The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah got off to a perfect start for BMC Racing Team today with Tejay van Garderen securing victory on the 5.3km prologue after a strong day of racing from the team saw him joined on the podium by Joey Rosskopf and Tom Bohli.
Van Garderen was the final rider to start his effort and looked strong as he quickly settled into his rhythm over the opening part of the out-and-back course which saw the road rising steadily for the first 2km before a short descent down to the turnaround.
The American rider, who is racing in Utah for the first time since 2011, continued to lay it all out on the road as he climbed back up to the peak of the course before stopping the clock after a fast and straight downhill run into the finish line at 6’27”, four seconds quicker than the previous benchmark set by his BMC Racing Team teammate and US national time trial champion, Rosskopf.
Van Garderen was also joined on the podium by Tom Bohli, who was one of the first riders to roll off the ramp in St. George and spent a significant amount of time in the hot seat after demonstrating his time trialing prowess earlier in the day by posting a time of 6’33” to finish third.
The Winner’s Interview with Tejay van Garderen
Congratulations, Tejay. Talk us through today’s prologue.
“Pacing was certainly important today. You started out uphill and the roads were wide so, it was a little deceiving. I think the gradient was higher than people expected which meant that you had to over-pace and then try to recover a little bit on the downhill then over-pace again on the way out before you were basically screaming at 75km/h all the way to the finish. On a course like this, you don’t want to blow up but at the same time, you want to gauge your effort well.”
You’re coming into the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah after the Tour de France. What made you decide to race here this week?
“I have the Tour de France in my legs and I was thinking that after a week of recovery I could either start training again and start hitting set on the power meter and cranking out efforts on the climb or, I could come to race in Utah. I love Utah and I have a long history here. My first professional victory was at this race in 2011 in the time trial and even before that the Junior National Championships were in Park City in 2005 or 2006 and I have good memories from there too.”
“I came here to have some fun ultimately and to keep the body rolling. I told myself that if there was a chance for a result that I would take it and today was a great opportunity to do that.”
How did you feel coming into the race after such a short break?
“I felt good today. After the Tour, I did a couple of three hour days coming into this race and the rest of them were just easy and purely recovery so, I really had no idea how I was going to respond especially coming into this heat, at altitude, and with such a violent, short effort to tackle. I was stepping into the unknown a little but I was motivated and I went through my normal warm-up routine as if I was starting any other time trial. The legs responded well and as soon as I started pushing on the climb, I felt like it could be a good effort.”
Quotes From the Finish Line
“A prologue, or any stage 1 time trial, is a nice way to get the nerves out of the way so when you start the first official road stage you already have a ranking and that gives the race a little more structure and maybe some more predictability. Today’s race was a pretty violent effort as you were going as hard as you could on the climbs but then barely pedaling on the descents. It wasn’t your normal pacing strategy so there was plenty to think about out there today even though it was such a short course.”
“Today’s result definitely gives us a lot of confidence going into the rest of the Tour. You can never plan to go 1-2-3 and it wasn’t like we talked about doing that and named who would place where coming into the day so, today’s result is a really nice surprise.”
“This is my third Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah so, I know what lays ahead of me as a non-climber and I know what my role is for the team. I was really looking forward to the prologue today. I knew it wasn’t a typical prologue and I like technical prologues on the TT bike. I also knew that my teammates were going to do well so I am really happy with today’s result.”
Sports Director, Jackson Stewart:
“Today was a fantastic start to the race for us. We came into the day thinking that this would be a good day for Tom Bohli. He is a prologue specialist and we knew he had done a lot of work for today and thought that he would be able to win the race convincingly. He really set the bar high and then we started the other guys later in the day as we thought that the wind would have calmed down. So, we really hedged our bets on the front end and the back end of the day and our final riders did amazingly. First, Joey Rosskopf broke the time set by Bohli and then Tejay van Garderen knocked it out of the park. It was impressive to see.”
“Today’s result really sets us up well for the rest of the race. It definitely gives us some extra motivation and some more confidence looking ahead. I think now that Tejay has won the first stage, on a course that he is maybe not a specialist on, it will definitely give him a boost as we look ahead to the other stages which we know he can be good on.”
The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah
Prologue: St. George > St. George, 5.3km
Top 3: 1. Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing Team) 2. Joey Rosskopf (BMC Racing Team) 3. Tom Bohli (BMC Racing Team)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 1. Tejay van Garderen 2. Joey Rosskopf 3. Tom Bohli