Bookwalter Finishes Third Overall In Utah9. August 2015, Park City, Utah (USA) — Road Team
BMC Racing Team's Brent Bookwalter was runner-up in a photo finish Sunday on the final stage of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah to place third overall and win the sprint classification.
Bookwalter slipped a small breakaway group over the top of the final climb of the 125.5-kilometer race that started and finished in Park City. But Lachlan Norris (Drapac Professional Cycling) caught up to him in the final turn and pipped Bookwalter in the sprint.
"I think I got a good jump out of the last corner and was full gas all the way to the line, but he came around me," Bookwalter said. "I am really bummed to miss the win on the stage, but the points jersey and the podium overall is a really good consolation. It is a testament to how we rode through the week - never giving up and just fighting on every stage."
Bookwalter's attack and high-speed plunge off of Empire Pass paid dividends in the overall standings. Sitting in sixth place overnight, 1:32 off the lead, Bookwalter leapfrogged three of the riders in front of him - including 2013 Vuelta a España winner Chris Horner (Airgas-Safeway Cycling Team) and the third-place finisher at the 2011 Tour de France, Frank Schleck (Trek Factory Racing).
Joe Dombrowski (Team Cannondale-Garmin) won the overall title, 50 seconds ahead of Michael Woods (Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies). Bookwalter was a further 15 seconds back and earned the sprint leader's jersey by finishing third, second, fifth, seventh, eighth and second in the last six stages.
Sport Director Jackson Stewart said Bookwalter's performance - his best at this race since finishing fifth in 2008 - helped the BMC Racing Team finish on a positive note.
"At first, you are gutted for him because he has been so close to a stage win," Stewart said. "Our priority for this race was to win a stage and he was the guy who was going to do it for us. When you have a sprint like this and you lose it, it hurts. But in the end, we had a great week, we just didn't get that win. We can go away happy. We still raced the same as if we were winning or getting second."
Two BMC Racing Team riders who made their return to competition after long layoffs from injuries both finished the seven-day race. Taylor Phinney had not competed in 16 months after crashing and breaking his left leg in two places at the USA Cycling national road championships. Peter Stetina was coming back from a nearly 17-week layoff after breaking broke his right tibia and patella and five ribs in a crash at Vuelta al Pais Vasco.
Phinney was third on Monday's opening stage and placed 63rd overall.
"I am really satisfied," Phinney said. "I really didn't have any expectations and I wasn't sure how long I would even be in the race."
Stetina finished 81st and said his performance also exceeded his expectations.
"We thought it was going to be tough for me to even finish Stage 1," he said. "We thought the best scenario would be finishing three or four stages. So to actually finish the Tour of Utah was beyond my wildest dreams. I personally didn't see that coming. So I was really pleased I could do that off of three weeks of training."
Phinney also appeared on the final podium as winner of the "overall fan favorite" of the race. On Friday, he won the vote for "most inspiring comeback from adversity" to advance to Sunday's round of other fan favorite winners. In voting for the overall fan favorite, Phinney received 45.5 percent of the vote, ahead of "best ambassador" winner Robin Carpenter (Hincapie Racing Team), who had 21.8 percent.
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