Cedar City • American Travis McCabe won the first stage of the Tour of Utah after a sprint finish in which the top 10 finishers all recorded the same time of 4 hours, 17 minutes and 15 seconds.
A bike length separated McCabe from second-place Ulises Castillo of Mexico and Colombia’s Edwin Avila.
“Coming into this, I trained really hard. I've had a few months now of just being home and training. Utah was a big goal,” said McCabe, who took advantage of a late race attack by teammate Serghei Tvetcov to claim his third stage win in three years at the Tour of Utah. “Taking that third win was what I was waking up every morning, dreaming about. Getting three wins in three years is pretty awesome.”
Overall race leader Tejay van Garderen of BMC Racing retained the leader’s yellow jersey by finishing safely in the peloton. By capturing the 10-second finish time bonus, McCabe moved up to second overall behind van Garderen, two seconds back. American Joey Rosskopf is in third place overall, a further two seconds down. Neilson Powless is fourth overall and retained the Best Young Rider jersey.
“We were able to keep things relatively under control, it was a hard-fought day,” said van Garderen. “Our plan was to let a breakaway get up the road to stop the attacks. We found a breakaway that we were comfortable with, let them get a little time, establish a chase. We were banking on a couple sprinters' teams to help close the gap in the final so that we didn’t have to do all the work today.”
The start and finish of the stage was at Southern Utah University, and the stage was highlighted by a climb up Parowan Canyon near Cedar Breaks National Monument, topping out at 10,600 feet.
“It was the first time I raced at this altitude, which makes it pretty hard, but I think it was a really nice climb,” said Daan Olivier of the Netherlands of the Category 1 climb, which gains 4,500 vertical feet in 15 miles, with some sections at Brian Head Ski Resort challenging riders with a 15 percent gradient.
Wednesday’s second stage will start and finish in Payson City and last 88.6 miles, including scaling the peak of Mount Nebo.
First stage, 101 miles in Cedar City
1. Travis McCabe, United Healthcare, 4:17.05.
2. Ulises Castillo, Jelly Belly pb Maxxis, same time
3. Edwin Avila, Israel Cycling Academy, same time
4. Brent Bookwalter, BMC, same time
5. Kiel Reigned, Trek-Segafredo, same time
6. Damiano Cima, Nippo-Vini, same time
7. Kyle Murphy, Rally Cycling, same time
8. Simone Ponzi, Nippo-Vini, same time
9. Koen Bouwman, Team Lotto, same time
10. Michael Rice, Hagens Berman, same time
1. Tejay Van Garderen, BMC Racing, 4:23.32.
2. Travis McCabe, United Healthcare, :02.
3. Joey Rosskopf, BMC Racing, :04.
4. Nielsen Powless, Team Lotton, :07.
5. Evan Huffman, Rally Cycling, :10.
6. Pascal Eenkhoorn, Team Lotto, :11.
7. Serghei Tvetcov, United Healthcare, :11.
8. Nathan Brown, EF-Drapac, :11.
9. Koen Bouwman, Team Lotto, :13.
10. Joe Dombrowski, EF-Drapac, :13.