Logan Owen of Bremerton, Wash., delivered the biggest win of his career and of his team's season with a fantastic sprint in the third stage of the Tour of Utah. Owen followed BMC's leadout for Brett Bookwalter perfectly, coming past his countryman and Edwin Avila of the Colombia squad to win on the throw.
It was, as Qwen said, the win was a very big deal.
I still cannot believe I just won the biggest race of my career thetourofutah today, it's so surreal.… https://t.co/95KFYgToPB— Logan Owen (@logansowen) August 5, 2015
But not completely out of the blue... just almost. He had finished sixth in yesterday's bunch gallop, so clearly Owen was adapting pretty well to the wide streets of Utah, not to mention the altitude and the style of an American stage race. Nope, no shockers there. What's a bit more shocking is that he's just 20 years old, racing on a continental team, and known more for his potential as a cyclocross racer than a roadie. But that's the thing about perceptions... if they don't capture the reality of a rider who has been dedicating himself to the road and who is just plain strong, then the perceptions might struggle to match up with reality.
Meanwhile, Bainbridge Island, Washington's own Kiel Reijnen retains the overall lead in the race after winning stage 1 from a small break and contesting the other sprints well enough to keep a few seconds in hand. Bainbridge Island and Bremerton are close enough to swim from one to the other, if the water weren't way too cold, and both are places you can take a ferry to from downtown Seattle. Do I sound like Vin Scully right now? Maybe. Deal with it. Anyway, the two almost-Seattleites are nine years apart in age, so I think the coincidences stop there. Well, except that neither one is a pick to win tomorrow when the big climbs start. I know so little about Owen that if he shadows Horner all day I guess I'll have to update my thinking. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.
Tour of Utah Stage 4: Time to Get Nasty
Here's the profile of the newly-designed Soldier Valley loop that makes up tomorrow's fourth stage in Utah, and probably the first stage to start sorting out the GC.
The description sounds like a rough 200km in the saddle:
The first obstacle after leaving Soldier Hollow is Daniels Canyon, with a KOM at Daniels Summit. The next section features heavy crosswinds as riders move past Strawberry Reservoir and into Duchesne County, home to a large stretch of the Uinta National Forest. There, riders will face a daunting 10-mile, Category 2 climb up to Wolf Creek Pass. Once they crest the 9300-foot summit, riders will then quickly descend through the town of Woodland and back toward Wasatch County and Soldier Hollow. The challenges will continue as riders endure a long, slightly uphill sprint before crossing the elevated finish line—one that lets fans get a full view of the finish.
Crosswinds! The major climb should be enough to get rid of the pretenders, permanently, though the gaps may not be significant and I don't think you'll see the main guys finishing alone. But this will be a hard day and it has potential to be a fascinating one as well.
Something's Awesome in Denmark
MTN-Qhubeka just put the hammer down on the Post Danmark Rundt second stage by leading out its two sprinters Edvald Boasson Hagen and Kristian Sbaragli to a 1-2 finish, shown above, on the day. Boasson Hagen continues to win in Scandinavia, having already taken road and time trial nats titles in Norway as well as a stage of the Tour dej Fjords. He's still winless everywhere else but that's a start.
Astana Still Ticking
A couple months after its near-death experience before the UCI, which landed them on double-secret probation in April, the team has kept on doing its thing, and this week should be a triumphant one. Lars Boom has the overall lead in Denmark after a solo win in stage 1 yesterday, and with a flat time trial on the dock Boom is a pretty strong bet to sail to the overall victory -- proving once again that you can make a good living in this sport by massively inflating people's expectations, failing to meet any of them, but nonetheless winning secondary events or stages of races and still pay the bills. Meanwhile, they took the TTT at stage 2 of the Vuelta a Burgos, the preeminent Vuelta a Espana tuneup race, and placed Luis Leon Sanchez in the leader's jersey in the process.
Vuelta a Burgos?
Yep. the Vuelta a Burgos. It's a very cool stage race that has been known to serve as a nice little preview of the Vuelta, at least for a few guys. You don't need to get very excited about tomorrow, but Friday should be a big deal:
And then there's the Queen Stage on Saturday, the final event.
That's a lot of work. There aren't a ton of stars there, considering the rumors that Quintana and Froome will renew hostilities, along with Nibali, at the Vuelta, and all those guys are resting for now. But Mikel Landa is one of the year's revelations, and Astana have him in position to make a move. Dani Moreno and Winner Anacona are probably next on the list of guys to watch for the overall win, though the startlist is loaded with climbers (Trofimov, Scarponi, Davi Arroyo, Amets Txurruka, and so on).