American Tommy Danielson won the Tour of Utah on Sunday, despite finishing third behind Spain’s Francisco Macebo in the sixth stage.
Danielson, riding for Garmin-Sharp, finished with an overall time of 23 hours, 5 minutes, 45 seconds. He was second Saturday in the fifth stage.
The difference for Danielson ended up being the final climb over Empire Pass. He left nothing to chance, breaking away from the Peloton at the start of the climb and creating a large enough time gap to give himself a cushion on the descent into Park City.
Danielson calculated the risk of burnout from pushing so hard early in the climb. He kept a steady pace to the top to position himself for the overall win.
“I knew that the climb was suited well to me – being steep like that for a long time and at altitude,” Danielson said. “So I knew I had to take everyone to their limits, including myself, and try to get away at the bottom.”
Macebo, riding for 5-Hour Energy, earned the stage victory after catching Danielson and passing him on the final 3 kilometres. Macebo crossed the finish line in 3:12:52.
He led for most of the race after joining an initial group of 15 riders that broke out in front. Macebo stayed strong even as others in the group faded away in the Wasatch Mountains.
“I hit the climb and tried to find my own pace without getting too nervous,” Macebo said through a translator. “I wanted to be focused on my own pace more than any gap or any descent with the rest of the guys.”
Colombia’s Janier Alexis Acevedo, riding for Jamis-Hagens Berman, finished a bike-length behind Macebo.
Danielson placed 4 seconds behind the winner after leading for 5 miles when he overtook Macebo on Empire Pass.
Chris Horner, the overall leader after the fifth stage, finished second overall – 1:29 behind Danielson. Acevedo’s strong finish boosted him to third, 1:37 behind Danielson. American Lucas Euser was fourth at 2:02 back, and countryman Matthew Busche finished fifth at 2:06 back.
Australian sprinter Michael Matthews claimed two stage victories during the Tour.