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PureBlack Racing’s Roman van Uden made his presence felt in stage one of the UCI 2.1 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah today spending much of the race in the break-away and collecting all the intermediate sprint points on offer. Van Uden was the instigator of the early break at the start of the 187km course, which took in three laps of Ogden Pass with 2500 metres of climbing up to an altitude of just over 6000 feet, and stayed in the break-away until 30km from the end of the course. For his efforts van Uden lies in third equal place for the Sprint Points Jersey and in fourth place for the KOM Jersey.
The Tour of Utah, known as America’s toughest stage race, has attracted a field of the best pro cyclists in the world this year making it PureBlack Racing’s biggest challenge to date.
“The team definitely knew they were making a big step up today, it was the toughest race many of our riders,” commented Tim Gudsell, PureBlack Racing’s Team Captain, after the race. “It was really noticeable when you hit the climbs which start off fast and just get faster all the way to the top. The racing at this level is a whole lot more structured with the big teams really dictating a lot more of the race.”
The early break initiated by van Uden, started to form pretty much right off the start line, and eventually came down to a selection of four riders who would stay away for most of the race. With sprint points on offer every time they crossed the start finish line van Uden collected sprint points on the first two laps as well as the six seconds of time bonus on offer.
Just before the big climb on the second lap the break had stretched their lead out to eight minutes, which with his sprint time bonus made Roman the virtual yellow jersey leader on the road, while the rest of the team was close to the front of the peloton. The Tour organisers even announced that Roman would be in the sprint jersey at the end of the day but that wasn't to be as they had overlooked the triple points on offer for the overall stage win.
Roman and his break-away group stayed away until nearly the top of the final climb with less than 30kms to go when they were caught by a chasing group from the peloton. PureBlack Racing’s Glen Chadwick came in with a second group of 33 riders 2minutes and 35 seconds behind the winner to finish in 33rd place and Roman led in the next group a further 1miniute and 6seconds back to finish in 40th place.
22 year old van Uden, who is sitting in sixth in the young rider classification said, “It was ridiculously hot out there today. I must have taken 15 bottles during the race to keep hydrated and pour over myself to try and cool it down just a little. I was happy to be climbing that hill in the break-away rather than trying to do it alongside the great climbers in the peloton.”
Jesse Anthony, Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth, the winner of the stage said, "I think the race is wide open until the last day. The time gaps were small after the short prologue and there are no massive power squads that are going to ride tempo all day. There are a lot of other strong teams like PureBlack, RealCyclist and our team that are going to be able to make the racing really hard."
Tomorrow’s stage two is a flat 161km around Utah Lake where the team is expecting some tricky winds to make the race even more interesting. Live Race coverage is available at http://ec2.tourofutah.com/tourtracker/
For more information on the team and racing schedule see www.pureblackracing.com