Eric Young (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit) sprinted to victory during the 4th Tour of Utah stage with Dion Smith (Hincapie Racing) in 2nd and Jure Kocjan (United Healthcare) in 3rd. MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung had Natnael Berhane mixing it with the fast guys again to finish 13th.
The stage started off well for our African team as Songezo Jim would infiltrate the main break of the day. The South African rider was joined by 6 other riders as they rode clear by 3’30” to the peloton. The main obstacle of the day was the cat 2 climb up Wolf Creek Pass which topped out with still 60km to go.
It was pretty much status quo up until the Wolf Creek Pass with United Healthcare leading the peloton. The break was brought to within 30″ of the peloton and this is where Songezo Jim lost contact with the leaders. Gregory Daniel also seized this opportunity to jump across to the leaders just before the summit and claimed the KOM points.
The 7 new leaders then pushed on toward the finish but United Healthcare and MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung kept them in check in order to have a chance to sprint for the win. The break was caught by 3km to go and in the uphill sprint, Young took it long and it paid off for the American. With Natneal Berhane in 13th, our Eritrean champion is still poised to mount a challenge for the GC.
Jean-Pierre Heynderickx – Sport Director
Today we had Songezo in the break so that was a good start for us. Unfortunately we also lost the KOM jersey today. Daniel attacked on the climb, Johann tried to respond but he didn’t make the gap. The climb wasn’t actually all that hard, but the altitude was intense near 2800m. We prepared the sprint and with 3km to go all was looking very good. In the finale the other teams came round and there was no way through any longer, this can happen. We move forward from today with good opportunities coming in the next stages.