We came into the 2017 Larry H Miller Tour of Utah with a clear purpose.
Develop our new crop of fresh young talent. Our team in Utah has an average age of 21, with Nick Zukowsky we have the youngest rider in the race. Last year we exceeded expectations on stage one. This year, we have a fresh new class and we’re turning these guys into the surprises of the future.
The team presentations are always fun at races like this. It helps build the anticipation and is fun to share more relaxed time with the fans and race organizers.
We are here to race aggressive, animate the race and go for stage wins. During stage 1, 4 and 5 we did this with Zukowsky, Bassett, Roberge and Cote all active in breaks. On the 201km stage 4 Emile and Pier-Andre were able to organize in the finish with “PA” coming 9th – an impressive ride for a 20 year old rider. PA is developing his timing and speed in the sprints.
Nigel Ellsay continues to develop in both his climbing and time trialling. He rode front group in the hardest stages and sits top 20 on GC. Fingers crossed for the Queen Stage to Snowbird.
Pier-André’s aggressive riding is getting noticed.
— The Tour of Utah (@TourofUtah) 5 August 2017
Nigel rode a smart, measured stage 6 – moving up to 13th on the overall classification. He finished 18th at the summit of the Snowbird ascent. Two and half minutes behind the GC favourites, after 10km of climbing that topped out at 2,417m elevation.
The rest of the team assumed break duty. Everyone took a dig – effervescent Zukowsky succumbed to fatigue and saddle sores on this short tough day. And we lost Emile, race doctors assessed Emile with a concussion after his stage 5 crash and recommended he not start.
The staff work tirelessly in a big tour like Utah. We’ll bring up to 7 staff to manage a race like Utah. A World Tour team will have 10 or 11 staff to support 8 riders. Caro, Laney, Richard, Yohan and Gord work long days and GM Scott comes in to make sure everything runs smoothly.
The final stage was a just a great day of bike racing. An urban circuit, with a tricky climb and everyone came out to play. Rally rode a perfect race to deliver (fellow Canadian) Rob Britton to the overall win. Impressive. For us, we continued being aggressive with Stephen, PA and even Nigel hunting opportunities and being in the fight.
Pier-André won the Fan Favourite prize for the entire tour, thanks to his scrappy aggressive riding all week. Nigel rode a very consistent race to finish 13th overall. This GC result for Nigel is a breakthrough, he’s shown impressive development in his climbing and we’re excited to see how he progresses.
A Tough tour for us, yet I saw confidence growing throughout the week. And Nigel confirms as one of the domestic peloton’s top talents.
– Gord Fraser, Team Director