Overall race leader Sepp Kuss (USA) of Team LottoNL-Jumbo soloed to victory on Stage 5 presented by University of Utah Health at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah on Saturday.
He accelerated away from an elite group of riders on the legendary six-mile climb of Little Cottonwood Canyon to win at Snowbird Resort in a time of 4 hours and two minutes.
The 23-year old American continued to wear the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies Overall Leader jersey since his emphatic victory in Payson on Stage 2, extending his lead in the General Classification (GC).
“I just decided to ride my own pace, it was easier than having to deal with jumping with everybody. I felt good and decided to make a decisive move and put everybody on the back foot, maybe. And it ended up working out again today. I’m really happy. It was really cool,” said Kuss, who high-fived fans packed along the finish line area in celebration as he crossed the line. “It’s fun to be able to relate to the people watching the race and have a good time with them.”
Ben Hermans (BEL) of Israel Cycling Academy pushed Kuss with a solo chase on the final Hors Category climb, crossing the line 39 seconds back in second place.
The battle for third place was taken by American Peter Stetina of Trek-Segafredo, who outmaneuvered a select group that included defending champion Rob Britton (CAN) of Rally Cycling, Jack Haig (AUS) of Mitchelton-Scott, 2015 Tour of Utah winner Joe Dombrowski (USA) of EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale and Dombrowski’s teammate Hugh John Carthy (GBR). Stetina crossed the line 1 minute and 18 seconds behind the winner.
“In the beginning, I was maybe smiling a little bit because there’s no better feeling than just standing up on the pedals. Attacking is just really fun,” said Kuss. “Then when I got a gap and saw Ben Hermans was behind me and he’s a really strong rider, I thought ‘oh no, that’s not who I want chasing me right now,’ because he’s a real engine. After that I was really hurting.”
Major changes to overall standings
As expected, Stage 5 presented by University of Utah Health brought major changes to the overall standings. Hermans surged from 11th place to second place, 1 minute and 21 seconds behind Kuss on GC. Dombrowski and Carthy moved up to third and fourth place, respectively, a little more than two minutes back.
Neilson Powless (USA) of Team LottoNL-Jumbo, Tejay van Garderen (USA) of BMC Racing Team, Kyle Murphy (USA) of Rally Cycling and Gavin Mannion (USA) of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team all dropped out of the Top 10 with one stage to go in “America’s Toughest Stage Race.”
How it unfolded
The Tour of Utah’s “Queen Stage” lived up to its reputation as one of cycling’s most exciting days in the saddle, with 9,975 feet of elevation gain and three Utah Office of Tourism King of the Mountain climbs. The 96.2-mile (154.6 km) stage began for the first time at Canyons Village in Park City.
A 10-rider breakaway saw its gap decrease from four to two minutes on the ascent of Guardsman Pass. After the blistering 15-mile descent of Big Cottonwood Canyon, lone escapee Kilian Frankiny (SUI) of BMC Racing Team had a 15-second lead with six miles (10 km) to go.
“I really like to ride here in Utah. It’s really special with the altitude and the heat. At home, I live on 700 meters and that’s already pretty high for the place that I live,” said Frankiny who is racing his third Tour of Utah.
Frankiny was awarded the Larry H. Miller Dealerships Most Aggressive Rider jersey.
Kuss took over the Utah Office of Tourism KOM jersey. The Utah Sports Commission Sprint jersey remained with Travis McCabe (USA) of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team.
Alex Hoehn (USA) of Aevolo Cycling was voted America First Credit Union Fan Favorite, in the category of Best Climber. Finishing eighth place on the stage, Luis Villalobos (MEX) of Aevolo Cycling, jumped to seventh overall to become the WCF Insurance Best Young Rider.
After a one-year hiatus, Stage 6 presented by Utah Sports Commission brings back the overall finish to Park City on Sunday, Aug. 12.
Historic Park City entertains the Tour for a ninth time, and a sixth time for the overall race finish.
The route will pass through Kamas and Midway before the final attacks on the unrelenting asphalt of Empire Pass, encountering road pitches of 10 to 20 percent.
The race doesn’t end at KOM, as the descent onto Upper Main Street in Park City could decide the winner of the Tour.
Results and standings
Stage 5 presented by University of Utah Health
- KUSS Sepp TEAM (USA), LOTTO NL-JUMBO – 4.02’32”
- HERMANS Ben (BEL), ISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMY – 4.03’11” +39″
- STETINA Peter (USA), TREK-SEGAFREDO – 4.03’50” +1’18”
- BRITTON Robert (CAN), RALLY CYCLING – 4.03’59” +1’27”
- HAIG Jack (AUS), MITCHELTON-SCOTT – 4.03’59” +1’27”
- DOMBROWSKI Joe (USA), EF-DRAPAC pb CANNONDALE – 4.03’59” +1’27”
- CARTHY Hugh John (GBR), EF-DRAPAC pb CANNONDALE – 4.03’59” +1’27”
- VILLALOBOS HERNANDEZ Luis Ricardo (MEX), AEVOLO – 4.04’15” +1’43”
- BOOKWALTER Brent (USA), BMC RACING TEAM – 4.04’19” +1’47”
- WOODS Michael (CAN), EF-DRAPAC pb CANNONDALE – 4.04’36” +2’04”
GENERAL CLASSIFICATION (After Stage 5) – Top 10
- KUSS Sepp TEAM (USA), LOTTO NL-JUMBO – 18.32’00”
- HERMANS Ben (BEL), ISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMY – 18.33’21” +1’21”
- DOMBROWSKI Joe (USA), EF-DRAPAC pb CANNONDALE – 18.34’05” +2’05”
- CARTHY Hugh John (GBR), EF-DRAPAC pb CANNONDALE – 18.34’05” +2’05”
- HAIG Jack (AUS), MITCHELTON-SCOTT – 18.34’07” +2’07”
- BOOKWALTER Brent (USA), BMC RACING TEAM – 18.34’27” +2’27”
- VILLALOBOS HERNANDEZ Luis Ricardo (MEX), AEVOLO – 18.34’33” +2’33”
- WOODS Michael (CAN), EF-DRAPAC pb CANNONDALE – 18.34’40” +2’40”
- SWIRBUL Keegan (USA), JELLY BELLY pb MAXXIS – 18.35’01” +3’01”
- STETINA Peter (USA), TREK-SEGAFREDO – 18.35’17” +3’17”
- Larry H. Miller Group of Companies Overall leader – Sepp Kuss (USA), Team LottoNL-Jumbo
- Utah Sports Commission Sprint leader – Travis McCabe (USA), UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team
- Utah Office of Tourism King of the Mountain – Sepp Kuss (USA), Team LottoNL-Jumbo
- WCF Insurance Best Young Rider – Luis Villalobos (MEX), Aevolo Cycling
- Larry H. Miller Dealerships Most Aggressive Rider – Kilian Frankiny (SUI), BMC Racing Team
- America First Credit Union Fan Favorite – Alex Hoehn (USA), Aevolo Cycling