CEDAR CITY — American Travis McCabe of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team surged past the field in a chaotic sprint finish to win Stage 1 at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah on Tuesday.
Traversing 101 miles for the second day of racing in the seven-day stage race, McCabe crossed the line in 4 hours, 17 minutes.
“Coming into this, I trained really hard,” said McCabe, who lives and trains in nearby Arizona. “I’ve had a few months now of just being home and training. Utah was a big goal.”
He took advantage of a late race attack by his teammate Serghei Tvetcov to claim his third stage win in three years at the Tour of Utah.
“Taking that third win was what I was waking up every morning, dreaming about,” McCabe said. “Getting three wins in three years is pretty awesome. I love the Tour of Utah, I really do, it’s one of my favorite races I do every year.”
A bike length separated McCabe from second-place Ulises Castillo of Jelly Belly Cycling Team p/b Maxxis and Edwin Avila of Israel Cycling Academy following in third.
Overall race leader Tejay van Garderen of BMC Racing Team retained his Larry H. Miller Dealerships leader’s yellow jersey by finishing safely in the peloton. By capturing the 10-second finish time bonus, McCabe moved up to second in the General Classification (G.C.), only two seconds back. Joey Rosskopf of BMC
Racing Team is in third place overall. Fourth in the G.C., Neilson Powless of Team LottoNL-Jumbo retained the WCF Insurance Best Young Rider jersey.
Blue skies and warm weather greeted the 115 racers at the start of Stage 1 in the fourth-time host city of Cedar City. The start and the finish were held on the campus of Southern Utah University.
After a flurry of attacks in the first 40 minutes of racing, four riders managed to escape to form the main breakaway of the day. Working well together, the foursome built a lead that grew to more than five minutes before starting to climb up Parowan Canyon for the highest climb of the week near Cedar Breaks National Monument, topping out at 10,600 feet.
“It was the first time I raced at this altitude which makes it pretty hard, but I think it was a really nice climb. The steep gradients I like, so I enjoyed it,” said Daan Olivier of Team LottoNL-Jumbo about the Category 1 climb, which gains 4,500 vertical feet in 15 miles, with some sections at Brian Head Ski Resort challenging riders with a 15 percent gradient.
Second on the first climb, Olivier took top points on the second King of the Mountain climb of the day at Bristlecone and claimed the Utah Office of Tourism King of the Mountain jersey.
McCabe also claimed the Utah Sports Commission Sprint jersey. A member of the breakaway, Evan Huffman of Rally Cycling was awarded the Larry H. Miller Dealerships Most Aggressive Rider jersey. Nathan Brown of EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale was voted America First Credit Union Fan Favorite, in the category of Best Ambassador.
Stage 2 on Wednesday returns to Payson for a third time. The focus of the day will be the towering peak of Mount Nebo, making a seventh appearance in the Tour that was last featured in 2016. The 88.6-mile route will start and finish in Payson.
After a 12-mile circuit north of town into Utah County, the race will return to Payson for a sprint in front of historic Peteetneet Museum and pass through the start/finish area at Memorial Park. The route will then travel south through the orchards and lavender fields along Old U.S. Highway 91 for a sprint line in Nephi, then the final push on the Category 1 ascent across Mount Nebo. The cyclists will summit the roadway at 9,300 feet for the one KOM on the day, then have a twisting 22-mile descent for the finish back in Payson.