Bookwalter Climbs to Victory on Stage 2 in Utah1. August 2017, Snowbasin (USA) — Road Team
Brent Bookwalter powered to victory on stage 2 of The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah on the first summit finish of the race, after a dominant performance by BMC Racing Team put Bookwalter in the perfect position in the finale.
With three climbs on the cards, including the summit finish on Snowbasin, it was a battle to get into the breakaway with the peloton neutralizing multiple attempts.
Joey Rosskopf was consistently on the attack and crested the first climb solo to claim the KOM points before eventually, creating the day’s breakaway with Marco Canola (Nippo-Vini Fantini) and Oscar Clark (Holowesko-Citadel Racing Team) after more than 50km of racing.
The trio’s advantage rose to more than five minutes but the chase was on behind and the gap was down to less than two minutes with 65km and the two final climbs remaining.
Rosskopf showed his strength to ride away from his breakaway companions on the North Ogden Divide and hold off the peloton to claim the KOM points again.
30km before the finish line, the race hit the reset button when Rosskopf was caught and the reduced peloton made their way towards the base of the Snowbasin climb.
Strong performances and a fast pace set by Patrick Müller and Manuel Senni made it difficult for any attacks to go clear on the run into the climb and left a small group to battle for the stage win.
Anton De Vos (Rally Cycling) broke clear from the bunch and hovered in front of the reduced peloton while behind, BMC Racing Team continued to control the situation and slowly brought De Vos back.
Eder Frayre (Elevate – KHS Pro Cycling) went on the attack inside the final kilometer but Bookwalter proved too strong and launched the winning move with 250 meters to go to overtake Frayre and raise his arms in triumph as he secured his first individual win of the season.
Due to a count back on stage results from the opening two days, Bookwalter now sits in second place on the General Classification, on the same time as race leader Sepp Kuss (Rally Cycling).
The Winner’s Interview with Brent Bookwalter
Brent, congratulations! Talk us through that final climb.
“The climb was in two pieces with 4-5km and then a downhill and another 4-5km. We did a good recon of it last week and we knew that it wasn’t super steep, so I was anticipating that it would get a little tactical. Before the race we talked it over, probably too much, and all of the different things that could happen and the way we could ride it. As you saw, the guys in the team just made it happen and delivered me perfectly. I wasn’t super confident at the bottom of the climb but the further I went up, seeing the team ride so amazingly, I kept getting more confident and just tried to bide my time and be patient and make the right move at the end.”
We have seen a big fight for the breakaway on stages 1 and 2. Did that work to your advantage today?
“I think so. We do a lot of races where the breakaway doesn’t go for an hour or two so we are used to this really hard racing. I think the harder the early part of the stage can be, the better it is for us. You saw that with our team today. We had Joey Rosskopf in the move and then the guys really rallied around me and delivered me over the North Ogden Divide, the penultimate climb, and then all the way to the base of Snowbasin. You could see that we had a lot of gas left in the tank.”
You’re now second on GC. What are your thoughts on tomorrow’s time trial?
“It will be brutal. It’s definitely not my favorite time trial if I had to make one for myself. It’s just going to come down to climbing strength, altitude adaption and ability to suffer. It’s pretty straight forward, straight up the canyon, and it’s not the steepest climb. It still does favour pure climbers but I’m hoping guys like myself, Joey Rosskopf, Silvan Dillier, all of us can do a good ride. We’ve had two hard days of racing already so I think we’ll recover well and hopefully do a good performance.”
Jackson Stewart, Sports Director:
“It was a great win by Brent Bookwalter and this will give him a lot of confidence. It was our stage to win and we gave it everything. We wanted to put someone in the move either to have Brent leapfrog to them or put the pressure on the other teams to chase. All eyes are on us so it’s incredible how the teams come out to chase when we have someone in the breakaway. This actually helped Brent as it made the race hard for a lot of teams. Joey was willing to sacrifice himself and we saved Kilian Frankiny and Silvan Dillier to support Brent in the finale. Patrick Müller is super good and it was really good to see him doing all of that work.”
“We were a bit nervous when the gap was being closed quickly because we thought the race could go again on the North Ogden Divide but Joey had a gap to the bunch over the top and there were a few tries, but nothing eventuated. At that point we went back to our plan A which was to ride into the base of the climb and set Brent up for the win. He timed his move perfectly so it’s really great to see Brent take a win like that. The time trial tomorrow isn’t super long but I think Brent can put some good time into some of his GC rivals.”
The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah
Stage 2 Brigham City > Snowbasin Resort (151km)
Top 3: 1. Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing Team), 2. Sepp Kuss (Rally Cycling), 3. James Piccoli (Elevate –KHS Pro Cycling).
BMC Racing Team top 3: 1. Brent Bookwalter, 11. Kilian Frankiny, 12. Silvan Dillier.
BMC Racing Team Flickr Gallery
See photos from the race.