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Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp) claimed the yellow jersey in the Tour of Utah on Sunday as Francisco Mancebo (5-Hour Energy-Kenda) won the final stage in Park City.
Mancebo won the 125.5km stage 6 circuit — which crested the Wolf Creek Ranch and Empire Pass summits for 7,633 feet in elevation gain — in a two-up sprint against Janier Acevedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman), with Danielson crossing third, four seconds later.
“I hit the [final] climb and just tried to find my own pace without getting too nervous; I focused on my pace more than the gap or the descent ahead,” said Mancebo, the 2009 Tour of Utah champion, through a translator.
“When Danielson passed me I knew I was very close to the top and it was not as steep. I just rode my pace because I knew I had my chance if I could get to the descent; Danielson was not going to take too much of a risk because he was riding for GC. But I was willing to take a risk as needed.”
With a laugh, he added: “It was a surprise for me to get Acevedo at 3 Ks. I am lucky that Acevedo did what all the Colombians do: not win in the sprint.”
With his second place finish on the stage, Acevedo vaulted himself onto the podium for third overall on G.C.
Danielson entered the final day of the six-day UCI 2.1-rated stage race tied with Horner. When the overall was tallied, Danielson stood first, with overnight leader Chris Horner (RadioShack-Leopard) demoted to second at 1:29 back, having finished eighth on the day. Acevedo finished third overall at 1:37.
“I just knew that we had to make it super hard if I was going to have a shot against Chris,” said Danielson. “I knew he was riding really well.
“I knew that the climb was suited well to me, being steep like that for a long time. I knew I had to take everyone to their limits, including myself, and try to get away at the bottom. The risk with that is that it’s such a long climb that you just fry yourself. I just kept it within myself and rode a steady, steady pace to the top and then didn’t take any risks on the descent.”
Danielson added a note of praise for his Garmin-Sharp teammates.
“I dedicate that win to my teammates, who have basically stuck with me the last years, tried to help me do that many times but I didn’t do it. I’m very happy to finally do it,” he said.
As for Horner, ever the tactician, he said he was not surprised at the way things turned out.
“Realistically, yesterday it wasn’t too difficult for me to see this coming today if Garmin played the tactics right, which they did,” he said. “As I said yesterday, Danielson was the best person on the climb. Tactically they raced wrong yesterday and they raced right today. At altitude Danielson is better; at altitude I could tell yesterday he had more punch than I did. I could see this coming, so it didn’t change my morale much when I crossed the line.
“It would have been nice to win, of course, but I always race by facts. Yesterday, tactically, we raced a brilliant race, but today no amount of tactics could help. Garmin did the job they wanted to do.”
Horner said he remains focused on doing well at the upcoming Vuelta a España.
“This was the first training race before the Tour of Spain, that’s my main objective, I’ve said that from day one,” he said. “I came in here undertrained; I would have preferred another week. But by the time the Vuelta starts I’ll be 100 percent, and I’ll be fighting for the jersey and the win there.”
• Jerseys: Michael Torckler (Bissell) held onto the mountains jersey. Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) took over the sprint jersey. Lachlan Morton (Garmin) remained in the best-young-rider jersey. The most-aggressive kit went to the day’s stage winner, Mancebo. And RadioShack-Leopard did not go away empty-handed — it won the team GC.
• Race Note: Of the 122 racers that began the week in Brian Head on August 6, 91 completed the 586-mile stage race.
Top 10 – FINAL GENERAL CLASSIFICATION
1. DANIELSON Thomas (USA) Garmin Sharp 23:05:45
2. HORNER Christopher (USA) RadioShack Leopard Trek 23:07:14 +0:01:29
3. ACEVEDO Janier Alexis (COL) Jamis-Hagens Berman 23:07:22 +0:01:37
4. EUSER Lucas (USA) UnitedHealthCare Pro Cycling 23:07:47 +0:02:02
5. BUSCHE Matthew (USA) RadioShack Leopard Trek 23:07:51 +0:02:06
6. DEIGNAN Philip (IRL) UnitedHealthCare Pro Cycling 23:08:12 +0:02:27
7. SCHAER Michael (SUI) BMC Racing 23:08:56 +0:03:11
8. JONES Carter (USA) Bissell 23:09:34 +0:03:49
9. MANCEBO Francisco (ESP) 5-Hour Energy p/b Kenda Racing 23:09:35 +0:03:50
10. MACHADO Tiago (POR) RadioShack Leopard Trek 23:09:35 +0:03:50