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LOGAN – Holowesko | Citadel Racing Team p/b Hincapie Sportswear's Tyler Magner (USA) sprinted to victory in a heated finish in downtown Logan to take the stage win and overall lead at the 2017 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah. Magner covered the 132-mile course in four hours and 56 minutes.
Magner opened his sprint early and held a tire-width margin for the victory on Stage 1 presented by America First Credit Union. Christopher Lawless (Great Britain) of Axeon Hagens Berman Cycling Team and Travis McCabe (USA) of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team finished second and third, respectively, in a feverish bunch sprint.
“Our goal as Holowesko l Citadel was to get in the breakaway and put as much pressure on, basically, all the other teams so we didn't have to be at the front and pull,” explained Magner about his team's strategy for the longest stage of the seven-day stage race. “We, as a team, were able to sit back and watch all the other teams at the front, pulling, working and we save all our bullets for the finishing circuits. Basically, John Murphy just gave me an incredible lead-out in the final 500 meters, coming out of the corner, super-fast sprint, and I was super stoked to hold these guys off.”
This year's Tour of Utah, July 31 – August 6, features 605 miles of racing and extends outside Utah (Bear Lake region of Idaho) for the third time in its 13-year history. The course offers a total of 36,525 feet of vertical gain for the week, solidifying the event as “America’s Toughest Stage Race.”
"The Tour of Utah is a notoriously hard race with altitude, the arid climate and the climbing. To be able to sprint at this race, you have to be able to climb and just be able to suffer. We were really going for the stage win today,” said McCabe. “It ended up being pretty chaotic in the end, with that fast left-hand turn and it was a drag race all the way to the finish. Hats off to Ty and Christopher for first and second in the sprint.”
Magner claimed the first Larry H. Miller Group of Companies Overall Leader jersey of the 2017 Tour of Utah and the Utah Sports Commission Sprint jersey. Jacob Rathe (USA) of Jelly Belly Cycling p/b Maxxis in the breakaway took the points for the two Utah Office of Tourism King of the Mountain climbs and will wear the KOM jersey on Tuesday.
Stage 1 presented by America First Credit Union began in Logan under sunny skies with 126 riders on 16 professional teams, representing 26 countries. A breakaway of 10 riders escaped on the slopes of the first Utah Office of Tourism KOM climb up Logan Canyon. The escapees pushed their gap to a maximum of seven minutes and 45 seconds as they circled Bear Lake. Under pressure of the chase and hot conditions, the break crumbled on the climb back up Logan Canyon before being reeled back with five miles to go.
One of the final two riders of the breakaway to be reeled back in, Miguel Angel Benito Diez (Spain) of the Caja Rural-Seguros RGA was awarded the Larry H. Miller Dealerships Most Aggressive Rider jersey. Stephen Clancy (Ireland) of Team Novo Nordisk was voted the America First Credit Union Fan Favorite for Stage 1, in the category of Best Ambassador (Statesman).
In the General Classification, Magner has a four-second lead over Lawless after Stage 1. Joshua Berry (USA) of Jelly Belly Cycling p/b Maxxis took second in the two Utah Sports Commission Sprints in the stage and sits in third place overall, also at four seconds from the race leader.
“We're using the day to commemorate (teammate) Chad Young, who suddenly passed away at the Tour of the Gila. It was a very special, emotional day for the team. I think we showed it on the road, we really rode well,” said Lawless, who claimed the WCF Insurance Best Young Rider jersey. “It was a shame that I couldn't finish it off for the team really. It was the best team performance that I've ever been a part of.”
Editor's note:The content of this article was taken from a press release sent out by Tour of Utah. This is not information gathered by KSL.com reporters.