Effort hurts Australian's heart more than his legs
Ben Day (UnitedHealthcare) came agonisingly close to his first win since 2011 on Saturday, chased down by eventual stage winner, Cadel Evans (BMC) in the final hundred metres at the Tour of Alberta.
"I was able to finish in 4th place, but I wanted the win," Day said. "Congrats to Cadel on the Aussie win."
Prior to the Tour of Alberta, the pair last went head-to-head in 2007 at the Settimana Coppi e Bartali. Day was riding for the Navigators team, Evans Predictor-Lotto.
Day has come close to the win on the number of occasions this season specifically in time trials, only to come up just short with podiums at the Tour de Beauce and Tour of the Gila. Saturday's result was his best to date in 2013 in a road race. It has however, been a while between drinks – 896 days in fact.
The Australian finished fourth across the finish line, behind the former World Champion and Tour de France winner, Simon Geschke (Argos-Shimano) and Ton Jelte Slagter (Belkin). The 34-year-old Australian, a multi-time winner of the San Dimas Stage Race, Tour de Beauce as well as a former winner of the national time trial championship had been part of the breakaway which formed 18 kilometres in to the 170km stage.
Day, who for several seasons has been based in the US, attacked the five remaining members of the break with two kilometres left to race only to be caught in sight of the finish. A noted time trialist, Day's effort could not withstand the charge of his WorldTour rivals and nor was it good enough to be deemed the day's most-aggressive ride with the prize awarded to the Canadian National Team's Antoine Duchesne.
"So close!" he said following the stage. "That finish hurt my heart more than my legs. We had a good working breakaway throughout the stage that split up over the climbs of the day and I was feeling pretty strong. I thought my best card was to try a surprise attack with 2km to go and I got a decent gap straight away. But four guys versus one meant that they came back to me with 100m or 200m to go and I couldn't hold them off."
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