8 years ago by Jake Alterman

Tour of Utah Stage 4 – Smoky Highway

Stage four of the Tour of Utah traded the mountains and canyons of southern Utah for the flat, wind swept roads around Salt Lake City. It was the last day for the sprinters to grab stage glory and Rally Cycling was dedicated to delivering Eric Young to the line and capturing the stage win that had so far eluded the team.
Although the route lacked a major climb, the profile was jagged with constant undulations. In addition to the change in scenery, the sky was filled with a thin layer of haze and odor of a distant wildfire. With the wind and heat playing major factors in the 154-kilometer stage, the team worked to stay hydrated and protect Young until the finishing circuits in Kearns. Once onto the circuits, the riders faced a rolling finale with a frantic descent to the line that resulted in a fast and chaotic finish. 
How it Went Down

The peloton of stage four at the Tour of Utah could be separated into two categories. The first consisting of general classification riders hoping for an easy day in the saddle before the treacherous mountains ahead. The second category contained sprinters, and rouleurs looking for one last chance at a stage win. While the profile seemed to favor the latter, one could never rule out an attempted coup by a rider looking to gain any advantage before the big mountains.

It wasn’t long after the neutral rollout from IM Flash that an eight man breakaway formed with Matthew Busche (United Healthcare), Eddie Dunbar (Axeon Hagens Berman), Nicolae Tanovitchii (Lupus), Hayden Mccormick (ONE Pro Cycling), Nicola Bagioli (Nippo-Vini Fantini), Luis Romero Amaran (Jamis), Joseph Lewis (Holowesko - Citadel), and Rally Cycling’s own Danny Pate. The breakaway quickly built a gap of 4:00. Unfortunately for the eight riders out front, Jelly Belly was riding in defense of Lachlan Morton’s yellow jersey and kept a tight reign on the time gap. With the gap manageable, it was just a matter of time before the sprinter’s teams took to the front to reel in the breakaway.

With 50-kilometers remaining, Trek-Segafredo and Silber moved to the front to add firepower to the Jelly Belly led chase. With 40 kilometers remaining, the breakaway’s advantage had been cut to just 1:20. With the peloton closing in, Lewis unsuccessfully attacked the breakaway. The group came back together briefly before Pate counter attacked, taking Busche, Dunbar and Mccormick with him. Despite their motivation to stay off the front, it only served to prolong the inevitable and with 20 kilomters left they were brought back into the fold.

The final kilometers were marked by a flurry of attacks. One of the strong moves resulted in a 13-man group separating itself from the peloton. In the move for Rally Cycling was Pierrick Naud. However with general classification riders in the mix it was reeled in as the peloton entered in the final circuit in Kearns. On the final lap, Silber attempted to take control in an effort to leadout stage one winner Matteo Dal Cin. It wasn’t to be for the Orange clad Canadian outfit as the finale turned chaotic as teams desperately tried to position their sprinters.

As riders fought for position in the final meters, Travis McCabe (Holowesko - Citadel) powered up the left side of the road to claim victory. Kiel Reijnen (Trek-Segafredo) was second with Sebastian Haedo (Jamis) in third. Eric Young crossed the line in fifth. Despite his impressive finish, two-time Tour of Utah stage winner Young was disappointed to have not taken the victory. Rob Britton arrived safely in the peloton to retain his sixth place on general classification.

Mechanic Special!

What keeps a bike race running smoothly? Mechanics. Eric Maresjo walks us through their nightly routine following the race ( Look easy? multiply it by seven and then add in five plus hours a day in the Acura supporting the race, or doing the always glamorous luggage transfer.


Step 1: Wash the bikes.

"This removes dirt and grime so when we tune them up and put the wheels on that the guys want for the next day, it's easy to see if their are any crack, defects, or anything else weird happening with the frame."

Step 2: Inspect the tires.

"Do this after washing the wheels and check for and nicks, cuts or anything that needs to be replaced. Then you can start gluing new tubes on immediately so you know they are dry and ready for the next day of racing."

Optional Step: Glue Tubulars.

"Every mechanics favorite task. Glue must be applied carefully and evenly and the tires placed on with care to avoid anything going wrong when things get hairy in the race, like in a tight corner with debris. We had a lot of those today, hence the gluing."

Step 3: Tune up the bikes.

"Put the race wheels on that the guys want for the next day. Make sure everything is dialed in tight, nothing is broken, relplace anything that is that managed to get screwed up that day. From a crash or someone else running into them with their bike."

Step 4: Wash all the cars.

"Mostly so they look good and we look professional when we go out to the race the next day."


We met Kyleigh, age 5 in Kearns, just outside of Salt Lake City with a Disney princesses bike.

"My favorite thing about my bike is that is has princesses on it. And it's a two wheeler."
Aidan is going into seventh grade and was spotted near the finishline in Kearns with a sick BMX bike.
"I put orange and gold ribbon around it because I'm gonna go to the parade on Saturday. My favorite thing about riding is going fast."

Bryan Hester was volunteering with the tour and donned a kilt beforehand

"There's very little trash, which is nice, from my perspective, and there's a lot of cool bike stuff around. I like bikes but mine got stolen so I haven't been able to ride in a while."