Cadel Evans took a rare back-to-back victory when he won his second straight mountain stage in the Tour of Utah. The Australian admits that he had gone into the stage without too high expectations and so was surprised to take another win.
Cadel Evans won his second straight stage Sunday – the BMC Racing Team's third at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah – and Dylan Teuns took home "best young rider" honors to cap a race that saw Ben Hermans and Evans both finish in the top 10 overall.
Evans's stage win was even more dramatic than his come-from-behind sprint on Saturday to win the summit finish of the race's queen stage. This time, the past Tour de France and world road champion chased back on the high-speed descent into Park City, then slipped his four breakaway companions on a left-hand turn onto Main Street by going wide, diving inside and sprinting to comfortably take the win.
"I was pretty sure all the GC (general classification) riders were going to be pretty exhausted," Evans said. "My main concern was the Lampre riders, who had the advantage in numbers. But I conserved my energy and waited for my time. I went once, but I went with everything.
“Today came as a pleasant surprise actually. After yesterday’s effort I didn’t have too high of expectations. It’s been really hard racing, really competitive racing, at a high level every day. It’s been quite unrelenting, whether it’s flat or windy or uphill – it’s been uphill a lot – I’m coming better as the race comes on. It’s a good sign for me for my future races. Really, just a great surprise. I’ve been coming to dinner all week here in Park City on Main Street, so I’m really happy to get a stage win here as well.
"I had hopes, but after yesterday's stage I didn't have really high expectations. I must have been 150km in the break yesterday, and it takes its toll on you. I saw early in the stage that I was going OK, and then it sort of depended on the last climb, which was probably a little bit to my favor with a little bit of headwind. A lot of these GC guys are also tired from racing flat out everyday for GC, so that probably worked a little bit toward my favor.
"I had a little plan. I didn't expect to go quite so early, but I saw there were sort of hesitant, which I completely understand because they've got a lot to lose in terms of safety and so on, and I've sort of got everything to gain there. It's nice to be on the other side of the fence for once, because normally I'm the guy in GC being caught by the guys coming back, and I have to think about GC before I can think about the stage win."
Wilco Kelderman (Belkin Pro Cycling Team) was second and Winner Anacona (Lampre-Merida) finished third. Anacona's teammate, Chris Horner, finished fourth on the stage and runner-up in the overall standings to Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp), who won the overall title for the second straight year and rolled in as the fifth rider from the breakaway. Evans finished sixth in the overall standings.
Hermans fought hard on the final climb, trying to hold onto his third place overall. Injured in a crash on Friday, the runner-up finisher on Stage 4's mountain-top finish said he did not enjoy the same form from that day when the attacks started.
"Fortunately, I had a good team to help me, especially Yannick Eijssen, who pulled for me the whole climb and paced me well," Hermans said after crossing the line seventh, 25 seconds behind Evans's group.
"I thought that was good enough but the two most dangerous guys on GC both took time bonuses," he said. "When I won on Powder Mountain, there were no time bonuses, so I lost the podium by three seconds, which is really a pity."
Anacona finished third, 1:43 behind Danielson, while Hermans was at 1:46 and Kelderman was fifth at 1:49.
"I can be happy I was fourth here," Hermans said. "You never know how you will be at this altitude, especially with all these steep and long climbs. With my weight, I think it is really a good performance to make fourth here."
BMC Racing Team Sport Director Jackson Stewart said helping Hermans hold onto third place overall was the team's top priority. But going for the stage win and helping Teuns make a run at the best young rider title were also on the to-do list.
"It was great Cadel had the legs he did and Dylan had the legs he did to take the best young rider jersey," Stewart said. "Ben managed the best he could, but it was all we could do. All-in-all, it was really a good week."
Teuns said his first professional race experience was a memorable one.
"Last month, I did Giro Valle D'Aosta, a race for Under 23 riders, but this was much harder," Teuns said. "This was my first race with the team as a stagiaire and my first with Cadel. It is amazing. I learned a lot this week from him."
The BMC Racing Team, which enjoyed its other stage win on Tuesday with Michael Schár – finished second in the team classification, by eight seconds, to Lampre-Merida.
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