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With a powerful sprint, McCabe easily beat Reijnen and Haedo in the bunch sprint on stage 4 of the Tour of Utah to take the second win for Holowesko; Morton retained the overall lead

Photo: Sirotti














04.08.2016 @ 23:57 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Travis McCabe (Holowesko) made it four in a row for the continental teams at the Tour of Utah when he emerged as the strongest in the bunch sprint on stage 4 of the American race. Having positioned himself well in the chaotic finale, he turned out to be much faster than anyone else, easily holding off Kiel Reijnen (Trek) and Sebastian Haedo (Jamis) to take the second stage win for his Holowesko team. Lachlan Morton (Jelly Belly) finished safely in the peloton and so retained the overall lead.


In 2014, the cycling world became familiar with the name of Travis McCabe when the American talent won the Winston-Salem Cycling Classic and was part of a major coup when he finished second behind teammate Eric Marcitte at the American Championships. Since then, he has gradually developed into one of the leading domestic sprinters on the American scene.


The 2016 season has been the big breakthrough for McCabe who was second in the Philadelphia Cycling Classic and won stages in both the Joe Martin Stage Race and the Tour of the Gila. That made him one of the favourites for the sprints in this week’s Tour of Utah whose hilly courses are tailor-made for a strong rider like McCabe who is most comfortable in tough races.


McCabe was already close in stage 2 when he won the bunch sprint for third behind his winning teammate Robin Carpenter and this made him confident that he would be able to take the biggest win of his career in today’s fourth stage which was expected to be the final opportunity for the sprinters. He didn’t disappoint and after his team had done an aggressive race, he was ready to take over in the finale where he turned out to be clearly the fastest, taking a fourth win for the continental teams in the 2.HC race.


After yesterday’s tough mountain stage, the riders were back in flatter terrain on stage 4. The 154km between Im Flash and Kearns didn’t have a single categorized climb but that didn’t mean that they were flat. In fact, it was up and down almost all day and there was barely a single metre of flat roads. In the end, they did three laps of a 6.4km circuit that included a short, steep climb before the riders descended to the final 1500m which were only very slightly uphill.


There were no non-starters when the peloton gathered on another brutally hot day in Utah and as it has been the case in every stage so far, there were lots of attacks straight from the gun. After a few kilomeres of attacking, Danny Pate (Rally), Matteo Dal-Cin (Silber), Barry Miller (Lupus) and Hayden McCormick (ONE) managed to get a small gap and they worked hard to extend their advantage. However, the peloton was not content with the situation and it was all back together at the 6km mark.


After a few more attacks, Alexander Cataford (Silber) surged clear in a solo move but as he didn’t get any company, that move was neutralized too. Eddie Dunbar (Axeon) was the next to get a small advantage but after 15km of fast racing, no one had managed to create a decisive gap.


A big group briefly escaped before Dylan Teuns (BMC) tried to get clear. Tanner Putt (Unitedhelathcare) was also active but it was Joe Lewis (Holowesko) who finally seemed to make the difference.


Lewis pressed on alone before he was joined by Matthew Busche (Unitedhelathcare), Eddie Dunbar (Axeon), Nicolae Taovitchii (Lupus), Hayden McCormick (ONE) and Danny Pate (Rally). Those six riders got an advantage of around 10 seconds after 25km of racing but the race hadn’t settled yet. There were lots of attempts to bridge across and especially BMC were keen to be part of the action.


Finally, the peloton let Nicola Bagioli (Nippo-Vini Fantini) and Luis Romero Amaran (Jamis) escape and then they slowed completely down. While they took a breather after the hectic start, the chasers worked hard to close a 15-second gap.


The gap went out to more than two minutes before Lachlan Morton’s Jelly Belly team gathered their troops on the front, keeping the situation under control. Meanwhile, the front group opted to wait for the two chasers, knowing that they had made it into the day’s move.


The junction was made and the group worked well together to push the gap out to 3 minutes before Busche won the first intermediate sprint ahead of Pate and Tanovitchii. However, Busche was sitting just 4.07 behind Morton on GC and this forced Jelly Belly to ride hard. Hence, the gap had already been reduced to 2.50 when they hit the final 110km.


While the escapees worked well together, Jordan Cheyne, Alexandr Braico and Joshua Berry worked hard for Jelly Belly to keep the gap between 2.30 and 3.00 for several kilometres. They got some welcome help from Julien Bernard (Trek) who hit the front with less than 90km to go to try to prepare a sprint win for Kiel Reijnen.


Ten kilometres later, IAM also put Marcel Aregger on the front in their quest to get a sprint win with David Tanner and together with Bernard and the three Jelly Belly riders, he increased the pace. As they hit the final 70km, the gap had been reduced to 2 minutes. Meanwhile, Busche picked up more bonus seconds y winning the final intermediate sprint ahead of Tanovitchii and Dunbar.


Riccardo Zoidl (Trek) joined forces with his teammate Bernard as the gap stabilized around the 2-minute mark during the next 15km. Then the chase was given even more firepower as the Silber team of stage 1 winner Kris Dahl put teammates Cataford, Nigel Ellsay and David Drouin on the front to work with Jelly Belly, Trek and IAM who had also asked Simo Pellaud to contribute. Meanwhile, defending champion Joe Dombrowski worked his way back to the peloton following a puncture.


With 50km to, the gap was down to 1.15 and it had dropped to just 45 seconds ten kilometres where Jontahan Fumeaux (IAM) had also come forward to take his share of the pace-making duties. Hence, Jelly Belly could take a back seat and let Silber, Trek and IAM to do the work.


With the gap down to less than 40 seconds, the escapees started to attack each other and it was Dunbar who managed to get away. Pate, Busche and McCormick joined him but Bagioli, Tanovitchii, Romero and Lewis were left behind. They briefly tried to get back but soon sat up to wait for the peloton.


The new front group was working better together and they managed to stabilize the gap at 40 seconds as the chase work was now left to Fumeaux, Bernard, Zoidl and the three Silber riders. They were riding fast and so Robin Carpenter (Holowesko) had to spend quite some energy to get back when he suffered a puncture with 30km to go. A little later, his teammate Lewis who had spent the day in the break had similar bad luck.


As the peloton approached the first passage of the line, there was a huge fight for position and this automatically made for a faster pace. Fortuneo-Vital Concept were active but it was Trek that took control, with Bernard and Zoidl leading the bunch across the line les than 15 seconds behind the front quartet.


With the peloton breathing down his neck, Busche made a solo attack. Pate sat up immediately and McCormick and Dumbar soon gave up too. However, they had barely been caught before the attacking started again and a small group of attackers soon bridged the gap to Busche.


Chad Beyer (Lupus) had started the attacking and he went straight past Busche to start a solo move. Elie Gesbert (Fortuneo-Vital Concept) joined him and the pair soon got a small advantage.


The attacking continued behind the two leaders and a small chase group formed as they approached the finish for the second time. As they got closer to the front duo, Gesbert attacked and he was the first rider to start the second lap with a small advantage over both Beyer and the chase group.


While Silber and Jamis started to chase hard in the peloton, Gesbert built a 20-second advantage and Beyer fell back to the chase group. Gesbert also quickly waited for the group which included Janez Brajkovic, Tanner Putt (Unitedhealthcare), Carpenter (Holowesko), Phil Gaimon (Cannondale), Joey Rosskopf (BMC), Peter Stetina (Trek), Damianu Cunego (Nippo), Ulises Castillo (Jelly Belly), Pierrick Naud (Rally), Aregger (IAM), Matteo Dal-Cin (Silber) and Beyer.


The group worked well together to extend their advantage to 30 seconds before disaster struck for Putt who was one of the fastest riders in the group as he punctured out of the move. Moments later, the group suddenly stopped cooperating and so the gap melted away in a matter of seconds.


As soon as the group was brought back, Naud and Gaimon went again and this time they were joined by Daniel Eaton (Unitedhealthcare) and Thomas Vaubourzeix (Lupus). They crossed the line to stat the final lap with a minimal advantage of a few seconds as Trek were again leading the chase. Meanwhile, Cannondale lost their fast ride as Alberto Bettiol had a chain problem.


Vaubourzeix was the first rider to sit up and as Silber gathered their entire team on the front, it all came back together with 5km to go. As soon as the catch was made, Gesbert went again and this time Ben King (Cannondale) followed the talented French climber.


King and Gesbert didn’t get much of an advantage and Silber shut it down almost immediately. However, they blew up when Dylan Teuns (BMC) made an immediate counterattack and the young Belgian managed to get a small advantage while Rob Squire and an Axeon rider gave chase.


Cannondale hit the front with Andrew Talansky and he brought both the two chasers and Teuns back as they entered the final 3km. The American kept riding on the front with teammate Jonathan Dibben on his wheel, working for Alex Howes for the sprint.


Dibben took over with 2.3km to go but the Cannondale rider couldn’t maintain the front position as chaos reigned. Manuel Senni (BMC) and Silber tried to take control but it was a ONE rider who was first through the final turn just before the flamme rouge.


A Holowesko rider took a short turn and then a Rally rider was next before Trek hit the front with Eugenio Alafaci who did the lead-out for Kiel Reijnen who was sitting in third behind Travis McCabe. However, it was too early and when he swung off, the pace went down and nobody could take control.


Daniel Jaramillo (Unitedhealthcare) tried to launch a long sprint and briefly opened a small gap but when the sprinters launched their effort, he was unable to hold the faster guys off. McCabe turned out to be in a class of his own and he easily passed all of his rivals to take a comfortable win ahead of Kiel Reijnen and Sebastian Haedo.


Lachlan Morton finished safely in the bunch and so retained the overall lead and his 7-second advantage over Adrien Costa (Axeon). He faces a tougher stage tomorrow where the riders will tackle 186km from Antelope Island State Park to Bountiful. After 70 flat kilometres, the riders will tackle the climbs of North Ogden Divide and Trappers Loop in quick succession before they head along flat roads to the difficult finale. Here they will pass close to the finish before going up the final category 3 climb for the first time. It is followed by one lap of a 14.6km circuit that includes the climb just 11km from the finish. The climb averages 10% over 2.1km and from the top it is slightly downhill all the way to the finish, meaning that it could be a day for reduced bunch sprint, a late attack or a long-distance breakaway.



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