Atapuma Climbs to Third on Final Stage in Utah7. August 2016 — Road Team
It was a case of the Empire Pass strikes back on Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah Stage 7 with the tough final climb proving decisive for both the stage victory and the overall General Classification.
In similar style to Stage 6, it was a fast and aggressive start to the day’s racing with attack after attack going off the front of the peloton as soon as the race hit kilometer zero.
BMC Racing Team were involved in most of the early action before a group of ten riders were finally able to extend an advantage over the peloton after almost an hour of racing.
As the breakaway reached the over the top of Wolf Creek Range, the race was exploding behind them with BMC Racing Team’s Taylor Eisenhart, Darwin Atapuma and Joey Rosskopf all putting in solid efforts at the front to upset the rhythm of the race and put pressure on their General Classification rivals.
At the bottom of Empire Pass, Lachlan Morton (Jelly Belly) launched an attack of the front of the main General Classification group, a move which saw him ride to both stage and overall victory.
The race for the podium continued behind him with Atapuma and Adrien Costa (Axeon Hagens Berman) working hard to bridge the gap on the final climb of the week before a high speed descent into Park City sealed Atapuma’s third place finish on the line.
After showing his climbing abilities all week, Atapuma finished the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah fourth on the overall General Classification, 1 minute 57 seconds behind Morton, while Rosskopf and Eisenhart were sixth and seventh respectively.
The eight-rider BMC Racing Team squad took to the podium together as they won the Team Classification with an advantage of over 12 minutes.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“I was feeling really confident going into today’s stage and was wanting to attack earlier and earlier but I knew that the team was riding well and that they could help put me in a position to go for a podium finish on the stage. They were doing a great job supporting me and they have believed in me all week which I am grateful for.”
“I have been climbing really well but I just wasn’t the strongest at this race today. A second and third place finish is obviously positive but to just miss out on the podium in the General Classification is a shame. As a team we have given it everything this week and we can be proud about that.”
Sports Director, Jackson Stewart:
“Our plan today was all or nothing. We knew it was a big ask as we were pretty far back on the climb but everyone believed in our three guys in the GC and we knew they were really strong so we wanted to play all our cards.”
“It was a really incredible team effort today, as it has been all week. At the beginning Fabian [Lienhard] and [Tom] Bohli were going with the attacks. We also had TJ putting some huge efforts in on the climbs and then Joey’s move was just an unbelievable ride. He really put pressure on Talansky and Costa, making them ride up front for a lot of the day and then was even able to finish ninth on the stage.”
“We wanted to make the race so hard today that teams would struggle to control it and we wanted to draw out the main GC rivals and really make them work for it. In the end, we had confidence in Atapuma and knew he was riding well but Morton just made a move right at the bottom of the climb and then could ride tempo all the way. We did our best, laid it all out there today and we can be happy with that. Cadel [Evans] was on the bus with us this morning and as he had won the stage here before he gave the team a pep talk and was excited for us to be aggressive and that’s what we did.”
Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah
Stage 7: Park City - Park City, 125.5km
Top 3: 1. Lachlan Morton (Jelly Belly) 2. Adrien Costa (Axeon Hagens Berman) 3. Darwin Atapuma (BMC Racing Team)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 3. Darwin Atapuma 7. Manuel Senni 9. Joey Rosskopf
BMC Racing Team Top 3 on GC: 4. Darwin Atapuma 6. Joey Rosskopf 7. Taylor Eisenhart
BMC Racing Team Flickr Gallery
See photos from the race.