Talansky takes Snowbird stage and leader's jersey at Tour of Utah
Andrew Talansky climbed to victory on the queen stage of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah on Saturday and moved into the leader’s jersey at the same time.
Talansky will toe the start line in Park City for the final stage of the 11th edition of the seven-day tour looking to defend yellow on what promises to be a difficult day.
“I came here to put the final topping on the prep for the Vuelta,” said Talansky. “I didn’t know exactly what result that would yield. Obviously so far, so good. It’s a great feeling to win again. To win the stage was really special. To be sitting here in yellow is great.”
Slipstream Sports CEO Jonathan Vaughters said: “The Pitbull earned his name today. That was a dominating performance by him and a strong performance by all the boys. It’s a good sign going into the Vuelta.”
Cannondale-Drapac backed Talansky on the hilly 183-kilometre stage between Snowbasin and Snowbird. The 27-year-old started the day in third overall, nine seconds down on Lachlan Morton (Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis).
Twenty kilometers into the stage, American Ben King, the Tour of Utah stage one fan favorite, forced clear of the bunch as part of the early breakaway. The 13-rider move pocketed a five-minute advantage before Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis lifted the pace. The escape hit the base of the category one Guardsman Pass three minutes ahead of the bunch.
The steep slopes of Guardsman Pass did damage. Over the top of the climb, only four riders from the early breakaway remained out front, including King. Back in the bunch, Morton was isolated.
Heavy rain fell on the peloton as they powered toward the finishing climb to Snowbird. The bunch had expected a tailwind up the final climb. Instead, they contended with a headwind, making attacks more difficult.
“The wind shifted when the storm blew in,” Talansky said. “A tailwind favors attacking. When the wind changed, that changed the way the race would play out."
“Four kilometers from the finish, I knew we were running out of road,” Talansky added. “I had just decided to attack when Atapuma went. I knew that was my chance.”
With his acceleration, Darwin Atapuma (BMC) immediately opened a gap on an elite selection of riders harboring general classification ambitions. Talansky was the first to respond and the only rider able to make it across to the lone leader.
“He was really strong when he jumped,” noted Talansky. “When I fought my way across, I asked him to pull through, to work with me, and he said he was at his limit. I told him I was willing to give him the stage win if he pulled, but he insisted he was at his limit, and I believed him.”
In Talansky’s wake, Morton and Adrian Costa (Axeon Hagens Berman) gave chase. The duo was able to limit damages but lacked the legs required to reach the leaders.
Talansky led out the short downhill sprint to the line, holding off Atapuma to take the win.
“I’m really happy to pay off the hard work of my teammates,” said Talansky. “The faith my team has put in me despite my difficult spring is humbling.”
Talansky will start the final stage of Tour of Utah with a 22-second advantage over Morton and a 56-second advantage over Costa. The race will end with a downhill run into Park City but stage seven is all about the climbs with 2,403 feet of elevation gained over 125 kilometers.
Empire Pass, the final climb of the race, tops out at over 8,970 feet in elevation with an average grade of 10 percent and pitches that exceed 20 percent.
“We’ve shown all week that we have a really strong team here in Utah,” said Talansky. “I have no doubt that we have the team to keep the jersey.”
Tour of Utah, Top 20 Stage 6 Results
1 Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Drapac 4:47:03
2 Darwin Atapuma (Col) BMC Racing Team
3 Adrien Costa (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman 0:00:31
4 Lachlan David Morton (Aus) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis
5 Rob Britton (Can) Rally Cycling 0:00:46
6 Robbie Squire (USA) Holowesko-Citadel Racing Team 0:01:01
7 Joseph Rosskopf (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:01:12
8 Riccardo Zoidl (Aut) Trek-Segafredo 0:01:22
9 Laurent Didier (Lux) Trek-Segafredo 0:01:37
10 Taylor Eisenhart (USA) BMC Racing Team
11 Joe Dombrowski (USA) Cannondale-Drapac
12 Christopher Horner (USA) Lupus Racing Team
13 Janier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Team Jamis 0:01:41
14 Manuel Senni (Ita) BMC Racing Team 0:02:12
15 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team
16 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Nippo - Vini Fantini 0:02:16
17 Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Axeon Hagens Berman 0:02:44
18 Julien Loubet (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept 0:02:47
19 Jonathan Clarke (Aus) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team 0:02:54
20 Dylan Teuns (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:03:25
Tour of Utah General Classification, Top 10, after Stage 6
1 Andrew Talansky (USA) Cannondale-Drapac 24:04:30
2 Lachlan David Morton (Aus) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis 0:00:22
3 Adrien Costa (USA) Axeon Hagens Berman 0:00:56
4 Darwin Atapuma (Col) BMC Racing Team 0:01:23
5 Rob Britton (Can) Rally Cycling 0:02:09
6 Joseph Rosskopf (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:02:35
7 Taylor Eisenhart (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:03:02
8 Robbie Squire (USA) Holowesko-Citadel Racing Team 0:04:59
9 Joe Dombrowski (USA) Cannondale-Drapac 0:05:35
10 Laurent Didier (Lux) Trek-Segafredo