In its first tour since being awarded 2.HC status by the UCI, which placed the race at the same level as the Tour of Qatar, Critérium International, Amgen Tour of California and USA Pro Challenge, the Tour of Utah 2015 began in the north on August 3rd in Logan, Utah.
The 2015 Tour of Utah included…
712 miles/1,145.85 kilometers – second longest course in 11 years
51,442 feet/15,679.5 meters of elevation gain – most climbing of any race in North America
7 stages – second year for full week
10 ski resorts – highest number of ski resorts passed
Extended outside Utah to the Bear Lake region of Idaho
3 new state parks along route – Bear Lake State Park, Antelope Island State Park and Wasatch Mountain State Park
2 courses unveiled for Tour of Utah Women’s Edition: Criterium Classic in Logan and Ogden
Kiel Reijnen (United Healthcare) kicked off the race, winning the first stage in Logan after a rain-soaked day of riding, edging out fellow Boulder riders, Alex Howes (Cannondale-Garmin) and Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing) at the line.
In Taylor Phinney’s first appearance since suffering serious injuries in a crash 62 weeks ago at Nationals, Phinney stepped on the podium.
Throughout the week, the race made visits to Tremonton, Ogden, Antelope Island, and Bountiful, Soldier Hollow, Heber Valley, Salt Lake City, Snowbird and Park City.
Jure Kocjan (Team Smartstop) won the bunch sprint in Ogden and picked up the stage 2 win. Robin Carpenter (Hincapie Racing Team) was second and Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing Team) was third.
With the win, Jure Kocjan took the yellow jersey from Kiel Reijnen, then passed it on to Michael Woods following stage 3. As the race made its way around northern Utah, fans turned out to cheer their favorite team and watch the behind the scenes action.
Joe Dombrowski took over the race lead with stage 6 and held on until the finish line in Park City, winning the overall race for 2015.
Tom Danielson (Cannondale-Garmin) announced Sunday night via Twitter that he has been informed by USADA that he tested positive for a synthetic steroid in an out-of-competition test on July 9.
Danielson was in Logan, Utah to defend his title at the Tour of Utah, which he’d won for the past two years.
Danielson continued on Twitter:
“I spoke with them and my team and I will have to sit out the Tour of Utah as I wait for the B sample as well as look into all the possible ways that could have produced this result.”
“I would never ever take anything like this especially after everything I have gone through the last years. This makes absolutely no sense.”
“I will now, as I wait for the B test, have the supplements I take, tested to see if this is what caused it.”
Slipstream Sports, owners of Team Cannondale-Garmin, issued the following statement:
Tom Danielson notified Slipstream Sports that he was informed by USADA that he has returned an adverse analytical A sample using carbon isotope testing. In accordance with Slipstream Sports’ zero tolerance anti-doping policy, he has been suspended from competition, effective immediately. He awaits the results his B sample. Slipstream respects and will adhere to the process of the anti-doping authorities and will not comment further.
Moreno Hofland (Belkin Pro Cycling) won stage 1 of the Tour of Utah 2014 in Cedar City. Jure Kocjan (Team Smartstop) was 2nd and Andrea Palini (Lampre-Merida) was third.
Hofland, who was riding his first race since suffering 5 broken ribs and a fractured L2 vertebrae from a crash in the last stage of Amgen Tour of California, is the first to wear the overall leader’s jersey and will ride in yellow for stage 2 from Panguitch to Torrey.
“It’s fantastic to win straight away. After my crash, I had to miss several races, which I had to watch on television.
The people here know that I was out for a long time and they’re very enthusiastic. I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time and I’m just super happy to race again. I’m very proud of the team. They did a great job today.”
– Moreno Hofland, Belkin Pro Cycling
Following three circuits through Cedar City, the riders headed out for a day that would include one sprint point, two KOMs and 8,873 FT/2,704.5 M elevation gain along the 113.5 miles / 182.6 km route.
An early breakaway formed soon after leaving Cedar City consisting of Jonathan Clarke (United Healthcare) Adam Phelan (Drapac Pro Cycling), Robin Carpenter (Hincapie Sportswear), Thomas Soladay(Optum p/b Kelly Benefits) and Stephen Leece (Jamis Hagens Berman).
Carpenter took top points at the Parowan intermediate sprint, with Phelan crossing second and Clarke third.
As the peloton crossed about three minutes later, Belkin was visible on the front of the pack, as they were throughout most of the stage.
“Our goal was to win the stage with Moreno today. We wanted no more than five riders in the break, so that we could control the attack and eventually, exactly five men escaped, so that was fine.” Erik Dekker, Belkin Pro Cycling Sports Director
Immediately after leaving Parowan, the riders began the category 1 climb of Cedar Breaks climb to Brian Head. Along the way Solidaydropped back to the main group. reducing the escapee group to four. Carpenter crossed the top first, followed by Phelan and Clarke.
The group next looked to the second KOM of the day at Bristlecone, a category 4 climb where once again Carpenter took top points and then the foursome began the 4000 ft descent back into Cedar City.
11 miles of riding over three circuits awaited the riders as they entered the city limits, with the group of four still holding about a 30 seconds lead over the main field, holding on until they were caught with two laps to go. In a last sprint to the finish, Hofland who managed to grab the victory with Kocjan crossing second and Palini in third.
Stage 2: Panguitch to Torrey
As the riders left Panguitch for the longest stage of the race at 130.7 miles / 210.3 km, they faced 4 KOM climbs and 2 intermediate sprints before they would arrive in Torrey.
By the first KOM at Red Canyon, 13.7 miles / 22 km into the race, Michael Schär (BMC Racing), Jens Voigt (Trek Factory Racing), Ben Day (United Healthcare), Ramiro Rincon (Funvic Brasilinvest), Joey Rosskopf (Hincapie Sportswear), and Darren Lapthorrne (Drapac Professional Cycling) were off the front with just under a minute lead on the peloton.
Within the next 20 miles, the six increased their time gap to nearly seven minutes, but three KOMs were just ahead: the category 4 Grand Staircase, the category 3 Hogsback and finally, the category 1 Boulder Mountain, just 23.6 miles to the finish.
On Hogsback, Schär and Rosskopf sprinted ahead, with the remainder of the breakaway falling back.
As the duo approached Boulder Mountain, Schär surged ahead solo, building a time gap of 30 seconds over Rosskopf.
The peloton fractured as they made their way up to the 9600 ft mountain. Schär crossed the summit with Rosskopf chasing 1 minute 45 seconds behind, Matt Cooke (Jamis Hagens Berman) 3 minutes 45 seconds back and the first group of the peloton sitting 4 minutes 25 seconds behind.
On the descent, Rosskopf & Schär made their way towards the line as the peloton barreled toward them. With 15 km to go, Schär began to suffer debilitating leg cramps but managed to power through the agony.
“The finish line really could not come soon enough. I had a lot of cramps the whole downhill. But then, in the last five kilometers, it got better.
I got some power again and I was on my threshold. But with 500 meters to go, I got a big cramp on my right side. I pushed through it and I didn’t look back any more. I remembered never to look back – to never give them anything.
I gave it all I had to the line. They say if you never try, you never win. I am not a sprinter. I am not a super good climber. I have to win my races from breakaways.”
– Michael Schär, BMC Racing Team
With 4 km to go, the peloton captured Rosskopf, but Schär managed to hold on, crossing the line 2 seconds ahead of the field. Jure Kocjan (SmartStop) finished second and Serghei Tvetcov (Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis) was third.
Kocjan took over the leader’s jersey and will ride tomorrow’s stage 3 from Sandy to Miller Motorsports Park in yellow.
Stage 3: Lehi to Miller Motorsports Park
It was a fairly flat day for the riders, with only one category 4 KOM at Eureka, just before the feed zone.
Six riders formed the breakaway of the day early out of the start: Danny Summerhill (United Healthcare), Darren Lapthorne (Drapac Professional Cycling), Jacob Rathe (Jelly Belly pb Maxxis), Tyler Wren (Jamis Hagens Berman), Daniel Eaton (Bissell Development Team) and Robin Carpenter (Hincapie Sportswear).
Carpenter was the highest ranked in the general classification, starting the day in 9th place just 14 seconds behind race leader, Jure Kocjan(Team Smartstop), creating the greatest threat in the group and causing the peloton, lead by SmartStop, to keep the pace high to keep the situation in check.
Carpenter stayed with the lead group until the KOM point, where he took top points, allowing him to move into the King of the Mountains jersey, and then he fell back to the main group for the remainder of the ride.
100 miles into the race, just before the Tooele sprint point, the gap was just under 2 minutes as the riders battled strong crosswinds. By the intermediate sprint, where Summerhill took first, Rathesecond and Daniel third, the gap was down to 1 minute 30 seconds as it continued to fall.
As the riders reached the racetrack, the five on the front held a 20-second advantage but were quickly absorbed as the riders navigated the three laps of twists and turns on the 3.6-kilometer race track.
“It was really wide, with lots of corners, so the peloton moved differently than in a normal sprint. It was crazy.”
Cadel did an amazing job so I had perfect position. With 250 meters to go, the sprint started and I was on the right side, so I was completely in the wind. It is a bit disappointing because I had hoped for a podium place today.”
– Rick Zabel, BMC Racing
At 3 km to the United Healthcare blue train controlled the front of the field, with Belkin closely following.
On the last lap, Belkin pulled to the front to set up for their sprinter, Moreno Hofland, for the sprint.
“Again the lead-out was perfect. With two laps to go, United-Healthcare was in the front. We were able to profit from that. When we entered the final lap, we moved up next to them and we accelerated and left them behind. Thanks to Dennis van Winden, Jetse Bol and Robert Wagner, I was able to start the final corner in perfect position.”
– Moreno Hofland, Belkin Pro Cycling
Hofland took the win, with Andrea Palini (Lampre-Merida) coming in second and Eric Young (Optum p/b Kelly Benefits) in third.
Jure Kocjan (Team Smartstop) retained the oveall leader’s jersey by finishing sixth on the stage. Kocjan continues to hold a two-second lead over BMC Racing Team’s Michael Schär and an 8 seconds margin over Serghei Tvetcov (Jelly Belly presented by Maxxis).
“The guys were awesome today. They led on the front of the peloton from the start and they worked hard. The crosswinds made the stage much more difficult than it looked at first, so we just stayed at the front.
I just stayed all the time at the front of the peloton and just controlled the pace. Tomorrow’s stage for sure is very difficult. The pure climbers will probably show their legs.”
– Jure Kocjan, Team SmartStop
Stage 4: Ogden to Powder Mountain
As the riders made their way to the start line on the main street in Ogden, they knew when they crossed the finish line 104.7 miles later that, with all probability, the general classification would be reshuffled and the yellow jersey would be on the back of a new overall leader.
The stage 4 route took the riders out of Ogden, up the North Ogden Divide, three times around Pineview Reservoir, back into Ogden, once again up the North Ogden Divide, and finally up the beyond category rated Powder Mountain finish. The attacks began the moment the field left the neutral zone, and by five minutes into the race, eight riders, then eleven, were off the front, but quickly brought back in.
Jens Voigt (Trek Factory Racing) and Dylan Teuns (BMC Racing) pulled away just before the first KOM of day at the category 2 North Ogden Divide, managing to build a 25 seconds gap before KOM leader, Robin Carpenter (Hincapie Sportswear) gave chase.
Teuns crossed the summit first, Voigt second, and Carpenter followed in third.
Just past the Eden intermediate sprint point where Teuns crossed first, Voigt second and Carpenter third, the threesome were caught. On the second pass through the sprint point, Ivan Basso crossed first, Andrea Vaccher (Lampre-Merida) second, and Luca Dodi third. With no sprint points available at the finish, the result ensured Moreno Hofland (Belkin Pro Cycling) would remain in the sprinter’s jersey another day.
The riders made their way through Ogden, then once again tackled the category 2 North Ogden Divide KOM where Alex Diniz (Funvic Brasilinvest) took the top points, Phillip Gaimon (Garmin Sharp) was second, and Tom Danielson (Garmin Sharp) was third. At the base of Powder Mountain, Chris Horner (Lampre-Merida), Winner Anacona (Lampre-Merida) and Danielson pulled away from a small lead group.
With 4 km to go, Danielson had a 10 seconds lead on Horner and by 2 km, he’d increased the gap to 40 seconds. The peloton was splintered, with riders making their way up the mountain in groups of two or three.
As Danielson passed the 500 meters sign, he was barely breaking a sweat as he headed toward the finish and the yellow jersey.
Danielson crossed the finish line solo, 57 seconds ahead of Ben Hermans (BMC Racing) and Horner, with a commanding victory that earned him the stage win and the yellow jersey. The remainder of the field trailed in over the next thirty minutes.
“Winning a stage like that after your teammates gut themselves for you like that, there’s no better feeling in the world. We were under a lot of pressure. We have a young team here and lot of guys who just came here from the Tour. The team really stepped up today.
Hats off to the Tour of Utah for putting together a really complex stage, and throwing a lot at us.”
– Tom Danielson, Garmin Sharp
“I rode my own tempo,. It is at altitude, so you don’t want to go over your threshold. So I pulled with Chris as fast as I could to keep the gap as low as a possible.
We will see day-by-day,” he said. “This is only the fourth day and we still have three more to go. Tomorrow is normally an easy stage on paper. But the last two stages are really hard and a lot different from today. Today was really steep on one final climb. The other two stages are harder with other climbs. So we will see.”
– Ben Hermans, BMC Racing Team
Tour of Utah 2014 Stage 5: Evanston to Kamas
Stage 5 began in Evanston, Wyoming, the first time the Tour of Utah had ventured outside of the state of Utah.
After the challenging stage 4 course, stage 5 gave the riders a break from the mountains with only one category 2 climb at Bald Mountain Pass and two sprints along the 101.4 mile / 163.1-kilometer route.
News came just as the 108 riders left Evanston that Moreno Hofland (Belkin Pro Cycling), the winner of stages 1 and 3, abandoned the race due to illness. The favorite for the stage, Hofland’s absence would open the stage up to a wider grouper of potential victors.
With Hofland vacating the race, Team SmartStop’s Jure Kocjan moved to the top of the sprint competition. Chris Horner (Lampre-Merida) started stage 5, but did so suffering from a bronchitis infection and stated he was unsure how long he will remain in the race.
Soon after the riders left the 5 miles neutral section out of Evanston, 10 riders moved off the front but were reabsorbed within 4 kilometers. 15 kilometers into the race, Gregory Brenes (Jamis Hagens Berman) and Gavin Mannion (Garmin Sharp) crashed. Mannion worked his way back into the race but, Brennes reportedly was taken to the hospital by ambulance.
Eight riders moved off the front, building a 20 seconds advantage. The eight included: Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing Team), Jens Voigt (Trek Factory Racing), Jeff Louder (United Healthcare), Alexander Candelario (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies), Serghei Tvetkov (Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis), Joey Rosskopf (Hincapie Sportswear), and Oscar Clark (Hincapie Sportswear).
Once again, the winds became a factor in the stage, splitting the breakaway. As a result, only Bookwalter, Clark and Louder remained off the front as the others fell back to the main field. At the first sprint point at Bear River 28.2 miles / 45.4 km into the race, the breakaway had a 2-minute advantage over the main field as Bookwalter took first, Clark second and Louder third.
As the riders approached the only climb of the day, Bald Mountain Pass topping out at 10,759 feet, Jens Voigt (Trek Factory Racing) and Kirk Carlsen (Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis) joined the front three, followed by Robin Carpenter (Hincapie Sportswear).
The six reached the summit in a light drizzle, 3 minutes 10 seconds ahead of the peloton. Carpenter picked up the top KOM points, Voigt was second, and Carlsen third. With 43 miles to go, the time gap hit a maximum of 5 minutes before it began to decline.
At the bottom of the descent, the riders passed the second intermediate sprint of the day on their first trip through Kamas, where Carpenter crossed first, Clark second and Bookwalter third. The peloton passed the point 2 minutes 20 seconds later.
Despite two crashes in the main field, with 10 km to go, everyone was back up and riding.
“We took a left turn and because of the nervous peloton, I got pushed out of the corner. I don’t know what happened. My bike got blocked and I crashed.
I wanted to start again but I had to switch bikes. Fortunately, the peloton waited and my teammates took me to the front just in time before a gravel road, so that was good.”
– Ben Hermans, BMC Racing Team
The final remnants of the breakaway, Voigt, Carlsen, and Bookwalter were caught with 3 km to go. As the riders headed for the sprint finish in downtown Kamas, Optum made a surge, launching Eric Young toward the line where he took the win.
Jure Kocjan (Team SmartStop) was second and United Healthcare’s Kiel Reijnen was third.
“It’s totally unbelievable for me, personally, and for the team as well. It’s really nice. We brought some sprinters here, and we wouldn’t be happy without a stage win. So to come away with this, we’re pretty happy.”
– Eric Young, Optum p/b Kelly Benefits
Tour of Utah 2014 Stage 6: Salt Lake City to Snowbird
The Queen stage of the Tour of Utah began in Salt Lake City, then took the riders on a 107.2 mile / 172.6-kilometer route that included three KOM points and 2 sprints before finishing on the fourth KOM of the day, a beyond-category climb to Snowbird Ski Resort.
Tom Danielson (Garmin Sharp) started the day 57 seconds in front of Chris Horner (Lampre-Merida) and Ben Hermans (BMC Racing), and, as one of the best altitude climbers in the world, Danielson was looking to lock up the race by the end of the day.
Jens Voigt (Trek Factory Racing) launched an attack as the group left the neutral zone with Lucas Euser (United Healthcare) following.
The duo stayed together until 3 km from the first KOM point on the category 4 Little Mountain, when Voigt pulled away solo.
Michael Schär (BMC Racing Team), Kiel Reijnen (United Healthcare) gave chase and were soon joined by Janier Acevedo (Garmin Sharp), BMC Racing’s Danilo Wyss & Yannick Eijssen, Martin Keizer (Belkin Pro Cycling), Riccardo Zoidl (Trek Factory Racing), Ben Jacques-Maynes (Jamis-Hagen Berman), Joey Rosskopf (Hincapie Sportswear), James Oram (Bissell Development Team), Travis McCabe (Team SmartStop) and Ruben Zepuntke (Bissell Development Team).
Cameron Wurf (Cannondale) and Luis Davila (Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis) soon formed a second chase group. At the first KOM, Voigt took top points, Rosskopf crossed second, and Euser was third. Euser fell back to the first chase group, and 21 km into the race, Voigt remained on the front solo, 30 seconds ahead of the first chase group, 1 minute 5 seconds of the second group and 2 minutes 25 seconds in front of the peloton.
Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) attacked, joining Wurf, while Davila fell back to the main field. At the second KOM, a category 3 climb of Big Mountain, Voigt crossed first, Rosskopf second, and Zepuntke third. Evans caught the first chase group just past the first intermediate sprint at East Canyon, where Voigt crossed first, Reijnen second and McCabe third.
The front group caught Voigt with 124 km to go, and with a 2 minute 45 seconds gap to the peloton. At the second intermediate sprint in Park City, McCabe passed first, Reijnen second and Schär third and the gap had grown to 4 minutes 45 seconds.
As the group began the climb of Guardsman Pass, a light rain began to fall and Evans turned it up a notch, setting a pace that crumbled the breakaway, reducing the group to Evans, Euser, Rosskopf and Ziodl. At the Guardsman Pass summit, Rosskopf crossed first, Euser second and Evans third.
Approaching the last climb of the day to Snowbird Resort, Evans and Euser showed frustration with Zoidl who was not contributing to the breakaway group. With 7.5 km to go, Winner Anacona (Lampre-Merida) and Wilco Kelderman (Belkin Pro Cycling) attacked. Race leader, Tom Danielson (Garmin Sharp) gave chase, with Chris Horner (Lampre-Merida) and Ilia Koshevoy (Lampre-Merida) in tow.
With 5 km to go, Koshevoy lost contact with the Danielson group, while Kelderman bridged to them. Off the front, Euser attacked with 2 kilometers remaining in the stage but, by a .5 kilometer, it was apparent that this would not be his day.
Rosskopf attacked, but it didn’t hold as Evans passed him with 200 meters to go, then sailed across the finish line for the win.
“We had a good, aggressive plan for the whole team. Michi and Danilo and Yannick really played the plan to a ‘T’ getting in the first move, and then I managed to get across to it. We put some pressure on Garmin, which was the main goal of our plan.”
– Cadel Evans, BMC Racing
Danielson & Horner, after battling up the mountain, crossed the finish line together, both 14 seconds behind Evans.
Stage 7: Park City to Park City
Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) doubled up with a stage 7 win at the Tour of Utah 2014 in Park City. Wilco Kelderman (Belkin Pro Cycling) was second and Winner Anacona (Lampre-Merida) was third.
“Today was a surprise, actually. After yesterday’s effort, I didn’t have too high of expectations for myself. No one I know that hasn’t seen this race, doesn’t want to come to Utah because of the beautiful scenery. I wish the event the best of luck in the future. For us as riders, to come here, train in good weather at altitude, it’s also really good.”
– Cadel Evans, BMC Racing Team
Tom Danielson (Garmin Sharp) won the overall race 52 seconds ahead of Chris Horner (Lampre-Merida) and 1 minute 43 seconds in front of Winner Anacona (Lampre-Merida).
“I knew I had good form coming in. It’s really special to come across the line with so many fans. So much work goes into it. All of us athletes have been through so much, so when it all comes together like it did this week, we all understand what it means. It is special.” Tom Danielson, Garmin Sharp
The 10th edition of the Tour of Utah begins Monday in Cedar City, Utah, with a week that includes 753.8 miles/1,213 kilometers and 57,863 feet/17,636.6 meters of elevation gain, before it concludes on Sunday the 10th of August in Park City, Utah.
To kick off the week, a group of elite cyclists and tour officials met with the press for a preview of racing and to discuss the race that has earned the name, “America’s Toughest Stage RaceTM.”
In attendance were three former Grand Tour winners: Ivan Basso (Cannondale), 2006 winner of the Giro d’Italia, Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team) winner of the Tour de France 2011, and Chris Horner (Lampre-Merida), last year’s Vuelta a España winner.
Tour of Utah 2013 winner, Tom Danielson (Garmin Sharp) and fan favorite, Jens Voigt (Trek Factory Racing), who has announced this will be his final year of racing, rounded out the elite panel that discussed their families, careers and the upcoming week.
Also in attendance were five rising stars of cycling, Michael Torckler (Team SmartStop), Tanner Putt (Bissell Development Team), Lucas Euser (United Healthcare), Jai Crawford (Drapac Pro Cycling) and Jesse Anthony (Optum p/b Kelly Benefits).
Discussing the race, its ten years of success, and the popularity of cycling in Utah were Steve Miller, President of Miller Sports Properties, Brad Petersen, Utah Office of Outdoor Recreation, and Kym Buttschardt of the Utah Office of Tourism.
Disclaimer: The content & opinions expressed are entirely our own. We received no compensation for this article. Reviews are opinion only and Chasing Light Media accepts no responsibility for how the information is used.
Ever wonder what it’s like to ride in one of the cars on the course of a pro cycling race?
The cycling photography aspect of Chasing Light Media provides opportunities to view pro cycling races from numerous vantage points, including within the peloton. One of the most frequent questions we get, is what riding with the peloton is like, so here’s a recap of a typical day…
A carefully choreographed caravan
A pro cycling race is much more than some guys on bikes riding at high rates of speed on a given day.
The race route is carefully planned months in advance and requires the efforts of hundreds, if not thousands, of people to ensure the race is both safe for riders and enjoyable for fans. As each race day dawns, the roads are closed to the public, as a mix of motorcycles and cars travel amongst the 100+ bike riders, carefully weaving in and out of the cyclists to support them and provide race coverage for fans worldwide.
Who’s in those cars & on those motorcycles?
A variety of people.
First, there are the organizers of the race. That includes race officials, marshalls and race operations personnel that ride throughout the race ensuring the riders are safe and the course is as secure as possible.
Next, communications. Race radio keeps everyone updated on the status throughout the race. Information continually flows over the radio with information on riders, locations and current conditions. An example of an update… “The lead group is 40 seconds off the front and includes 11 riders. The riders are 51 5 – 1, 91 9 – 1, 45 4 – 5…”
Team support cars. Each team has a couple of support cars carrying extra bikes and supplies to assist their riders on the course with flats, broken chains, etc.
VIPs. Let’s not forget that it takes money to support a race. VIPs pay up to a reported $10,000 to ride in a car during certain races.
Press. The motorcycle photographers roam in and out of the riders and along the route to get shots as the race progresses. We were in one of the media cars that carries the press during the race.
And, there are other vehicles, including medical support.
So, what do you do in the car?
We start out ahead of the peloton. Typically, a few miles out, we stop and wait along the side of the road for the riders to “catch up,” then, when they get close, we proceed out ahead of the group.
We ride along, listening for news on race radio, waiting for the breakaway. Just before the sprint, we were notified that we could fall into the gap (area between the breakaway and the peloton) after the sprint.
Our driver stops periodically along side of the road so we can get shots of the breakaway as they pass. We then start again, this time in between the break and the main group. As a chase forms, the process is repeated, then we fall in behind those riders.
The first climb
The route on this day of the final stage of the Tour of Utah was fairly simple – flat with two huge climbs.
On the first climb, the breakaway fractured with gaps forming between the riders as they made their way up the 2.15-miles with up to 22 percent grades. It was hot and the riders were suffering as we passed them on the climb.
After going over the top and the first King of the Mountain (KOM) point, we passed the feed zone, and then we flew down the winding descent, just ahead of the helicopter.
A race back to the finish line
Now ahead of the riders, with just the final pass waiting between us and the finish line, we race ahead to get to the finish line before the riders.
On this day, we arrived back in Park City just about the time the first of the riders went over the pass and began their descent into town. Jumping out of the car at the finish line, we took our places on the course with the other photographers and about 10 minutes later, the riders hit town and race to the finish line.