Levi Leipheimer may have won the race, but Gobernacion Deportes Antioquias stole the show. Added to the start list late in the proceedings, no one was sure what to expect of the team from Colombia. Featured rider Oscar Sevilla raced a constistantly hard race, but it was Sergio Henao who took home the biggest prize, finishing in front of Leipheimer on the final day at Snow Bird ski area. 171 km and 3000 meters of climbing on Sunday left the field shattered and scattered across the roads of northern Utah.
A last minute course change eliminated the early rolling climbs that normally force a selection shortly after leaving the start on Park City Utah. Instead the race unfolded on rolling mostly descending terrain that lead to aggressive riding but never let a group go far enough up the road to make a move stick. Consequently the entire peloton began the ascent of the Alpine Loop together after nearly 60 km of racing.
At the bottom of the climb, Realcyclist put their team on the front for Fransisco Mancebo. Attacks came immediately from Gobernacion Deportes Antioquias. Javier Acevedo of Gobernacion went first. Next went Sevilla, with Tom Danielson latched on to his wheel. A third group formed with Leipheimer Brajkovich (Radioshack) and Sergio Henao (Gobernacion). The three groups came together at 8 km to the KOM, where Acevedo went once again to remain free down twisting American Fork Canyon.
Realcycist tries to control for Mancebo
Sevilla and Tommy D on the Alpine Loop
Sevilla and Danielson On the flat roads leading to Suncrest, the break was joined by Pat McCarty and Lucas Euser of Spidertech, Chris Butler (BMC), Tim Duggan (Liquigas-Cannondale), as well as members of Bissell, GEOX and Pureblack Racing. This groups would remain together onto the lower slopes of Little Cottonwood Canyon.
A very short reprieve from the climbing
Sergio Henao and Leipheimer rode way from the group as it splintered on the steep approach to Snowbird. Danielson rode hard behind with Sevilla and Brajkovich in tow. Sevilla faltered while Danielson and Brajkovich held their positions unable to bridge the gap, which would have alternately provided Leipheimer a valuable teammate in Brajkovich and an adversary in Danielson.
You gonna do something back there?
On the line it was Henao taking home his biggest victory ever, and the boys from Colombia celebrating with champagne as the team GC winners as well. Leipheimer took home his second Tour Of Utah overall title in two attempts. Brajkovich finished third overall while building form for the Vuelta.
Best Utah Rider Jeff Louder with next Utah Rider.
Climbers Snow Flakes
As always these images are copyright Christopher See all rights reserved and used with permission.