Tom Danielson wins Tour of Utah
American Thomas Danielson won the 2013 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah on Sunday, finishing third behind Spain's Francisco Mancebo 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 maker for Danielson ended up being the final climb over Empire Pass. Garmin-Sharp's strong trio Peter Stetina, Rohan Dennis and Morton set a blistering pace that shed a lot of riders.
Danielson left nothing to chance, breaking away from the peloton shortly after the start of the climb and creating a large enough time gap to give himself a cushion on the descent into Park City.
Riding solo up to the remnants of the breakaway, Danielson picked off each one and just kept going. Over the top he had more than a minute advantage over the yellow jersey and just a final descent into Park City before him.
"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."
Team RadioShack's Chris Horner, who led the Tour of Utah before the final stage and lost the lead in the final 15 kilometers, said he was happy with the result and his performance during the six days of racing.
"Garmin-Sharp today played it the right way, actually, just to drill it at the bottom so they could get Danielson loose," Horner explained. "I knew he was good yesterday. So I'm not surprised and I'm not disappointed. I got a jersey, a stage and I'm on the podium. It's the first race back in five months. Life's good."
Asked to explain the team's tactics in the final stage, Team Garmin-Sharp sports director Chann McRae said "The entire week came down to Empire Pass. The plan was to put a prodigious amount of pressure on Team RadioShack at the beginning of the climb. The team was fully committed to the tactic and Tom Danielson delivered the goods."
Mancebo, riding for 5-Hour Energy p/b Kenda, and Jamis-Hagens-Berman's Janier Acevedo, who were part of the original breakaway, caught back onto Danielson and fought it out for the stage win, while Danielson was mainly concerned with getting across the finish line to claim the overall win.
Mancebo earned the stage victory after catching Danielson and passing him in the final 3 kilometers. Mancebo crossed the finish line in 03:12:52.
He led for most of the race after joining an initial group of 15 riders that broke out in front. Mancebo 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," Mancebo 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 Mancebo. Danielson placed 4 seconds behind the winner after leading for 5 miles when he overtook Mancebo on Empire Pass.