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Aug 8, 2015 – Canadian Michael Woods of Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies climbed into the overall lead Friday at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah with a win on Stage 5 presented by Utah Sports Commission. Woods claimed the biggest win of his career in the shadow of the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City, giving his team back-to-back victories at the “America’s Toughest Stage RaceTM.”
Tour of Utah
In the final 100-meter sprint of the difficult 55-mile circuit race, Woods put in a massive acceleration that no one could match to cross the line in a time of two hours and three minutes. Sonny Colbrelli (Italy) of Bardiani-CSF and Stage 1 winner Kiel Reijnen (USA) of UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team finished two seconds behind the Canadian, taking second and third place respectively.
“Going into that final climb, I tried to be in the best position as possible, just steady pace for as long as possible until I hit it out. It was a tough last 200 meters, but I managed to hold the rest of the peloton off,” Woods said. “It’s the biggest win of my career, it was a surreal moment for sure. I couldn’t believe it.”
The stage win for Woods put him in the Larry H. Miller Dealerships overall leader’s jersey, with a four-second advantage on the general classification over Brent Bookwalter (USA) of BMC Racing Team. Previous G.C. race leader Jure Kocjan (Slovenia) of Team SmartStop dropped to third place overall, just five seconds down. Reijnen, who wears the Utah Sports Commission Sprinter leader’s jersey, sits in fourth spot on G.C.
“I didn’t expect to be in yellow (jersey) going into the stage tomorrow. I thought I’d be trying to get into yellow on Saturday, but you can never plan for these things and you always want to seize a win when you get that opportunity,” added Woods, who is racing in his first Tour of Utah. “I put a big ‘x’ on the calendar when we got the invite to this race just because it really does suit my skill set.”
Stage 5 presented by Utah Sports Commission revived the popular Salt Lake City circuit and added a new climb with 15-percent gradients up Wall Street and Zane Avenue along the north side of the capitol complex. Nerves were evident as the 116 riders lined up for the start of this fast, technical race, making seven laps of an eight-mile circuit. A group of eight escaped immediately, but Team SmartStop controlled the pace to keep the breakaway close.
The fight for positioning at the front was evident on each of the seven laps before the field turned right on 600 North and ascended the final climb to the finish. The final solo breakaway, Songezo Jim (South Africa) of MTN-Qhubeka presented by Samsung, was re-absorbed on the final lap. Woods covered attacks from Reijnen, Kocjan and Dion Smith (New Zealand) of Hincapie Racing Team before getting out of the saddle with 150 meters to go to take an emphatic victory.
Finishing 14th on the stage and sitting fifth overall, Smith of Hincapie Racing Team captured the Subaru Best Young Rider jersey. Jim, who launched a final attack from the break, was awarded the Vivint Most Aggressive Rider jersey. Fans selected Taylor Phinney (USA) of BMC Racing Team as the America First Credit Union Fan Favorite in the Most Inspiring Comeback from Adversity category.
Stage 6 presented by University of Utah Health Care continues as the “Queen Stage,” with 12,959 feet of climbing from Salt Lake City to Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort. The 110.4-mile stage will start at 10:50 a.m. MT on Saturday, Aug. 9. The legendary journey begins at a new start location in front of the historic Rio Grande Depot in downtown Salt Lake City. Riders will roll past Pioneer Park and head north through Emigration Canyon for the first for four Utah Office of Tourism KOM climbs on Little Mountain and Big Mountain. The race continues through Park City and the brutal climb of Guardsman Pass, followed by the fast descent of Big Cottonwood Canyon. For a ninth year, the Queen Stage will finish with the legendary six-mile climb of Little Cottonwood Canyon to the Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort.
Final kilometers of Stage 5
Results Stage 5:
1. Michael Woods (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies 2:03:50
2. Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani CSF 0:00:02
3. Kiel Reijnen (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
4. Daniel Martínez (Col) Colombia 0:00:04
5. Ruben Guerreiro (Por) Axeon Cycling Team
6. Leonardo Basso (Ita) Trek Factory Racing
7. Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team
8. Frank Schleck (Lux) Trek Factory Racing 0:00:07
9. Lachlan Norris (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling
10. Brendan Canty (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts 0:00:09
1. Michael Woods (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies 19:50:50
2. Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:04
3. Jure Kocjan (Slo) Team SmartStop 0:00:05
4. Kiel Reijnen (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling 0:00:07
5. Dion Smith (NZl) Hincapie Racing Team 0:00:09
6. Ruben Guerreiro (Por) Axeon Cycling Team 0:00:14
7. Leonardo Basso (Ita) Trek Factory Racing
8. Daniel Martínez (Col) Colombia
9. Lachlan Norris (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling 0:00:15
10. Frank Schleck (Lux) Trek Factory Racing 0:00:17