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Chris Barton has played a large role in many races for BMC this season (foto by
Chris Barton has played a large role in many races for BMC this season (foto by

Chris Barton sprints to 3rd place in Utah crit; Jeff Louder finishes 3rd overall

24. August 2009

Salt Lake City

Though hardly a ceremonial promenade through the streets of Salt Lake City, the downtown criterium offered the general classification riders a chance to relax a little after battling through four solidly difficult days on the bike. 

Even if there was little chance that any changes would be possible in terms of the overall classification, the day nevertheless offered many riders the chance to shine.  Any sprinter who made it through the days of climbing had certainly earned this opportunity to battle it out for the stage.  BMC's Chris Barton finished his successful Tour of Utah off with an incredibly strong sprint in the jump for the line.  Only Austrialia's Bernie Sulzberger and the current US criterium champion John Murphy were able to beat him to the line.  As expected, no changes were made at the top of the leader board. 

Going in with nothing to lose

"As a team we felt pretty confident and were going into this final stage with the attitude that we had nothing to lose," Chris Barton said.  "Brent Bookwalter got into a really strong break which also had Dave Zabriskie in it, and that meant that Fly V, Ouch and Rock Racing had to chase pretty hard to bring it back."  With still so many strong sprinters left in the pack, most of the teams were interested in seeing the race come down to a field sprint.  Though Barton has not had too many opportunities to show his strong sprint, he certainly packed a wallop today.  "He's just such a strong kid who is obviously good in time trials, but today came down to his overall strength," Mike Sayers said.  "He has some good form, told Jeff he was feeling well, and then just picked a good wheel."  "There were some strong moves and I spent a little bit of time off the front," Barton said.  "But with 10 laps to go, Jeff Louder guided me to the head of the pack and made sure that I stayed out of the wind as much as possible."

Positioning is everything

"With just a few laps to go, Jeff dropped me off onto Sulzberger's wheel," Barton continued.  "Jeff then attacked the pack and stayed off the front for a little bit but was eventually caught back."  "The main plan for the finish there was for Jeff to go for broke," Sayers said.  "There wasn't too much of a chance that they would let him get away, but he did succeed in completely blowing up the Ouch train, which meant Murphy was basically on his own at the end."  Barton stayed alert and knew that in a sprint finish of this sort, his positioning would be vital to his success.  "Coming into the last corner, I was on Murphy's wheel who was on Sulzberger's," Barton said.  "The final corner was only about 200 meters from the finish line and there was a tail wind, so basically what position you came out of the corner was going to be the position you finished."  Barton is a member of the U23 division of the BMC's team and has found a lot of success working for the team.  With his 6th place in the Utah prologue, 10th in the time trial and now 3rd place in the field sprint, he has proved that he is a rider with a lot of talent in multiple areas.  "I definitely feel a part of this team and enjoy working with the group of guys," Barton said.  "There is always a positive atmosphere but we always have expectations to perform well; I hope to have the chance to race more with them this season."