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"I had a lot of cramps the whole downhill. But then, in the last five kilometers, it got better. I got some power again and I was on my threshold. But with 500 meters to go, I got a big cramp on my right side. I pushed through it."

Photo: Sirotti

CADEL EVANS

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MICHAEL SCHÄR

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TOUR OF UTAH

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06.08.2014 @ 12:38 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Michael Schär took the biggest win of his career when he narrowly held off the peloton in a dramatic finale of stage 2 of the Tour of Utah. Having spent the entire day in a breakway, the former Swiss champion was suffering from cramps in the final 40km and thought it was all over when they started again just 500m from the line.

 

BMC Racing Team's Michael Schär soloed the final 60 kilometers out of the day's breakaway, survived a bout of leg cramps and held off a furious chase to score his first victory of the season Tuesday on Stage 2 of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah.  Schär saw a more than four-minute lead over the top of the last climb – 38 kilometers from the finish –  reduced to seconds inside the final kilometer of the 210.3-km race.

 

"The finish line really could not come soon enough," Schär said. "I had a lot of cramps the whole downhill. But then, in the last five kilometers, it got better. I got some power again and I was on my threshold. But with 500 meters to go, I got a big cramp on my right side. I pushed through it and I didn't look back any more. I remembered never to look back – to never give them anything."

 

Schär crossed the finish line two seconds ahead of Jure Kocjan (Team SmartStop Pro Cycling) who assumed the race lead.

 

"I gave it all I had to the line," Schär said. "They say if you never try, you never win. I am not a sprinter. I am not a super good climber. I have to win my races from breakaways." 


Schär's nearly 200 kilometers on the front of the race began with five others. One-by-one, they fell away as four categorized climbs were tackled, the last of which was where Schär shook free from Joey Rosskopf (Hincapie Sportswear Development Team).

 

"We really knew this was a day Michi could stay away if he got over the top of Boulder Mountain," BMC Racing Team Sport Director Jackson Stewart said. "In the grand scheme of things, we didn't necessarily want him to take the yellow jersey. But we wanted to be represented, go for the stage win and not miss out on a group that would affect the general classification."

 

Schär – who earned most aggressive rider honors for his heroics – missed taking the race lead by two seconds. Four other BMC Racing team riders finished in the top 15 on the stage, including Cadel Evans, who is now fifth overall, 12 seconds off the lead.

Evans said he was especially happy to see Schär earn his second career victory. The 2013 Swiss national road champion helped Evans win the Tour de France in 2011.

 

"It was a pretty hard day for everyone today. Of course for Michi, it was probably the hardest day of all," Evans said. "But even in the group, it was solid chasing behind. So it was interesting to see which teams had the strength and I think we softened a few legs up. We will see Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday how the guys rebound from their efforts."

 

The BMC Racing Team kept its lead in the team classification with Evans placing sixth, Brent Bookwalter 10th, Ben Hermans 11th and Dylan Teuns 15th. Wednesday's stage is 190.3 km with only one categorized climb and finishes at the Miller Motorsports Park.

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