Getting there wouldn't be easy – it was all uphill for the first 80 miles, and sprinters Eric Young and Pierrick Naud had the tall task of staying calm and collected on the grinding, low-grade climbs. From the races highest point at over 10,000 feet above sea level, a furious descent led into the finish circuits and a chance for glory for Rally Cycling's sprinters.
Amongst the red rock cliffs the peloton set out for a neutral ride through Zion National Park. Once through the park’s East Gate, the pace picked up quickly with a four riders establishing the day’s breakaway. The break was comprised of Simon Pellaud (IAM Cycling) Jaramillo Diez (UnitedHealthcare), Adrien Costa (Axeon-Hagens Berman) and Matteo Dal-Cin (Silber Pro Cycling).
The quartet built a gap that at one point topped out at just over five minutes halfway through the stage. The team kept the gap within check and with 50 kilometers left in the stage, BMC and Cannondale-Drapac started to chase. The increased pace put Rally Cycling sprinter Eric Young in a spot of bother, and he was left trailing the peloton on the final climb of the day. As the kilometers passed, the gap increased and left he was left with the monumental task of trying to rejoin the peloton.
At the top of the final climb on Bristlecone, the gap was down to 2:35. On the descent, Dal-Cin and Pellaud separated themselves from their breakaway compatriots and maintained their gap over the chasing peloton. As the duo fought off the front, Young closed in on the peloton, but would pay for his efforts in the finale. Entering the three, 4.2-kilometer finishing circuits, the gap to the breakaway was still hovering around 2:30.
In the streets of Cedar City the duo’s lead began to tumble and with 5 kilometers remaining the breakaway was absorbed. On the final lap, several riders tried to go solo off the front, but in the end it was Kris Dal (Silber Pro Cycling) taking the win. Naud crossed the line in ninth, the highest place Rally Cycling rider of the day.
This week in Utah we are highlighting everyday people who love bikes. The Gundersons were spotted in Cedar City.