Drummer Boy

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Re: [2.HC] Tour of Utah
« Reply #30 on: August 15, 2019, 04:57 »
I missed it live, but watched the evening broadcast on Fox Sports without a clue as to what had transpired.

That was some sloooooow uphill racing. Add to that the extremely sparse roadside fans (only two or three in view at a time, mostly) and it felt like witnessing a practice run.

Fox Sports has Steve Brown (?) and Todd Gogulski in the booth, who I'm generally a fan of, as he's been there, done that, and offers some very legitimate race analysis. However, it tends to be somewhat humorless and dry—a bit like the end of today's stage atop Powder Mountain.

They did offer an interesting comparison to Alpe d'Huez (of course), after a few testimonials from riders as to how daunting the Powder Mountain finale really is. Gogulski himself did a recon of it for the cameras as well.

By the numbers (or their numbers, at least):
(It's too late for me to remember how to insert a proper table)

Climb Powder Mountain / Alpe d'Huez
Length 13.84 km ----------------13.84 km
Gradient 9%/16% ---------------8%/13%
Elev. Gain 1179 meters ----------1124 meters
Elev. at Top 2694 meters -------1850 meters

The dirt/gravel section at the very end was only a couple of hundred meters, and appeared to be more ceremonial than decisive in any way. But the climb itself proved to be quite decisive.

Peter Stetina #tdftrek launched the first assertive attack with 7.3 km remaining which prompted Joe Dombrowski #ef to follow suit. He was soon joined by Niklas Eg  #tdftrek, James Piccoli #elevate, and Ben Hermans #academy.

It wasn't long before Piccoli and Hermans distanced themselves from the others, only to catch, and immediately pass, Stetina with seeming ease. Piccoli applied the pressure, and it looked like he was in control. In the next breath, the moto reporter relayed that Piccoli had given him "The Look" as he passed by, which conveyed, to him, that Piccoli  "owned" this race. A thought reinforced by Gogulski as he felt that Piccoli would have the better sprint to the line if it came down to it.

But alas, before any further analysis could unfold, Ben Hermans (wearing a black armband in tribute to Bjorg Lambrecht) let it be known the he owned the day, as he distanced his breakaway partner at around 3.5 km to go, and never looked back. The gaps between the final five riders remained around 20 to 30 seconds for each of them, and fairly represented the GC rankings at the end of the day.

Hermans not only took the stage win for his efforts, but secured the Leader's Jersey over Piccoli by 22 seconds in the GC. Previous leader Lawson Craddock #ef was 12th on the stage +3:10, and ended up 9th overall +2:56.

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