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“Fränk has a saddle sore, and that could become a problem, but he looks good. He was with a few guys ahead on the climb, but afterwards the peloton came back in the downhill."

Photo: Sirotti








05.08.2015 @ 14:01 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Only one climb in the 159.6-kilometer stage two in the Tour of Utah, but it was a steep 3.5 kilometers up North Ogden Divide that summited 30 kilometers from the finish, enough to whittle the peloton to 47 riders.


Matthew Busche, Fränk Schleck and Trek Factory Racing stagiaire Leonardo Basso finished with the front peloton after the punishing gradient (9% average, 12% maximum) took its toll. 



“It was a big change in weather from yesterday and that made it more difficult,” Busche said after the race. “It was fast all day and the climb was really hard, but we looked good with three of us in the final group.


“The finishing circuits were really tough with constant attacking, and the fact we are at altitude makes the racing that much harder. But today went well for us – there are lots of hard days ahead!”


The reduced bunch arrived in Ogden for three laps of 3.6 kilometers and with the breakaway tucked safely back in the fold, repeated attacks flew with numerous riders trying to spoil a bunch sprint.


However, in the end there would be no repeat of stage one: Team Smartstop’s Jure Kocjan powered to the win, while Kiel Reijnen (UnitedHealthcare) maintained his leader’s jersey with a fourth place finish.


“We knew the race would be controlled today so our plan was to have the maximum amount of guys in the lead group, and to just follow,” explained director Alain Gallopin of the team’s plan for the second stage.  “We don’t need to go in the breakaway and kill ourselves when it’s controlled like this.


“Fränk has a saddle sore, and that could become a problem, but he looks good. He was with a few guys ahead on the climb, but afterwards the peloton came back in the downhill. It’s a pity he has a saddle sore, and we will have to see what happens in the coming days.


“Matthew looks good, and the young guys [Leonardo Basso and Julien Bernard] also. Tomorrow is really hard and that will tell a lot.”


Tomorrow the Tour of Utah’s continues with stage three and entertains much more climbing with four categorized climbs in the 176-kilometer course. Judging by Tuesday’s second stage – with only one categorized uphill– it will be a decisive day for the general classification.



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