to the Utah State Capitol, but earned the Vivint Most Aggressive Rider jersey for his efforts.
With little change in the overall standings, Morton is still the G.C. leader and the Subaru Best Young Rider. The light blue Subaru Best Young Rider jersey will continue to be worn another day by MTN- Qhubeka’s Tsgabu Gebremaryam Grmay (Ethiopia). The XO Communications Sprint jersey is retained by BMC’s Van Avermaet and Bissell Pro Cycling’s Michael Torckler is still the Ski Utah King of the Mountain.
Saturday, August 10, brings Stage Five presented by Utah Sports Commission. The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah’s “Queen Stage” uses a revised course from past years of 113 miles and 10,611 feet of vertical gain. The day begins at Snowbasin Resort in the Ogden Valley. The peloton travels through Coalville and Park City for XO Communications Sprint lines, and Ski Utah KOMs at Brown’s Canyon and Guardsman’s Pass before the final ascent to Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort. This is the first time the race has climbed the east side of Guardsman’s Pass and descended through Big Cottonwood Canyon. Huge, and sometimes rowdy, crowds are expected in Little Cottonwood Canyon for the final showdown. Stage Five presented by the Utah Sports Commission will begin at 10:50 a.m. MT, and finish at approximately 3:45 p.m. MT.
Across the United States, FOX Sports Network (FSN) continues as the official U.S. broadcast partner for the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah. All six days of programming on FSN will be produced in high definition. The live coverage on FSN is scheduled daily to coincide with race finishes and award ceremonies, 4-6 p.m. (ET) on August 6-8 and 10-11; 7-9 p.m. (ET) on August 9. A one-hour highlight program will be televised on FSN at 11 p.m. (local time).
In addition, live race coverage will also be available online and with mobile applications via Tour TrackerTM powered by Adobe®. At every turn, Tour Tracker will deliver cycling fans access to comprehensive live coverage including broadcast video, real-time GPS location, speed, slope and elevation data, and social media feeds. A portal for all Tour TrackerTM powered by Adobe® coverage will be available during race week at TourofUtah.com.
Photo Cathy Fegan-Kim, VeloImages