by Tom HARALDSEN
LAYTON—They came out in great numbers to watch Stage 3 of this year’s Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah cycling race on Aug. 9. From the starting point at the Fielding Garr Ranch on Antelope Island to the five-circuit finish in Layton Commons Park, the riders and thousands of fans gathered for a hugely successful and entertaining event. In between start and finish, the race circled through several Davis County communities and across a portion of Hill Air Force Base.
American Travis McCabe of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team turned on the afterburners in a thrilling bunch sprint on Thursday to win Stage 3. McCabe scored his second victory in three days, having won Tuesday’s Stage 1 race in Cedar City, and his fourth career stage win in Utah, with a time of 4 hours, and four minutes. Jasper Philipsen (BEL) of Hagens Berman Axeon finished a close second. Colombian Edward Avila of Jelly Belly presented by Maxxis claimed his second third-place finish this week.
“It’s pretty awesome. It’s just a roar, you can’t hear the announcers,” McCabe said about the huge crowds at the finish line in Layton City, a second-time host venue. “It’s pretty chaotic in the end and you’re in the zone and focused on the moment that is happening. But you’re also trying to think where you’re going to start the sprint, which direction the wind is coming and then when you’re doing all that, you’re trying to talk to your teammates throughout too. You have that long stretch where you can’t hear anything. It’s pretty phenomenal. It’s fun.”
The final two remaining riders of the early breakaway, Rob Britton (CAN) of Rally Cycling and Jonny Clarke (AUS) of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling, were reeled in with only eight kilometers to go, leaving the sprinters to battle at the end of 116.8 miles of racing, the longest stage of the week.
“Team strategy paid off perfectly. We knew that it was going to be a long, hot day, so we didn’t want to take full responsibility overall,” explained McCabe. “Jonny did a great job and then he got away at the end with Rob, and again allowed us not to take charge until the last minute when we used Seba (Haedo) to put me in perfect position for the sprint. It was just a drag race between Jasper and I.”
American Sepp Kuss of Team LottoNL-Jumbo finished safely in the bunch and retained the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies Overall Leader jersey. He won last Sunday’s final stage in Park City and with it the overall Tour title.
City and county officials joined the riders on stage for the post-race honors. This was the fourth consecutive year that the Tour of Utah has come to Davis County. One race official, speaking anonymously, said the Tour will likely return next summer as well.