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"Ben and Michael Schär were there to climb for Cadel, but in the end, Cadel told Ben to go if he was good and Ben did a really good job," Stewart says

Photo: Sirotti








08.08.2014 @ 14:12 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

BMC went into the first mountain stage of the Tour of Utah with the plan to work for Cadel Evans but the 2011 Tour champion was not strong enough to follow the best. Instead, Ben Hermans surprised by claiming second on the stage and move into third in the overall standings.


BMC Racing Team's Ben Hermans rode to a season-best performance in finishing runner-up to Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp) in Thursday's summit finish at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah.


Hermans said he could not match the accelerations by Danielson and third-place finisher Chris Horner (Lampre-Merida) in the final kilometers of the ascent of Powder Mountain. But climbing at his own pace, he clawed his way back to Horner, then led last year's Vuelta a España winner all the way to the line. "I rode my own tempo," Hermans said.


"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."


Arriving 57 seconds after Danielson – the race's defending champion who took over the race lead – Hermans moved into third overall, behind Horner. But ambitions of a podium placing are a ways off, Hermans said.


"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."

Cadel Evans was the BMC Racing Team's second rider to pedal across the gravel finish line, arriving ninth, 2:47 back of the stage winner, to slide from sixth to ninth overall. The 2009 world road champion said it was disappointing to fall nearly three minutes off the lead, but good to see his teammate move up. "


I came here to train in preparation for the Vuelta a España," Evans said. "If things had gone well, I would have liked to have gone for a result. But in looking at how some of the other guys come here – better prepared and riding much better than me – we see from the results that I am not part of those results. But fortunately Ben is. Compliments to him. He really surprised me today and it was great to see him ride well." 


Evans said he will keep battling.


"For me, this is actually a good sign, just not for this race," he said. "I would have liked to have gotten a better result. But looking toward the Vuelta, it is a good sign."

The BMC Racing Team was active in a fast start to the 168.5-km race, first getting Danilo Wyss and Dylan Teuns in a breakaway, and later Brent Bookwalter and Yannick Eijssen in another move that included pre-race favorite Ivan Basso (Cannondale Pro Cycling).


"We wanted to take pressure off our teammates and put pressure on the other teams," Bookwalter said. "It is unfortunate with the wind – and the break was not super cooperative. I would say we had about half the guys up who were committed to keeping it fast. They kept us us on a pretty short leash. But it was good for our leaders back in the peloton."


BMC Racing Team Sport Director Jackson Stewart said it was nice to see Hermans respond when Evans could not.


"Ben and Michael Schär were there to climb for Cadel, but in the end, Cadel told Ben to go if he was good and Ben did a really good job," Stewart said.



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