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Smartstop’s Kocjan Wins in Utah

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Aug 5, 2015 – Team SmartStop’s Jure Kocjan (Slovenia) timed his sprint perfectly to win Stage 2 presented by Workers Compensation Fund at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah. Emerging from a reduced peloton, Kocjan, who wore the leader’s jersey for two stages in last year’s race, finished the stage in a time of three hours, 37 minutes and 27 seconds at the finish line on historic 25th Street in Ogden. A bike length separated Kocjan from second-place Robin Carpenter (USA) of Hincapie Racing Team and Brent Bookwalter (USA) of BMC Racing Team in third.

Tour of Utah/Yuzuru Sunada

“We were really disappointed yesterday. After dinner I just went to my room and stayed there and just thought about today. I was super-motivated and angry and I knew that I had to make it over this climb,” said Kocjan, who was the last rider in the breakaway to make it over the North Ogden Divide with less than 20 miles to go in the stage.

“But I made it over and once we came down, I looked back and saw that we had a big gap like 50 seconds. So I just told the guys, my teammates, go as hard as you can. I knew that there were not a lot of good sprinters in the front. I knew that if we made it to the end, I was probably the fastest one,” added Kocjan, who finished second on three stages last year in Utah.

Carpenter agreed that the climb was the decisive point of Tuesday’s stage. “If you can make it over that, then the race is yours to play with. It’s a short climb. It’s steep so if you can hold on to the power and make sure you’re in good position, then it’s not too hard to go over it.”


Overall race leader Kiel Reijnen (USA) of United Healthcare Pro Cycling Team retained his Larry H. Miller Dealerships Leader’s yellow jersey by finishing fourth on the 100.3-mile stage. Alex Howes (USA) of Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling remained second overall by finishing with the same time as Kocjan, who sits in third place overall. Carpenter vaulted to fourth in the General Classification and takes over the Subaru Best Young Rider jersey.

Blue skies and warm weather greeted the 121 racers at the start of Stage 2 presented by Workers Compensation Fund in the first-time host city of Tremonton. After a flurry of attacks at the front early in the stage, Jay Robert Thomson (South Africa) of MTN-Qhubeka presented by Samsung managed to escape solo on a flag-lined road in Thatcher with a chase group bridging up to him 10 miles later. Joining Thomson at the front were Dan Eaton (USA) of Axeon Cycling Team, Pierrick Naud (Canada) of Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies, Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA) of Jamis-Hagens Berman presented by Sutter Home, and Mackenzie Brennan (USA) of Hincapie Racing Team.

The five-rider break worked together to expand the gap on the wide, rural roads of Box Elder County, including the famous Fruit Highway (Hwy 89) before rolling along the Wasatch Front through Honeyville, Brigham City, Perry and Willard.

The UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team controlled the pace at the front of the peloton, holding the gap around the three-minute mark. Thomson took the two Utah Sports Commission Sprint Lines and moved up to fifth place in the general classification with the bonus time.

The lone Utah Office of Tourism King of the Mountain climb brought a quickening of the pace, reducing the gap to under two minutes on the lower slopes of the North Ogden Divide. The tough 10 percent average gradient proved too much for most of the riders on the break except for Eaton who crested first. Joined by Bookwalter, they sped down toward Ogden, averaging close to 60 miles per hour. The field also split on the climb, with most of the sprinters not able to follow the punishing pace.

The duo was reeled back by the 46-rider field as they approached the first of three 2.28-mile finishing laps in front of enthusiastic crowds in downtown Ogden. Attacks flew as no team was able to organize its leadout train until the bell lap, which brought Kocjan’s teammate Travis McCabe (USA) to the front. In the final straightway to the finish, McCabe swung out to force Bookwalter to open his sprint early, giving Kocjan a perfect trajectory to the line.

Eaton was awarded the Vivint Most Aggressive Rider jersey and fans have chosen Chris Horner (USA) of the Airgas Safeway Cycling Team as the America First Credit Union Fan Favorite.

Stage 3 presented by Zions Bank visits Davis County for the first time, including a start at Antelope Island State Park. The 107.9-mile Stage 3 will start at 10:05 a.m. MT on Wednesday, Aug. 5. After crossing the seven-mile causeway to the mainland, the racers will encounter familiar roads up the North Ogden Divide and the Eden Valley, but this time in a clockwise direction around Pineview Reservoir. The race will re-enter Davis County and have two nine-mile circuits in Bountiful, which include a difficult climb on 400 North along the Bountiful Bench.

Final kilometers of Stage 2

Results Stage 2:
1. Jure Kocjan (Slo) Team SmartStop 3:37:27
2. Robin Carpenter (USA) Hincapie Racing Team
3. Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team
4. Kiel Reijnen (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
5. Edwin Avila (Col) Colombia
6. Logan Owen (USA) Axeon Cycling Team
7. Alex Howes (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
8. Dion Smith (NZl) Hincapie Racing Team
9. Gavin Mannion (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis
10. Jay Robert Thomson (RSA) MTN – Qhubeka

General Classification:
1. Kiel Reijnen (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling 8:46:19
2. Alex Howes (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 0:00:04
3. Jure Kocjan (Slo) Team SmartStop
4. Robin Carpenter (USA) Hincapie Racing Team 0:00:08
5. Jay Robert Thomson (RSA) MTN – Qhubeka
6. Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:10
7. Daniel Eaton (USA) Axeon Cycling Team
8. Johann Van Zyl (RSA) MTN – Qhubeka 0:00:11
9. Ben Jacques- Maynes (USA) Jamis-Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home 0:00:13
10. Edwin Avila (Col) Colombia 0:00:14