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Greg Van Avermaet (left) enjoyed his third straight podium appearance Thursday. (©Casey B. Gibson, www.cbgphoto.com.)
Greg Van Avermaet (left) enjoyed his third straight podium appearance Thursday. (©Casey B. Gibson, www.cbgphoto.com.)

Tour of Utah, Stage 3: Van Avermaet Runner-Up Again

9. August 2013

Greg Van Avermaet finished runner-up for the second straight day at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah to remain second overall, while taking the lead in the XO Communications sprint classification. But the BMC Racing Team was left wondering what might have been Thursday had others helped with the chase of Garmin-Sharp's Lachlan Morton, who won the 191.9-kilomter race and took the overall lead.

No Help With The Chase
When Morton launched his solo move on the steeper parts of the climb of Mt. Nebo, no one followed. The Australian rode through the remnants of a shattered breakaway, gaining more than a minute's lead that was still 34 seconds when Van Avermaet beat Lucas Euser (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling) in a sprint of 20 riders from nine different teams who comprised the chase group. "No one wanted to help (with the chase)," BMC Racing Team Assistant Director Jackson Stewart said. "For sure, we all knew at the top of the climb – where it wasn't climbing or descending – that we had to close a minute. And we weren't going to do it on the downhill. Michael Schär and Jakub Novak gave everything they could to bring him back, but it wasn't enough. Second is great, but it's disappointing because we knew we had a good chance of winning again. When Greg commits and digs as deep as he did to get over a climb like this, he deserves to win." In the overall classification, Van Avermaet is 22 seconds behind Morton while Euser is at 40 seconds. Only 17 riders are within a minute of the lead with three stages to go.

Warbasse In The Break
Van Avermaet said when Morton made his attack, it was not a moment he could respond. "We tried to close the gap with Michi and Jakub and Yannick (Eijssen), but for me it was a hard moment," he said. "I think everyone was at their limit. Then it was only downhill to the finish." Winning the field sprint, which earned him the sprint jersey, was less of a challenge than his solo attack Tuesday that earned him his fifth win and the race lead after Stage 1. "It's always a bit tricky with a downhill sprint, but Michi (Schär) did a good lead out with 500 meters to go," he said. "I started to sprint with 200 to go and it was easy to win. So it is a little disappointing that one guy was away." Early in the race, BMC Racing Team's Larry Warbasse was part of a 20-man breakaway that enjoyed a four-minute lead before splintering on the lower slopes of the final climb. "It was probably the least cooperative breakaway I have ever been in," Warbasse said. "I think a lot of the bigger pro teams were told that they shouldn't work. So a lot of guys were sitting on. So the continental teams were doing most of the pulling." Friday's early evening circuit race is only 54.7 km but will feature 1,082 meters of climbing.

Listen to complete comments from Stewart, Van Avermaet and Warbasse on the BMC Racing Team Audio Line.