It was a mixed day for Axeon Hagens Berman on stage 3 of the Tour of Utah with Adrien Costa, the youngest rider in the race, moving into second place and US national champion Gregory Daniel crashing out with a broken collarbone. Daniel, 21, was one of two riders to record a DNF on stage 3 along with Julián Arredondo (Trek-Segafredo) which was won by Lachlan Morton (Jelly-Belly)
"This is definitely hard," Daniel said. "I shed some tears in the rescue squad. But everything happens for a reason. When I broke my collarbone last time, I was on my bike two days later. For me, a broken collarbone is almost better than getting sick. The Tour of Alberta might still be on the agenda and hopefully I will still be able to go to the world championships."
Teammate Colin Joyce was also involved in the crash at the base of Mt. Nebo although the 21-year-old was able to remount and finish the stage, albeit in last place.
Daniel explained that with the pace high as riders were moving to the front of the peloton in anticipation of the Mt. Nebo climb, there was little time to react when riders ahead quickly stopped.
"We were just fighting for position going into the climb and some guys slammed on their brakes," Daniel said. "A guy right in front of me went down and there was nowhere I could go. It seemed like a relatively straight-forward crash at the time. But when I felt my collarbone, it felt kind of strange. It wasn't painful though, so I tried to ride a bit. But it didn't feel right. I knew there was no point in trying to finish because I would not be able to start the next day."
Starting the race off the back of his first elite US national title, and overall Tour de Beauce victory, Daniel's 2016 Tour of Utah is a stark contrast to 12-months prior when he won the KOM jersey and a blow to the team as general manager Axel Merckx added.
"It is just bad luck," Merckx said. "Greg being in the national champion jersey in the U.S. and crashing after three stages and breaking his collarbone is too bad for him and a huge loss for us. I am really looking forward to getting him back on the bike. I don't know when, but hopefully at some point."