The Colombia-registered team Gobernacion de Antioquia is prepared to use every one of its climbers to destroy the peloton during the Tour of Utah "queen" stage 5 finale that ends atop the Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort. The team intends to strip the yellow jersey off of RadioShack’s Levi Leipheimer’s back and win the overall title.
"Anything is possible, and it is possible that we will win tomorrow," Oscar Sevilla told Cyclingnews. "I think that Levi is very strong in this race, but between myself and [Sergio] Henao, we have a very strong team. The big mountains are very good for me and Henao. We are going to attack a lot and try to gain time on Levi. I really think it is possible that we can win tomorrow."
Henao opened the six-day event with a victory at the prologue, where his teammate Sevilla placed third. The stage one circuit race boasted a challenging climb where Henao and Sevilla along with Leipheimer and his teammate Janez Brajkovic rode away from the field, proving to be the four strongest climbers.
Leipheimer moved into the yellow jersey with a strong second-place performance in the time trial. He started the stage four circuit race leading the overall ahead of Brajkovic, Sevilla and Henao.
RadioShack controlled the time gap between the main field and an all-day breakaway during the demanding circuit race. However, the team lost several of its riders in the closing laps and two riders finished outside of the time limit. Leipheimer and Brajkovic were left to defend their own race leads against the relentless attacks on the climb from Gobernacio de Antioquia, among others.
"We are used to taking responsibility for defending jerseys, but this kind of race is very difficult to control," said RadioShack DS Alain Gallopin. "If the Colombian riders are too strong, there isn't much we can do. Levi and Jani are very strong, but we don't have a team like HTC here in Utah."
Henao attacked on the last lap and gained 31 seconds ahead of the main field that included Leipheimer. He surpassed Brajkovic in the overall classification and is sitting in second place, 23 seconds behind Leipheimer. Brajkovic is now sitting in third place 27 seconds back and Sevilla is sitting in fourth place 29 seconds back, heading into the final stage.
"I made a strong attack and it was hard," Henao said. "I had to attack hard to try and gain some more time. Every second is important to me. We were happy to win the stage today, but I still needed to get some seconds for the overall. Tomorrow will be really hard and we intend to continue attacking like today."
Henao’s teammate Javier Acevedo won the stage and believes that his teammates have a strong chance at winning the overall title, if they play their cards right. "The race is not lost and we are hanging in second and fourth. We are going to give it our all to win tomorrow."
Other riders that moved further ahead in the overall standings and could play a major factor into the outcome of the Tour of Utah include Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Cervelo), Timmy Duggan (Liquigas-Cannondale), Francisco Mancebo (RealCyclist.com), Javier Acevedo (Gobernacion de Antioquia), Tejay Van Garderen (HTC-Highroad) and Pat McCarty (SpiderTech p/b C10).
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Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in bike racing from the grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all cycling disciplines, edits news and writes features. Currently the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten coordinates global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.
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