Bookwalter Once Again Tests His Legs in Bunch Sprint on Stage 3 in Utah9. August 2018, Layton, Utah (USA) — Road Team
Brent Bookwalter was once again BMC Racing Team’s chosen sprinter at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah today, finishing just outside the top ten after testing his legs during the fast and furious finale which also saw Tejay van Garderen cross the line safely to maintain his podium position on the General Classification.
It was a long and drawn out battle to make the breakaway on stage 3 in Utah with the peloton, aided by BMC Racing Team, chasing down attack after attack before finally letting ten riders go clear after over 70km of racing.
With the breakaway established, the gap began to rise steadily approaching the day’s only categorized climb, the short but steep ascent up Bountiful Bench which had an average gradient of around 9%.
After cresting the summit of the 2.7km long climb, the leaders’ advantage extended to over two minutes but, the peloton, led by race leader Sepp Kuss’ Team LottoNL-Jumbo teammates, soon regained control and the gap settled at 2’10” heading into the second half of the 188km course.
The main bunch began to pull the breakaway back over the gently rolling terrain that led into the first of five laps of a 5km circuit around Layton and as the leaders crossed the finish line for the first time, the peloton was sitting just 30 seconds behind.
In the end, the last two riders from the breakaway were caught at the start of the penultimate lap and the battle for position began immediately with Bookwalter and Joey Rosskopf sitting up at the front of the bunch going under the flamme rouge.
Bookwalter once again tested his legs in the bunch sprint and finished just outside the top ten in 12th place behind the stage winner, Travis McCabe (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team) while van Garderen crossed the line safely to remain third overall on the General Classification after being protected by his teammates all day.
Unfortunately, Freddy Ovett was involved in a crash while trying to bridge across to one of the various moves in the first part of the race and was forced to stop racing. A medical update is provided below.
Quotes From the Finish Line:
"This was the longest stage of the race but it also had the least amount of climbing and we were on basic, non-technical boulevards all day so it was definitely an expected sprint day but we saw some really aggressive and inspired racing for the first two hours almost. It was kind of crazy as all of the teams who do have good sprinters here were trying to put riders in the breakaway as well as a lot of other teams who realize that they probably don't have a big chance on the last two days. The attacks just kept going and going and it was tough. We definitely felt it being a man down with Tom not starting today and then, unfortunately, we lost Freddy as all of that was going on which was disappointing. All things considered though, we stayed out of trouble and Tejay is still right there heading into the last three days."
"I think the circuit today was a little easier than we saw on stage 1 and the 180km or so before it didn't wear people out quite as much as the high altitude climbing on stage 1 so, there were more sprinters there and more ambitious and at time crazy guys in the mix too. Joey did an awesome job keeping me and Tejay up there and then I tried to surf behind without taking too many risks and keep the possibilities open if I could stay within striking distance but it was a little too dicey in the last corner and not a great sprint for me but I was happy to be up there in the good part of the group instead of at the back."
"The circuit tomorrow is a little different to the variations of the Salt Lake City circuits that we have done in the past. The big difference is that the finish is at the bottom of the hill as opposed to the top. When it has been at the top, it has been a good stage for me, I was second there last year, and I think that will change the dynamic a little bit. It's pretty short too and I think that the sprinters who are here with nothing to show should be interested in going for it but as we saw today the peloton we have here is yielding pretty well to aggressive racing so I'd say anything can happen. We will try not to miss any opportunities but now being two men down we will have to pick our battles and use our resources wisely as we know the final two stages should be where the race is decided and we want to go into them in good condition."
Sports Director, Jackson Stewart:
"It was a really fast stage today and while we expected a bunch sprint, we knew that the American sprinters' teams in the race wouldn't want to do too much work and if they did it would have been a pretty simple stage with five teams riding before a big sprint. The profile wasn't super demanding today but in the end, I think it was a tough day on our team and everyone really. Every team realized they could attack Team LottoNL-Jumbo and try to go in the breakaway so they didn't have to do any work in the peloton and at the beginning, it was 70km of non-stop attacking. It was chaos really before eventually, we saw ten riders go and unfortunately we didn't make it into that group."
"We then left the job to Lotto as Rob Britton (Rally Cycling) had slid into the breakaway and he was at two minutes so it was a pretty dangerous move and they rode all day. We tried to stay safe before going for the sprint with Brent but all our guys had to do so much work at the beginning marking the early moves because we were down a guy on the start line and then Freddy, unfortunately, crashed out. It just wasn't the ideal style of racing for guys on our team like Frankiny and Evans."
"Tomorrow I think we will see a similar aggressive race. It's shorter but we have to go up the climb ten times and if there was no control from the sprinters teams today or on Monday, I think it is going to be really difficult to have any control tomorrow. I think there could be a shake-up tomorrow, but we will see how it pans out."
BMC Racing Team doctor, Dr. Eric Heiden on Freddy Ovett:
“Freddy was involved in a crash in the first half of stage 3 today and was forced to abandon the race. He suffered significant abrasions and was treated in the race ambulance before heading back to the team hotel. Fortunately, he does not appear to have sustained any fractures and I think we can expect him to back on his bike after just a few days rest. We will continue to monitor him but at this stage, it doesn’t look like his current race schedule should be affected.”
The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah
Stage 3: Antelope Island > Layton, 188km
Top 3: 1. Travis McCabe (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team) 2. Jasper Philipsen (Hagens Berman Axeon) 3. Edwin Avila (Israel Cycling Academy)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 12. Brent Bookwalter 25. Tejay van Garderen 26. Joey Rosskopf