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Johann Tschopp won the overall title after taking the race lead on the penultimate day. (©Jonathan Devich)
Johann Tschopp won the overall title after taking the race lead on the penultimate day. (©Jonathan Devich)

BMC Racing Team's Tschopp Wins Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah

13. August 2012

Johann Tschopp held on during the most difficult stage of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah Sunday to earn the overall victory and help the BMC Racing Team win two races in one day for the first time in its six-year history.

A Double Victory Day
Just hours after Alessandro Ballan delivered the BMC Racing Team a win on the final stage of the Eneco Tour of Benelux in Belgium, Tschopp finished fourth in the 123.5-kilometer race from Park City and back to win the first stage race of his nine-year professional career. His fourth-place finish behind solo stage winner Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) sealed a 43-second win over Matthew Busche (RadioShack-Nissan). "It's a great day for me and for the whole team," Tschopp said. "I had so much support from my teammates and the staff. They did a great job and it helped to have all of them around me the whole week. This is a very special day for both me and the team."

Terrific Teamwork
Helping Tschopp to the victory were teammates Brent Bookwalter, Mathias Flückiger, Mathias Frank, Ivan Santaromita, Michael Schär and Larry Warbasse. Assistant Director Michael Sayers said he was also proud of the teamwork that resulted in the overall win, a stage win, four podium finishes and most aggressive rider honors (by Tschopp) on Stage 3. "Johann rode like a real champion and this was really a good week overall," Sayers said. "It was nice to have the Swiss guys (Tschopp, Frank and Schär) here. You could see how they really pull for each other. We also had two stagiares (Flückiger – who is also Swiss – and Warbasse) and they did as good as a job as could ever be expected."

Frank Helped With The Chase
Leipheimer posed the biggest threat to Tschopp when the final stage reached the leg-breaking climb of Empire Pass. The race's two-time defending champion launched a solo attack and quickly gained a minute on the 10 km climb that featured an average grade of nine percent, with stretches as steep as 23 percent. Behind, Tschopp relied on the pacemaking of Frank to stay close. "We knew he (Leipheimer) was far down on the general classification so we could let him go," Frank said. "I just kept riding my rhythm and tried to keep the pace high to help Johann." Over the top of the climb and down to the finish, Tschopp and a group of eight others crossed the line 49 seconds after Leipheimer.

Colorado Up Next
Tschopp's win was the BMC Racing Team's first at a stage race since Cadel Evans won the two-day, three-stage, Critérium International in March. It is also the 13th victory of the season, matching the team's 2011 victory total. Frank, Santaromita, Schär and Tschopp will be part of the BMC Racing Team's roster for the USA Pro Challenge, joining Evans, George Hincapie, Taylor Phinney and Tejay van Garderen. BMC Racing Team President/General Manager Jim Ochowicz said the seven-day race that begins Aug. 20 could be more difficult than Utah, which is billed as "America's Toughest Stage Race." "Racing at high altitude is not an easy thing and they all did a great job," Ochowicz said. "Now we can turn our attention to our next challenge in Colorado and we believe we have a good team going there as well."