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"At one and half kilometers to go I attacked. It looked good at first but then they caught me. After that I had nothing left - I have to say I am happy with third.”

RICCARDO ZOIDL

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TOUR OF UTAH

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TREK - SEGAFREDO

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10.08.2014 @ 13:26 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Having attacked too early in the first mountain stage, Riccardo Zoidl made up for his mistake in yesterday's queen stage of the Tour of Utah. The Austrian rode a splendid race in the big breakaway that decided the stage and ended up taking third on the day.

 

Maybe it was too much coffee at breakfast. Maybe it was from the lack of oxygen in Utah. Or perhaps, it's simply that Jens Voigt is not actually ready to slow down at all – at least not until the words  ‘officially retired’ have been stamped to his résumé.

 

Whatever the reason, when the flagged dropped Jens Voigt was the first rider to shoot out of the peloton. Again. Initially he had company, but soon he found himself alone and  leading the race - this time in the hardest stage of the week-long event.

 

Although Voigt did not last out front, he did initiate a flurry of action behind to create the day's key breakaway of 15 riders, with teammate Riccardo Zoidl making the selection.

 

“I asked Jens to keep Riccardo in his wheel," sports director Alain Gallopin said. "Later, I asked him to wait for the peloton because it did not make any sense to waste his energy today; he is better to keep it for the last day. It was enough for us to have Riccardo in the front – that was our plan, and that was perfect.”

 

It was a dangerous breakaway containing four BMC teammates, including overall favorite Cadel Evans, who showed impressive strength to bridge a few minutes gap into the leading group. The pressure was clearly on Garmin-Sharp, and the stage became a long, grueling game of pursuit.

 

Garmin eventually thwarted off the risk: race leader Tom Danielson was in spitting distance of the last four riders from the breakaway – including Zoidl - in the final kilometers. 

 

Sensing an imminent catch, Zoidl went to the front of the breakaway quartet and upped the pace. Then, with just over a kilometer remaining, he launched an attack.  Zoidl opened a gap and it looked promising. But Cadel Evans and Joey Rosskopf (Hincapie Sportswear Development) reacted, and then Rosskopf countered. 

 

Cunningly Evans positioned himself second wheel in the downhill finish and easily came around Rosskoph to take the win. Zoidl finished seven seconds later for third.

 

“I think two days ago when Riccardo made the attack in the second to last climb, it was a big mistake," Gallopin said. "He exploded, and could not recover. Although he is not quite back to 100% form, he is okay, and today the plan was to have him in the break. First Jens was alone, then there was a large breakaway, and a big fight from BMC.

 

"For Riccardo it was a good result. I think he may be able to win something in Colorado. We did not need to work much in the break, but after, when we saw the race was coming back from behind, we participated again. We did the minimum that we had to do.”

 

“Today actually started badly for me," Zoidl said. "After 10k I was in the break and then I had a stupid crash. I caught back, thankfully. In the break Jens and I could stay calm since BMC had four guys there. On the second to last climb it was a really tough pace and that made the selection of four.

 

"On the final climb it looked like we were about to be caught, so I made a hard tempo from three kilometers to go. At one and half kilometers to go I attacked. It looked good at first but then they caught me. After that I had nothing left – I have to say I am happy with third.”

 

There was no doubt the 172.5-kilometer queen stage to the Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort lived up to its hype: exhilarating tactics, taxing mountain climbs, and a long, nail-biting battle to the bitter end.

 

But when the dust had settled a status quo remained in the top GC standings.

 

Matthew Busche ended stage six with another superb climb, finishing 12th (+1’28”) and moved into 10th place in the overall (+4’10”).  Clément Chevrier was next to cross the line in 24th (+3’50”), enough to keep him in the blue Best Young Rider jersey for another day.

 

“For Matthew and myself we just had to follow and do the best we could in the last climb," Chevrier said. "It was easier than yesterday’s climb but I was dropped at seven or eight kilometers to go when Kelderman attacked. I kept the young jersey, but I am a little disappointed. I would have prefered to finish a little more in the front and to help Matthew more in the last part of the climb.”

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