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Britton fourth in Utah’s queen stage

Britton 11th, Murphy 13th overall

Rally Cycling’s Rob Britton climbed to fourth place on stage five of the Tour of Utah today. The race’s iconic queen stage finished on the Little Cottonwood Canyon climb to Snowbird Resort at 7,700 ft in elevation. The attacks started from the GC contenders on the early slopes of Cottonwood, and from there it was an all-out battle between the race’s top climbers. Rally Cycling alumni Sepp Kuss (Lotto NL Jumbo) attacked in the yellow jersey and Rob Britton, the defending champion, battled for time on the journey to Snowbasin, ultimately finishing fourth.

“I set my own pace for the final six k of the climb after the group fell apart from the attacks and rode myself back into the chase group in the very last couple of k’s,” said Britton. “Going over the top with one k to go, I made a bit of a push and then had just enough to kick in the last 150 meters for fourth.”

The 152 km queen stage to Snowbird Resort has always been the proving ground for Tour of Utah champions. It follows the category one climb of Guardsman’s Pass and regularly sees a reduced peloton of fewer than 30 riders. Kyle Murphy, 5th overall before the stage began and was hoping for a run on Snowbird, suffered an unfortunate crash mid-stage while sitting in fifth on GC that caused him to lose position on the final climb, eventually finishing 3m 31s down.

Murphy composing himself following his crash.

“I grabbed a musette bag with my right hand a bit too high so it swung forward, then back into my right shifter and my bars went sideways and I crashed,” said Murphy. “It’s hard to tell whether or not it affected me. May have just been on a bad day. The best advice I got post-crash was from Danny Pate, ‘just forget that just happened. Forget about it.’”

The day’s breakaway contained Evan Huffman which marked his third major trip up the road in Utah. After being away for over 100 km and collecting vital points in the KOM competition, Huffman was reeled in on the lower slopes of Little Cottonwood Canyon.

Huffman leading the breakaway.

“I felt great today,” said Huffman. “It definitely takes pressure off the team to have me up there. The plan was to get in the break to get over Guardsman ahead of the peloton to either have a shot at a stage result or help Kyle and Rob up Snowbird.”

Sunday’s 126 km finale takes the riders back to Park City and the HC climb of Empire Pass. This will be the final chance for riders to move up on the general classification before the screaming descent into downtown Park City. With the yellow jersey’s grip tightening on the overall, GC contenders will have to attack early to have any hope of wrestling away the overall title.

Stage 5 Results
1 KUSS Sepp Team LottoNL-Jumbo 4:02:32
2 HERMANS Ben Israel Cycling Academy 0:39
3 STETINA Peter Trek – Segafredo 1:18
4 BRITTON Rob Rally Cycling 1:27
5 HAIG Jack Mitchelton-Scott ,,
6 DOMBROWSKI Joe Team EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale ,,
7 CARTHY Hugh Team EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale ,,
8 VILLALOBOS HERNANDEZ Luis Aevolo 1:43
9 BOOKWALTER Brent BMC Racing Team 1:47
10 WOODS Michael Team EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale 2:04

General Classification after Stage 5
1 KUSS Sepp Team LottoNL-Jumbo 5 18:32:00
2 HERMANS Ben Israel Cycling Academy 1:21
3 DOMBROWSKI Joe Team EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale 2:05
4 CARTHY Hugh Team EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale ,,
5 HAIG Jack Mitchelton-Scott 2:07
6 BOOKWALTER Brent BMC Racing Team 2:27
7 VILLALOBOS HERNANDEZ Luis Aevolo 2:33
|8 WOODS Michael Team EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale 2:40
9 SWIRBUL Keegan Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis 3:01
10 STETINA Peter Trek – Segafredo 3:17
11 BRITTON Rob Rally Cycling 3:27
12 POWLESS Neilson Team LottoNL-Jumbo 3:59
13 MURPHY Kyle Rally Cycling 4:08
14 ROSSKOPF Joey BMC Racing Team 4:58
15 TVETCOV Serghei UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team 5:52