Tour of Utah Stage 2: Hermans dominates on Powder Mountain

Last year’s Belgian runner-up wins queen stage ahead of Piccoli and Eg, takes over race lead

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

After slotting second overall at the Tour of Utah in 2018, Belgian Ben Hermans took a big step toward ascending that final podium place, winning the queen stage of this year’s race on Wednesday.

Hermans (Israel Cycling Academy) was the last man standing on stage 2’s brutal finishing climb up Powder Mountain, an 8.6-mile hors categorie ascent that averaged 9 percent, had maximum pitches of 15 percent, and topped out at a skyscraping 8,900 feet. All told there was 7,310 feet of climbing in the 84.4-mile leg tester that started just after noon in Brigham City.

At the finish, Hermans crossed the line in 3:37:44, 22 seconds ahead of James Piccoli (Elevate-KHS), with Trek-Segafedo’s Niklas Eg coming home third, at 0:35. Americans Peter Stetina (Trek-Segafredo) and Joe Dombrowski (EF Education First) completed the top 5, at 0:58 and 1:26 respectively. There were time bonuses of 10, 6, and 2 for the top 3, meaning the updated GC includes the same riders in the same order, with time gaps of 0:26, 0:52, 1:10, and 1:33.

The 33-year-old Hermans is a former WorldTour rider who’s ridden in six grand tours and spent four years each with Radio Shack and then BMC before hooking on with the Israel team two years ago.

“I knew I had to be in really good shape on this climb because you can make a lot of time but also lose a lot of time,” said Hermans. “I hoped for the best legs and I had a really good feeling on the climb so I’m happy to take the win.”

Following a fairly predictable start that saw a 6-man breakaway stay away for much of the day, the real racing began about 3 miles up the final climb. Already the 100-plus-rider field had been whittled down to about 20. That initial selection included the top 5 on the stage, plus then-race-leader Lawson Craddock (EF Education First), his teammate Lachlan Morton, Keegan Swirbul (Worthy), and Rally-UHC comrades Kyle Murphy and Rob Britton, himself a former Tour of Utah race winner.

A mile later, with the sun beating down, Stetina was the first to move, pushing off the front with Dombrowski leading the chase behind. That acceleration quickly unhitched an already fading Craddock, who was never really a threat to keep the jersey. The Texan ended up 12th at 3:10 and is now ninth overall, at 2:56.

Back at the front, Stetina continued to push the pace, apparently recovered from his effort at the Leadville Trail 100 MTB race last Saturday, where he finished fourth. Hermans and Piccoli now led the chase at 20 seconds, with Eg and Dombrowski riding together another five seconds back. But it was not to be for the EF team leader, who popped off the young Dane’s wheel, eventually settling for fifth on what had to be considered a disappointing day for the U.S.-based pink-clad squad.

At the 3-mile-to-go mark, Hermans and Piccoli latched onto a fading Stetina’s back wheel, with Piccoli immediately going to the front while shooting a menacing glare at the TV moto. It was perhaps a message of “I’m still here” following Tuesday’s incident when the Elevate rider was penalized 20 seconds for drafting off his team car following an untimely puncture with about 7.5 miles left in the stage. Whatever the case, Piccoli clearly had good legs, as he was able to quickly saw off Stetina, leaving just Hermans to contend with.

Belgian Ben Hermans solos to victory at stage 2 of the 2019 Tour of Utah. Photo: Casey B. Gibson |

But the Belgian got the better of that final showdown, twisting the throttle with about 2.3 miles to go and dropping Piccoli. Behind that duo, Eg caught and passed his Trek teammate Stetina. And that’s how it stayed all the way to the finish, with Hermans cranking out a rapid tempo on his rim brake-equipped De Rosa bike, then crossing the finish alone at the top of the tour’s hardest climb.

“I took my time until 4km to go,” explained Hermans of the stage’s end game. “It was a little early to attack, but I took my chance and got 20 seconds pretty quickly. From there, I knew the chance was big that I could win the stage, but it was a hard fight to the finish. The last 3km was brutal.”

The question now is whether Hermans and his team can stand up to the rigors of defending his lead with four more days of tough racing to go.

“You have the legs or you don’t. You can handle the altitude of you can’t. You can either handle the heat or you cannot,” he said. “I’m pretty good in the altitude and in the heat so I think that’s why I really like to race in Utah… My form was good last year, it’s good this year. I’m leading this race now and I’ll try to keep the jersey.”

How it unfolded

As if often the case, the beginning of stage 2 at the Tour of Utah was fast and furious affair, as rider after rider tried to find their way into the inevitable breakaway. But nothing stuck early on, leading to a near full field sprint at the first sprint point in Brigham City. There it was Marco Canola (Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizane) getting the better of Travis McCabe (Worthy), who despite being considered the race’s top fastman, has done little in the first three days of racing.

Finally, with an hour of racing in the book, a break established with Mika Heming (Dauner Akkon) and Ignacia Prado (Canel’s Specialized) getting away. They were soon joined by Chris Heider (Dauner Akkon), Austin Stephens (303 Project), Travis Samuel (DC Bank), and Quinten Kirby (Wildlife Generation). Heider was best placed on GC, at 5:43, which meant the field was more than content to let the six riders go away. Their gap would top out around 3.5 minutes, as the race rolled toward its date with Powder Mountain.

Prado, who along with Samuel, was off the front for the second day in a row, was the star of the breakaway. The reigning Mexican nation road race champion took top points at the ensuing two sprint lines, and atop the cat. 2 North Ogden Divide climb. But perhaps Prado was a little too ambitious, as he ended up missing the time cut by 50 seconds, earning disqualification from the race.

With 10 miles to go, and EF Education First upping the pace at the front of the field, the break started to unravel. Kirby was already gone. Then Stephens, Heider and Prado fell back, leaving Samuel and Heming to duke it out for the most aggressive rider prize, which often goes to whoever is the last breakaway survivor. The two riders fought to an entertaining stalemate, finally being absorbed with 9 miles to go.

That set the stage for Hermans and company to come to the front to fight for the day’s real prizes.

Up next

Next up at the Tour of Utah is stage 3’s 85.9-mile ride from Antelope State Park to North Salt Lake. After crossing the 7-mile causeway, the race will wind through the communities of West Point, Layton, Kaysville, Fruit Heights and Farmington. Most of the 5,895 feet of climbing comes when the route skirts the Wasatch Mountains south of Layton, with three Category 3 climbs in the final 29 miles

Following a punchy KoM up the Bountiful Bench, the route follows a new southbound stretch of Bountiful Boulevard for finishing circuits in first-time host city North Salt Lake. Riders will get a view across the valley of the Great Salt Lake, then make a right turn on Indian Springs Road for 3.75 laps of a 6-mile circuit. Two of those laps will award KoM points before the stage winner is decided in front of Eaglewood Golf Course. On paper it looks like a great day for a breakaway to survive.

The Larry H.Miller Tour of Utah Stage 2 Results

1HERMANS BenIsrael Cycling Academy3:37:44
2PICCOLI JamesElevate - KHS Pro Cycling0:20
3EG NiklasTrek - Segafredo0:35
4STETINA PeterTrek - Segafredo0:58
5DOMBROWSKI JoeEF Education First1:26
6MURPHY KyleRally UHC Cycling1:31
7BRITTON RobRally UHC Cycling1:36
8ALMEIDA JoãoHagens Berman Axeon1:54
9BADILATTI MatteoIsrael Cycling Academy2:37
10BOWDEN ScottTeam BridgeLane2:52
11BONGIORNO Francesco ManuelNeri Sottoli - Selle Italia - KTM2:59
12CRADDOCK LawsonEF Education First3:10
13EASTER Griffin303Project3:10
14MANNION GavinRally UHC Cycling3:33
15QUINTANA DayerNeri Sottoli - Selle Italia - KTM3:49
16SWIRBUL KeeganFloyd's Pro Cycling4:39
17SANTOS EfrénCanel's - Specialized4:47
18HOEHN AlexAevolo4:50
19LÓPEZ Juan PedroTrek - Segafredo5:17
20VERMAERKE KevinHagens Berman Axeon5:23
21VOLLMER AndrewAevolo5:31
22MORTON LachlanEF Education First5:41
23BOIVIN GuillaumeIsrael Cycling Academy5:52
24FRAYRE EderDCBank Pro Cycling Team6:00
25ANDERSON EdwardHagens Berman Axeon7:12
26ȚVETCOV SergheiFloyd's Pro Cycling7:24
27FIORELLI FilippoNippo Vini Fantini Faizanè7:30
28NIV GuyIsrael Cycling Academy7:39
29DE LUNA Flavio Alejandro303Project7:39
30FONT Bernat303Project7:53
31MCCORMICK HaydenTeam BridgeLane7:53
32SCHÖNBERGER SebastianNeri Sottoli - Selle Italia - KTM8:33
33FORTUNATO LorenzoNeri Sottoli - Selle Italia - KTM8:33
34MOSCA JacopoTrek - Segafredo8:33
35SÁNCHEZ Óscar EduardoCanel's - Specialized8:40
36ALARCÓN Pablo AndresCanel's - Specialized8:41
37BAUER DominikDauner D&DQ-Akkon9:26
38SUNDERLAND DylanTeam BridgeLane10:20
39VELASCO SimoneNeri Sottoli - Selle Italia - KTM10:20
40ZACCANTI FilippoNippo Vini Fantini Faizanè10:31
41DANIEL GregoryDCBank Pro Cycling Team10:48
42SCHUNK ConorAevolo10:57
43CHEYNE JordanElevate - KHS Pro Cycling11:20
44COWAN AlexanderFloyd's Pro Cycling12:11
45EARLE NathanIsrael Cycling Academy12:26
46EASTER Cullen303Project12:50
47NEWKIRK Isaiah303Project13:44
48ZARDINI EdoardoNeri Sottoli - Selle Italia - KTM13:48
49THIBAULT Jean-DenisDCBank Pro Cycling Team14:00
50VODICKA CamdenWildlife Generation p/b Maxxis15:10
51SANTAROMITA IvanNippo Vini Fantini Faizanè16:08
52ORONTE EmersonRally UHC Cycling16:12
53CASTILLO Ulises AlfredoElevate - KHS Pro Cycling16:53
54WOLFE BenArapahoe - Hincapie p/b BMC16:56
55BASSETT StephenWildlife Generation p/b Maxxis16:56
56BICKMORE CadeAevolo16:56
57ROJAS Gabriel FranciscoAevolo17:40
58REVARD ThomasHagens Berman Axeon17:59
59HOWES AlexEF Education First17:59
60MCCABE TravisFloyd's Pro Cycling18:20
61DEBEAUMARCHÉ NicolasTrek - Segafredo18:27
62OIEN JustinArapahoe - Hincapie p/b BMC18:39
63LINDORFF TylerTeam BridgeLane18:39
64EISENHART TaylorArapahoe - Hincapie p/b BMC18:39
65PUTT TannerArapahoe - Hincapie p/b BMC18:39
66MAGNER TyRally UHC Cycling18:42
67SIMPSON GeorgeElevate - KHS Pro Cycling18:42
68ZIMMER MattDCBank Pro Cycling Team18:42
69BACA Tony303Project19:10
70FLAKSIS AndžsArapahoe - Hincapie p/b BMC19:27
71ÁVILA EdwinIsrael Cycling Academy19:48
72HATSUYAMA ShoNippo Vini Fantini Faizanè20:03
73CANOLA MarcoNippo Vini Fantini Faizanè20:03
74SCHREURS HamishIsrael Cycling Academy20:29
75MARENGO UmbertoNeri Sottoli - Selle Italia - KTM20:58
76LONARDI GiovanniNippo Vini Fantini Faizanè20:58
77LEPLINGARD AntoineDCBank Pro Cycling Team21:06
78ELLSAY NigelRally UHC Cycling21:39
79RICE MichaelHagens Berman Axeon21:39
80HUFFMAN EvanRally UHC Cycling21:39
81FLAUTT OliverDauner D&DQ-Akkon21:39
82MCGILL ScottAevolo21:45
83LARA FranciscoCanel's - Specialized21:57
84RHIM BrendanArapahoe - Hincapie p/b BMC22:05
85GRANIGAN NoahFloyd's Pro Cycling22:05
86DAVIS ColeHagens Berman Axeon22:05
87CLARKE JonathanFloyd's Pro Cycling22:08
88TOOVEY AydenTeam BridgeLane22:19
89WHELAN JamesEF Education First22:19
90BRUNNER EricAevolo22:25
91BRYON MiguelArapahoe - Hincapie p/b BMC22:48
92RODRIGUEZ AlfredoElevate - KHS Pro Cycling22:57
93PALMA LeonelCanel's - Specialized22:57
94YOUNG EricElevate - KHS Pro Cycling22:57
95CHANCE MaxxWildlife Generation p/b Maxxis22:57
96ROSS KentWildlife Generation p/b Maxxis22:57
97JEAN ÉmileFloyd's Pro Cycling22:57
98BOARDMAN SamuelWildlife Generation p/b Maxxis22:57
99MAMOS PhilippDauner D&DQ-Akkon23:13
100THURAU SvenDauner D&DQ-Akkon23:44
101STEPHENS Austin303Project25:03
102GULLICKSON FinnWildlife Generation p/b Maxxis25:30
1HERMANS BenIsrael Cycling Academy7:10:07
2PICCOLI JamesElevate - KHS Pro Cycling0:26
3EG NiklasTrek - Segafredo0:52
4STETINA PeterTrek - Segafredo1:10
5DOMBROWSKI JoeEF Education First1:33
6MURPHY KyleRally UHC Cycling1:35
7ALMEIDA JoãoHagens Berman Axeon1:46
8BRITTON RobRally UHC Cycling1:47
9CRADDOCK LawsonEF Education First2:56
10BADILATTI MatteoIsrael Cycling Academy2:58
11BOWDEN ScottTeam BridgeLane3:08
12EASTER Griffin303Project3:23
13BONGIORNO Francesco ManuelNeri Sottoli - Selle Italia - KTM3:37
14MANNION GavinRally UHC Cycling3:40
15QUINTANA DayerNeri Sottoli - Selle Italia - KTM4:16
16SWIRBUL KeeganFloyd's Pro Cycling4:48
17HOEHN AlexAevolo5:00
18VERMAERKE KevinHagens Berman Axeon5:37
19MORTON LachlanEF Education First5:54
20BOIVIN GuillaumeIsrael Cycling Academy6:00
21LÓPEZ Juan PedroTrek - Segafredo6:01
22FRAYRE EderDCBank Pro Cycling Team6:33
23ȚVETCOV SergheiFloyd's Pro Cycling7:22
24VOLLMER AndrewAevolo7:32
25ANDERSON EdwardHagens Berman Axeon7:40
26SANTOS EfrénCanel's - Specialized7:50
27MCCORMICK HaydenTeam BridgeLane8:15
28FIORELLI FilippoNippo Vini Fantini Faizanè8:19
29SCHÖNBERGER SebastianNeri Sottoli - Selle Italia - KTM8:58
30ALARCÓN Pablo AndresCanel's - Specialized9:18
31BAUER DominikDauner D&DQ-Akkon10:06
32NIV GuyIsrael Cycling Academy10:37
33SUNDERLAND DylanTeam BridgeLane10:43
34FORTUNATO LorenzoNeri Sottoli - Selle Italia - KTM10:52
35VELASCO SimoneNeri Sottoli - Selle Italia - KTM10:59
36DANIEL GregoryDCBank Pro Cycling Team11:17
37MOSCA JacopoTrek - Segafredo11:27
38SÁNCHEZ Óscar EduardoCanel's - Specialized12:01
39DE LUNA Flavio Alejandro303Project12:53
40EARLE NathanIsrael Cycling Academy13:15
41FONT Bernat303Project13:17
42SCHUNK ConorAevolo14:01
43COWAN AlexanderFloyd's Pro Cycling14:43
44ZACCANTI FilippoNippo Vini Fantini Faizanè15:33
45ZARDINI EdoardoNeri Sottoli - Selle Italia - KTM15:54
46CHEYNE JordanElevate - KHS Pro Cycling16:14
47SANTAROMITA IvanNippo Vini Fantini Faizanè16:53
48BICKMORE CadeAevolo17:53
49HOWES AlexEF Education First18:14
50MCCABE TravisFloyd's Pro Cycling18:26
51MAGNER TyRally UHC Cycling19:18
52CASTILLO Ulises AlfredoElevate - KHS Pro Cycling19:38
53ÁVILA EdwinIsrael Cycling Academy20:04
54REVARD ThomasHagens Berman Axeon20:11
55ROJAS Gabriel FranciscoAevolo20:15
56CANOLA MarcoNippo Vini Fantini Faizanè20:43
57MARENGO UmbertoNeri Sottoli - Selle Italia - KTM21:18
58LINDORFF TylerTeam BridgeLane21:18
59BASSETT StephenWildlife Generation p/b Maxxis21:22
60ZIMMER MattDCBank Pro Cycling Team21:32
61NEWKIRK Isaiah303Project22:05
62WOLFE BenArapahoe - Hincapie p/b BMC22:07
63RICE MichaelHagens Berman Axeon22:24
64RHIM BrendanArapahoe - Hincapie p/b BMC22:24
65DAVIS ColeHagens Berman Axeon22:47
66HATSUYAMA ShoNippo Vini Fantini Faizanè23:18
67TOOVEY AydenTeam BridgeLane23:21
68EASTER Cullen303Project23:37
69DEBEAUMARCHÉ NicolasTrek - Segafredo23:38
70EISENHART TaylorArapahoe - Hincapie p/b BMC23:44
71PUTT TannerArapahoe - Hincapie p/b BMC23:47
72SCHREURS HamishIsrael Cycling Academy23:49
73LONARDI GiovanniNippo Vini Fantini Faizanè23:55
74BACA Tony303Project24:08
75FLAKSIS AndžsArapahoe - Hincapie p/b BMC24:24
76LARA FranciscoCanel's - Specialized25:15
77OIEN JustinArapahoe - Hincapie p/b BMC25:41
78ORONTE EmersonRally UHC Cycling25:51
79FLAUTT OliverDauner D&DQ-Akkon26:28
80MAMOS PhilippDauner D&DQ-Akkon26:30
81PALMA LeonelCanel's - Specialized26:31
82SIMPSON GeorgeElevate - KHS Pro Cycling26:37
83VODICKA CamdenWildlife Generation p/b Maxxis26:37
84HUFFMAN EvanRally UHC Cycling26:38
85MCGILL ScottAevolo26:56
86GRANIGAN NoahFloyd's Pro Cycling27:02
87WHELAN JamesEF Education First27:17
88CLARKE JonathanFloyd's Pro Cycling27:26
89THIBAULT Jean-DenisDCBank Pro Cycling Team27:28
90THURAU SvenDauner D&DQ-Akkon28:44
91LEPLINGARD AntoineDCBank Pro Cycling Team29:51
92BRUNNER EricAevolo30:19
93ELLSAY NigelRally UHC Cycling31:07
94ROSS KentWildlife Generation p/b Maxxis31:30
95CHANCE MaxxWildlife Generation p/b Maxxis31:33
96RODRIGUEZ AlfredoElevate - KHS Pro Cycling31:49
97YOUNG EricElevate - KHS Pro Cycling32:39
98STEPHENS Austin303Project33:13
99BOARDMAN SamuelWildlife Generation p/b Maxxis33:40
100JEAN ÉmileFloyd's Pro Cycling33:52
101BRYON MiguelArapahoe - Hincapie p/b BMC34:17
102GULLICKSON FinnWildlife Generation p/b Maxxis41:06
1MARENGO UmbertoNeri Sottoli - Selle Italia - KTM16
2CRADDOCK LawsonEF Education First12
3ÁVILA EdwinIsrael Cycling Academy10
4MCCABE TravisFloyd's Pro Cycling9
5EASTER Griffin303Project7
6ALMEIDA JoãoHagens Berman Axeon6
7SCHÖNBERGER SebastianNeri Sottoli - Selle Italia - KTM5
8CANOLA MarcoNippo Vini Fantini Faizanè3
9RICE MichaelHagens Berman Axeon3
10BOARDMAN SamuelWildlife Generation p/b Maxxis3
11MAGNER TyRally UHC Cycling2
12DAVIS ColeHagens Berman Axeon1
13VODICKA CamdenWildlife Generation p/b Maxxis1
1HERMANS BenIsrael Cycling Academy12
2BOARDMAN SamuelWildlife Generation p/b Maxxis11
3PICCOLI JamesElevate - KHS Pro Cycling10
4EG NiklasTrek - Segafredo8
5STETINA PeterTrek - Segafredo7
6DOMBROWSKI JoeEF Education First6
7MURPHY KyleRally UHC Cycling5
8BONGIORNO Francesco ManuelNeri Sottoli - Selle Italia - KTM5
9BRITTON RobRally UHC Cycling4
10ALMEIDA JoãoHagens Berman Axeon3
11STEPHENS Austin303Project3
12BADILATTI MatteoIsrael Cycling Academy2
13BOWDEN ScottTeam BridgeLane1
1ALMEIDA JoãoHagens Berman Axeon7:11:53
2HOEHN AlexAevolo3:14
3VERMAERKE KevinHagens Berman Axeon3:51
4LÓPEZ Juan PedroTrek - Segafredo4:15
5VOLLMER AndrewAevolo5:46
6ANDERSON EdwardHagens Berman Axeon5:54
7BAUER DominikDauner D&DQ-Akkon8:20
8SCHUNK ConorAevolo12:15
9BICKMORE CadeAevolo16:07
10REVARD ThomasHagens Berman Axeon18:25
11ROJAS Gabriel FranciscoAevolo18:29
12LINDORFF TylerTeam BridgeLane19:32
13DAVIS ColeHagens Berman Axeon21:01
14DEBEAUMARCHÉ NicolasTrek - Segafredo21:52
15PALMA LeonelCanel's - Specialized24:45
16VODICKA CamdenWildlife Generation p/b Maxxis24:51
17MCGILL ScottAevolo25:10
18THIBAULT Jean-DenisDCBank Pro Cycling Team25:42
19BRUNNER EricAevolo28:33
20RODRIGUEZ AlfredoElevate - KHS Pro Cycling30:03
21GULLICKSON FinnWildlife Generation p/b Maxxis39:20
1Rally UHC Cycling 21:37:23
2Trek - Segafredo0:50
3Israel Cycling Academy2:00
4EF Education First3:27
5Hagens Berman Axeon8:01
6Neri Sottoli - Selle Italia - KTM9:42
7Team BridgeLane15:04
9Floyd's Pro Cycling17:28
10Canel's - Specialized21:04
12DCBank Pro Cycling Team27:18
13Elevate - KHS Pro Cycling28:49
14Nippo Vini Fantini Faizanè29:13
15Dauner D&DQ-Akkon55:59
16Arapahoe - Hincapie p/b BMC57:04
17Wildlife Generation p/b Maxxis1:08:58

Results provided by ProCyclingStats.

Trending on Velo

An American in France

What’s it like to be an American cyclist living in France? Watch to get professional road cyclist Joe Dombrowski’s view.