Today had the potential to be far more chaotic that it turned out to be. 200km, 35 degrees, open exposed roads and the hint of wind had most guys a little unsure of how the day would play out. On paper the South Jordan stage of the Tour of Utah was one for the sprinters but it sure wasn’t without some drama.I had to sound like a broken record, but again for the third road stage the break took well north of an hour to finally roll away. Once again the perfect mix was not having a BMC, UHC or Rally jersey in it, despite their guys all having a crack at some point, including the yellow jersey. I had a small hope that something would roll easy after the long 8.4km neutral section, but once again it played to script. With zero chance of shade and the tarmac close to spontaneous combustion being that hot, it made for a rough start to the day. As mentioned the wind was up, but not enough to wreck pure havoc with the bunch on what was the flattest day of the whole week. We all gave a mighty effort in rolling with moves, but in the end we missed it. Very disappointing for sure. There were some very desperate late attempts to bridge, as quite literally the bigger teams blocked the road from edge to edge. On guy forced through a non existing gap past Rally, almost causing a crash that would have taken down the yellow jersey in the process.
Once the break had gone my role for the day switched to taking over bottle duty. For those who are unaware on how we keep ourselves hydrated during a bike race, it’s done one of two ways. The first, is designated feed zones along the route, where team staff will stand by the side of the road and hand up bottles to the riders as we zip past. Sounds simple, but often is not, based on the fact that everyone else is trying to do the same thing at the same time. Second method, is for one rider to roll back into the following caravan of cars behind the race. Here they will ride beside the window of their team car and bottles are handed over by the driver. How many? As many as you can stuff down the back, front and anywhere else in the jersey to take back with you and give to your team mates. Today being so darn hot, many trips were made by most of us but either way it was a day where you couldn’t drink enough.
We got word over race radio the break started to splinter with around 50km to go. The gap was pretty well managed by Rally all day, the biggest gap I saw was maybe five and a half minutes. Once there was just two of the original six left, the sprinters teams smelled blood and it was the Israel Academy that did some solid work in the last 30km to really nail that gap back down. The stage finish was back in South Jordan, and was two laps of a 5.6km circuit that was mostly flat. Once again they were relatively wide roads that made for a real mad dog finish. We perhaps didn’t execute the best plan in the closing kilometers but Steve was out best finisher in 11th. Decent but not what we’re chasing for this week.
Tomorrow is a really dynamics stage, especially towards the end with two hard finishing circuit in Cortlan’s home town of Bountiful. We’ll be looking to improve on our mistakes today and give it another crack. It’s going to be other scorching hot one again, upwards of 30 degrees, but the multiple sessions in the sauna to prepare I feel like I’m dealing with heat pretty well.
Thanks for reading.