The Commonwealth Games have wrapped up and the spotlight is back on the North American racing scene at the seven-day Tour of Utah. The UCI 2.1 event kicked off a series of professional men’s races held during the months of August and September, including the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado, Tour of Alberta, the double WorldTour events in Québec City and Montreal, and the Bucks County Classic in Pennsylvania.
In addition, the women’s scene gained three one-day events held during the week of the Tour of Utah, and two are held in conjunction with the men’s race. Check out a few of the other highlights from the peloton last week and a peek at what's to come.
SmartStop’s Kocjan leads Tour of Utah; UHC’s Louder announces retirement
Team SmartStop is continuing their season’s success right into the UCI 2.1 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah as its Slovenian rider Jure Kocjan leads the overall race and the sprint competition after the second stage on Tuesday.
“The Smartstop Pro Cycling Team has worked very hard to step up their game in these prestigious races and everyone should take a little credit,” said Gord Fraser, the team’s second director at the race. “It’s a team sport and I’m truly glad to be a small part of it. Tomorrow is another day, and we’ll try our best to claim that elusive stage win. As today shows, anything is possible.”
The race kicked off in Cedar City on Monday with a 182.6km road race won by Moreno Hofland (Belkin), who took the early race lead. Kocjan was second on the day and three American riders sprinted to the top 10 including Eric Young (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) in fourth, Kiel Reijnen (UnitedHealthcare) fifth, Tanner Putt (Bissell Development) eighth and Alex Howes (Garmin-Sharp) ninth. Robin Carpenter (Hincapie Sportswear Development) picked up full points in the two available climbs to take the lead in the mountains competition.
BMC’s Michel Schär took a solo win on the second stage while Kocjan led the bunch sprint across the finish line for second place, also taking the overall race lead. Reijnen sprinted in for fourth place, Putt took seventh and is leading the young rider competition, and Brent Bookwalter (BMC) round out the top 10 in the stage. Joseph Rosskopf jumped ahead of his Hincapie Sportswear Development teammate, Carpenter, and into the lead of the mountains competition.
There are 16 teams in the event including Garmin-Sharp, Lampre-Merida, BMC Racing, Trek Factory Racing, Cannondale, Belkin Pro Cycling, UnitedHealthcare, Drapac, Novo Nordisk, Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies, Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis, Jamis-Hagens Berman, Funvic Brasilinvest-Sao Jose dos Campos, Hincapie Sportswear Development, SmartStop and Bissell Development.
UnitedHealthcare’s Jeff Louder, a resident of Utah, announced that he would retire from the professional peloton after a 14-year-long career. He won the Tour of Utah in 2008 while racing for the BMC team. He is hoping for a strong performance on the stage 6 climb up to Snowbird on Saturday, and will finish off his season at the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado and the US pro criterium championships in North Carolina.
The Tour of Utah concludes on Sunday in Park City.
Powers wins Cedar City Grand Prix; Three women’s races on offer during the Tour of Utah
US champion Alison Powers (UnitedHealthcare) won the inaugural Cedar City Grand Prix, a women’s criterium held in conjunction with stage 1 of the professional men’s Tour of Utah on Monday. The national road, time trial and criterium champion won the sprint to the line ahead of Sam Schneider (Tibco) and Tina Pic (DNA Cycling).
The Cedar City Grand Prix is one of three events held during the Tour of Utah this week. It was organized by former pro racer, Nicky Wangsgard. The women raced a 60-minute criterium right before the men were scheduled to finish.
Medalist Sports, organizers of the Tour of Utah, added the Tour of Utah Women’s Edition, a circuit race held in conjunction with stage 3 of the men’s race on August 6 at the Miller Motorsports Park. The women will complete 15 laps of a 3.5km circuit for a total of 53km. It’s the first official women’s race in the 10-year history of the Tour of Utah.
For women who want to tackle two races in one day, the Chase Pinkham Memorial Criterium offers a 50-minute race that starts at 6:00 pm, also held on August 6 in Tooele.
Boivin, Farrar top 10 in Tour of Poland sprints
Canadian rider Guillaume Boivin (Cannondale) and American rider Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) sprinted into the top 10 during the opening stages of the WorldTour Tour of Poland.
Boivin sprinted to fourth place in the event’s opener, a 226km road race from Gdansk to Bydgoszcz won by Yauheni Hutarovich (Ag2r-La Mondiale). Boivin’s fellow countryman Christian Meier (Orica-GreenEdge) placed 13th in the stage.
He went on to an eighth-place finish in the stage 2 sprint won by Petr Vakoc (Omega Pharma-QuickStep), who also took the leader’s jersey, in Warsaw. Farrar wasn’t far behind in 10th place in the stage. The American went on to finish sixth place during the stage 3 sprint won by Theo Bos (Belkin) in Rzeszów.
The Tour of Poland ends on Saturday in Kraków with a 25km time trial.
Tuft just off the podium in Commonwealth Games time trial
Canadian time trial and road champion Svein Tuft was hoping for a gold medal in the time trial at the Commonwealth Games but instead finished just off the podium if fourth place, 51 seconds behind winner Alex Dowsett (England). His fellow countryman Zach Bell placed 14th.
Leah Kirchmann, the Canadian road, time trial and criterium champion, also went into the Commonwealth Games with a goal of winning the time trial, however, a crash during the rain-soaked time trial on Thursday caused her to lose valuable minutes and she placed a disappointing 24th. Her teammates Jasmine Glaesser cracked the top 10 and Laura Brown was 16th. Kirchmann was the top placed Canadian in the road race on Sunday, finishing eighth.
Van Garderen lines up for Clásica San Sebastián
There was little rest after the Tour de France for some of its competitors including American rider Tejay van Garderen, who placed fifth overall at the French Grand Tour a week ago and then lined up for the one-day race in Spain on Saturday. He finished the race in 58th place while working for his BMC teammate and eighth-place finisher Greg Van Avermaet. American teammates Chad Haga and Lawson Craddock (Giant-Shimano) were also in the race and finished 82nd and 88th on the day.
Olds sprints to the top 10 at Sparkassen Giro World Cup
American rider Shelley Olds (Alé Cipollini) sprinted to 10th place at the Sparkassen Giro elite women’s World Cup, won by Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv), in Germany on Sunday. She has had a series of top-10 finishes on the world-class stage at the La Course by Le Tour de France, stages of the Giro Rosa, Tour of Zhoushan Island, Tour of Chongming Island, Festival Luxembourgeois du cyclisme féminin Elsy Jacobs, Grand Prix de Dottignies, Novilon EDR Cup, Ladies Tour of Qatar and at the Ronde van Drenthe, along with wins at the Winston-Salem Cycling Classic, GP Comune di Cornaredo and two stages at the Vuelta Internacional Femenina a Costa Rica.
Holloway and Van Gilder win Iron Hill Twilight
Daniel Holloway (Athlete Octane) and Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom) won the Iron Hill Twilight men’s and women’s criterium on Saturday in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
Holloway out-sprinted Bobby Lea (Custom Velo) and David Cueli (Team UnitedHealthcare/The 706 Project) to take the men’s win. Van Gilder won the women’s race ahead of Amy Cutler (FCS|Zngine p/b Mr. Restore) and Kacey Lloyd (Fearless Femme).
It was the ninth round of the USA CRITS Series held on a one kilometer course, and over eight city blocks, featuring four 90-degree turns and one short rise.
Frank Travieso (UnitedHealthcare of Georgia p/b The 706 Project) is leading the men’s USA CRITS Series ahead of his teammate Cueli and David Guttenplan (SeaSucker-Guttenplan Coaching). Van Gilder is leading the women’s series ahead of her teammate Laura Jorgensen and Erica Allar (Colavita-Fine Cooking).
Stay tuned to Cyclingnews next Tuesday for our next weekly edition of race recaps and previews of what’s ahead in the North American road racing scene.