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A confident Tom Danielson wins a bigger and tougher Tour of Utah

August 12, 2014
Alex Howes and Phil Gaimon watch Tom Danielson receive the 2014 Tour of Utah yellow jersey on Powder Mountain

Alex Howes and Phil Gaimon watch Tom Danielson receive the 2014 Tour of Utah yellow jersey on Powder Mountain

The 2014 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah concluded with Garmin-Sharp’s Tom Danielson winning the overall for the second consecutive year.

The race unfolded over seven days instead of last year’s six and with a 32 percent increase in elevation gain for a total of 57,000 feet (17,374 meters). The stage ending on Powder Mountain for the first time threw more steep terrain at the riders and provided a thrilling uphill finish for spectators.

Danielson said the race in total was “way harder” than last year’s ninth edition, citing the entire climb past Brian Head resort, Powder Mountain, crosswinds that stirred up nerves and siphoned off energy, and 2,000 extra feet (610 meters) of climbing on the way to the Snowbird finish.

“But the field was arguably stronger as well and that made much more aggressive racing. You saw all those big groups, lots of chasing,” the Garmin-Sharp rider added.

“I don’t think we ever really stopped and chatted very much this year. Maybe today just was the first time; we kind stopped for a pee and it was like, whoa guys, that was crazy. Did we just go 45 kilometers in 45 minutes, wait, is that 60. Whoa. So yea, it’s been pretty fast.”

Tom Danielson greets Park City crowd

Tom Danielson greets Park City crowd

But the primary difference between the two years resided in the man who won.

This year Danielson appeared serenely confident. Missing was the lingering self-doubt he referred to last August that had held him back from taking charge prior to the 2013 race. That confidence translated into calm decisiveness under pressure, a sense of control that likely raised the confidence and dedication of his young team in Utah.

For example, on Saturday Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team) drove a breakaway that at one point gained enough minutes to place Evans in the virtual lead. When asked if he was at any time concerned about the break threatening his lead, Danielson quickly replied, “No.”

He tried not to focus on anything that could upset his bid to win a second time. Instead, he said, he focused on what he could control and on executing the team’s plan each day which included specific tasks for each teammate.

“Really that was the key strategy of the week, was making tasks and accomplishing them and not worrying about what other people are doing.”

In fact the only time the overall leader appeared concerned was Sunday morning on the last day of the event. Having missed the rider entrance to the start line in Park City, he couldn’t immediately find a way through the massive Park City crowds and onto the course.

Another change from year to year in the Tour of Utah is the crowd size. Every year it gets bigger.

The 2015 Utah tour is scheduled for August 3 to 9 and the event’s president, Larry H. Miller, indicated the race could visit parts of Utah it hasn’t previously seen.

2014 Tour of Utah overall podium (l-r): Chris Horner 2nd, Tom Danielson 1st, Winner Anacona Gomez 3rd

2014 Tour of Utah overall podium (l-r): Chris Horner 2nd, Tom Danielson 1st, Winner Anacona Gomez 3rd

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