Francisco Mancebo Wins 2009 Tour of Utah for Rock Racing

News & Results

08/24/2009| 0 comments
by Thomas Valentinsen

Francisco Mancebo Wins 2009 Tour of Utah for Rock Racing

Stage 5 on the 2009 Tour of Utah was a showcase for the best sprinters and their teams.

The race was held on a 1.5 km rectangular course encompassing Library and Washington Squares in downtown Salt Lake City. Bernie Sulzberger (Fly V Australia) took home the days honors followed closely by US Professional Criterium champion John Murphy (OUCH), and Chris Barton (BMC).

Stage 5 on the 2009 Tour of Utah was a showcase for the best sprinters and their teams.

The race was held on a 1.5 km rectangular course encompassing Library and Washington Squares in downtown Salt Lake City. Bernie Sulzberger (Fly V Australia) took home the days honors followed closely by US Professional Criterium champion John Murphy (OUCH), and Chris Barton (BMC).

Early rains gave way to overcast skies in time for the day’s stage. The course was warmed up by local amateur races, as well as kids participating in the Shimano youth series races. It was a rare opportunity to compete on the same course as the professionals.

The crowds were electrified by an early break away featuring local favorite David Zabriskie (Garmin-Slipstream). Zabriskie was joined by David Veilleux (Kelly Benefit Strategies), Brent Bookwalter (BMC), and Amateur national Criterium champion Justin England (California Giant Strawberry).

Zabriskie drove the break to a maximum lead of 30 seconds in front of his home town crowd. Rock Racing kept the pace high to discourage attacks in defense of overall race leader Francisco Mancebo. Ouch-Maxxis put in some impressive work to bring the break back and set up the sprint for Murphy.

The break was brought back by the midway point and OUCH-Maxxis fired up their lead out train to set up their sprinter. In the finale Sulzberger played the spoiler as he launched his sprint off of the OUCH-Maxxis train and held on for the win.

Following a monstrous effort on yesterday’s “queen stage” in the 2009 Tour of Utah, which comfortably preserved his overall lead, Team Rock Racing’s Francisco Mancebo sealed the victory after today’s fifth and final stage. Mancebo maintained a 46 second advantage over second place finisher Darren Lill of Team Type 1.  

Rock Racing leaves Utah as the top team, owning spots on the podium for three of five stages including a dramatic Stage 1 win that saw Mancebo and teammate Oscar Sevilla ride to victory in a 1-2 solo Rock Racing finish. 

Mancebo’s win is Rock Racing’s 32nd of the year to go along with 67 podium (top three) placings. It is also the Spaniard’s first overall title at a stage race in the United States.

“This was a very important win for me and for the team,” Mancebo, a first time competitor at the Tour of Utah commented after the stage. “The terrain was challenging and the caliber of riders was extremely high. There are a lot of young, talented riders here in the U.S. and it was a very good race .”

“Mancebo is an unbelievable rider and this is an unbelievable team,” said Rock Racing owner Michael Ball.  “We rode this race with technically only six riders,” he said, referring to the loss of Nic Sanderson and David Vitoria who were forced to pull out due to injury and illness and replaced at the last minute by riders Sergio Hernandez and Enrique Gutierrez, who were not part of the team’s pre-tour training camp in Reno, Nevada.

“Training camp and twelve days at altitude really paid off,”

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