Frankiny Shows His Strength Before Summit Showdown on Queen Stage in Utah11. August 2018, Snowbird Resort, Utah (USA) — Road Team
Kilian Frankiny led the way for BMC Racing Team at the front of the race during the penultimate stage in Utah, riding as part of the breakaway before the race came back together on the final climb for a battle of the General Classification contenders.
Unlike on stage 4 yesterday, when the breakaway went clear with relative ease, there was a fierce battle in the opening kilometers of the queen stage of this year’s Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah with a constant stream of attacks being pulled back by the main bunch over the opening kilometers of the race.
The peloton was still all together as it reached the summit of the first, and least demanding of the day’s three categorized climbs, the ascent to Jordanelle Reservoir and soon after a move made by a large group of riders, including Joey Rosskopf, looked promising.
However, the composition of the group was deemed too dangerous and they were pulled back before finally, after 45km of racing, a ten-rider breakaway broke free of the peloton’s grasp with Frankiny representing BMC Racing Team at the front of the race as the leaders’ advantage began to rise.
It was race leader Sepp Kuss’ Team LottoNL-Jumbo teammates who took control of the pacemaking behind and as the breakaway approached the bottom of the category one Guardsmans Pass, the gap between the two groups was sitting at over four minutes.
On the slopes of the 12km long climb, which had an average gradient of 6.8%, the chase began to heat up and as a result, with 50km to go, a reduced peloton, which still included Tejay van Garderen, Brent Bookwalter, Alexander Evans and Rosskopf, had cut into the breakaway’s advantage by one minute.
Frankiny was driving a hard pace and piling on the pressure on the steepest section of the climb and as a result, the breakaway began to split with six riders going over the top of the KOM and starting the descent towards the base of the final climb, 1’50” ahead of the main bunch.
After a long and fast descent, the breakaway regrouped going onto slopes of the 10.4km long ascent to Snowbird Resort, which had an average gradient of 7.8%, but with riders gearing up for General Classification battle behind them, the gap stood at less than one minute at the start of the climb.
An attack from Frankiny saw him go solo at the front of the race with 10km to go but despite his best efforts, which saw him rewarded with the prize for the Most Aggressive Rider, he was eventually caught and passed by Kuss who attacked off the front of the main bunch and went on to extend his overall lead by taking the stage win.
All four remaining BMC Racing Team riders were in the main bunch behind Frankiny at the start of the climb and in the end, Bookwalter was the team’s first rider across the line, securing a fourth top ten finish after digging deep to cross the line ninth and move up into sixth on the General Classification, 2’27” behind Kuss.
Tejay van Garderen, who was coming into the race after a gruelling Tour de France, lost contact with the race leader after his explosive attack however, he continued to ride his own tempo before finishing over six minutes back to slip out of the top 10 overall.
Quotes From the Finish Line:
"We were looking for the breakaway today and first of all, we had Joey in a big group but then it all came back together and I took my chance and tried my luck. I was up the road with around ten guys and it was a long day out there. We went over the category one climb and then on the descent, the bunch brought us back to 1'20" before, at the start of the last climb, the gap was only around 45 seconds. I was still feeling really good at that point though so I knew that it was time for me to try something on my own and see what could happen. I still had good sensations after the climb before it but it didn't work out and in the end, I was passed by the bunch."
"Overall, I am really happy with my performance today and I was still able to finish in the top 15 despite a hard day out in front. Of course, it's a pity that I couldn't take it all the way to the line but I gave it my all and I couldn't have done anything different so, I can't ask for more than that."
Sports Director, Jackson Stewart:
"Kilian did a super job today. He said he felt really good and he has been thinking about these final two stages for a long time so he did a really good job. He went in a really strong breakaway and rode smart. It was just unfortunate that the group didn't get more time going over Guardsmans Pass. But, he put a lot of pressure on the other teams and set up our riders perfect going onto the final climb and he even had a good ride himself in the end."
"When the attacks began off the front of the peloton, Tejay was initially able to match some of the moves but then the pace sort of put him in the red and after that, he sat up and rode his own tempo. Of course, that was hard for him to do but as we said coming into the race, we weren't sure how his body would respond after the Tour de France. Brent was able to do his best though and he sits sixth on the General Classification now. Overall, we had a great day with Kilian and Brent did well. It was just unfortunate that we lost time with Tejay but that's how it is."
The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah
Stage 5: Canyons Village > Snowbird Resort, 152.6km
Top 3: 1. Sepp Kuss (Team LottoNL-Jumbo) 2. Ben Hermans (Israel Cycling Academy) 3. Peter Stetina (Trek - Segafredo)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 9. Brent Bookwalter 15. Kilian Frankiny 17. Joey Rosskopf