Boulder’s Tommy Danielson wins Tour of Utah
PARK CITY, Utah — Boulder’s Tommy Danielson will take more than momentum into next week’s USA Pro Challenge in Colorado. He’ll also take the Tour of Utah title with him.
Danielson, riding for Garmin-Sharp, won the general classification title Sunday when he finished third in the sixth and final stage of the Tour of Utah, won by Spain’s Francisco Macebo.
He had moved into position for a possible GC crown in Saturday’s fifth stage, when he was second in a late duel with Chris Horner, a former teammate.
The difference-maker for Danielson ended up being the final climb over Empire Pass. He left nothing to chance, breaking away from the peloton at the start of the climb and creating a large enough time gap to give himself a cushion on the descent into Park City.
Danielson calculated the risk of burnout from pushing so hard early in the climb. He kept a steady pace to the top to position himself for the overall win.
“I knew that the climb was suited well to me — being steep like that for a long time and at altitude,” Danielson said. “So, I knew I had to take everyone to their limits, including myself, and try to get away at the bottom.”
Danielson used a similar breakaway last year when he won the Queen Stage of the USA Pro Challenge, pulling away on Cottonwood and Independence passes to the finish in downtown Aspen.
Creating a healthy distance between himself and Horner became Danielson’s main objective once time to make the final climb arrived.
“I just knew we had to make it super hard if I had a shot against Chris,” Danielson said. “I knew he was riding really well from what I saw the day before.”
Horner and Danielson were tied on total time entering the final stage.
Macebo, riding for 5-Hour Energy, earned the stage victory after catching Danielson and passing him on the final 3 kilometers. Macebo crossed the finish line in 3:12:52.
He led for most of the race after joining an initial group of 15 riders that broke out in front. Macebo stayed strong even as others in the group faded away in the Wasatch Mountains.
“I hit the climb and tried to find my own pace without getting too nervous,” Macebo said through a translator. “I wanted to be focused on my own pace more than any gap or any descent with the rest of the guys.”
Danielson finished with time to spare, beating Horner by 1:29 for the Tour of Utah title. Acevedo’s strong finish boosted him to third, 1:37 behind Danielson, a former collegiate national champion mountain bike racer at Durango’s Fort Lewis College.
Fellow Boulder resident Lucas Euser was fourth, 2:02 back. Matthew Busche, of Wisconsin, finished fifth (2:06).
Aspen native Alex Hagman, riding for the Jelly Belly team, finished 38th overall.
He and his team will head to Aspen and Snowmass Village for the start of the 2013 USA Pro Challenge.
The Aspen/Snowmass Circuit Race will be Monday, Aug. 19, starting at 1:05 p.m. in Aspen.
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Aspen again is led by senior Christian Kelly at No. 1 singles and Alex Mosher at No. 2 singles. The pair held down those same spots last season, when the Skiers finished sixth overall.