Velonews: Woods Wins Optum’s Second Utah Stage, Takes Yellow


Jan 3, 2005
<figure ><img title="2015 Tour of Utah" src=""/><p>Mike Woods won stage 5 in Salt Lake City with a strong uphill sprint on the final pitch. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | <a href=""></a></p></figure><p>The orange Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies squad has been punching above its weight at Tour of Utah, and on Friday, it was Mike Woods taking the flowers. The Canadian mastered stage 5’s steep uphill finale in downtown Salt Lake City. He didn’t go too soon — Kiel Reijnen (UnitedHealthcare) and yellow jersey Jure Kocjan (Team SmartStop) made that mistake. Instead, Woods kept his powder dry until the ramp to the line and sprinted alone to win and claim the GC lead after 55 miles of hilly racing.</p>
<p>Kocjan fell to third, five seconds behind overall, with Bookwalter second, four seconds back.</p>
<p>An early break of eight riders got away from the gun in the seven-lap circuit. It included Travis McCabe (Team SmartStop), Carson Miller (Jamis-Hagens Berman), Adam Phelan (Drapac), Stefano Pirazzi (Bardiani-CSF), Jack Bobridge (Budget Forklifts), Danny Summerhill (UnitedHealthcare), Songezo Jim (MTN-Qhubeka), and Phil Gaimon (Optum-Kelly-Benefit Strategies).</p>
<p>After the first lap, the break had a lead of about 15 seconds. The gap soon went out to nearly one minute before the end of the second lap. The race scenario remained static until the start of the fifth lap, when Kilian Frankiny (BMC) attacked in an effort to bridge to the break.</p>
<p>Soon, Pirazzi attacked the break and was followed by Jim. Frankiny was caught, and then the chase of six was caught just before two laps to go, with the lead duo only 10 seconds up the road.</p>
<p>Robin Carpenter (Hincapie Racing) and Reijnen bridged up to the duo, but that only served to bring the entire field along to catch the lead. However, the tireless Pirazzi attacked again, forming another small break, which was soon caught, with 12 miles left.</p>
<p>Coming into the climb to the line, with one lap to go, two MTN-Qhubeka riders attacked, launching Natnael Berhane on a solo attack with eight miles to go. He soon had a 25-second lead.</p>
<p>A split in the field formed behind, with about 15 riders giving chase, but it was short-lived.</p>
<p>Then, inside of the final five miles, Chris Jones (UnitedHealthcare) hit out, trying to bridge up to Berhane. He eventually made the catch, but they were not far off the front of the peloton.</p>
<p>It was all back together by the final mile of racing with BMC Racing on the front.</p>
<p>Then, UnitedHealthcare took over, leading out the field under the red kite.</p>
<p>A small group of three came off the front early in the sprint: Reijnen, Kocjan, and Daniel Martinez (Colombia). Reijnen led it out early and looked to have his rivals on the ropes, but as the road’s grade relented, the front of the peloton reconnected, and that’s when Woods made his move.</p>
<p>The Canadian Optum rider got a gap and drove all the way to the line. Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CSF) came home third, and Reijnen, although he went too soon in the sprint, held on for third.</p>
<p>On Saturday, the race will ride 110 miles from Salt Lake City to Snowbird. The queen stage will include four categorized climbs, including an hors-categorie finish.</p>
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