TNN Hunts For Breakaways and Fresh Experience at Tour of Utah
21 July 2017
Race: Tour of Utah (July 31-August 06, 2017)
Total Distance: 605 miles, 973.7 kilometers
Race Class: 2.HC
Team Novo Nordisk is heading into the mountains to race its third Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, known as America’s Toughest Stage Race, when the seven-day event kicks off on Monday, July 31st.
“The Tour of Utah’s parcours is always challenging and requires special preparation, especially when it comes to ensuring the riders acclimate properly to the high elevation,” Team Novo Nordisk General Manager Vassili Davidenko said. “We sent our riders to Utah a few weeks ahead of time to help them adapt to the altitude while putting in some good miles in their legs as they train together.”
In its 13th edition, this year’s race covers 973.7 kilometers (605 miles) with 11,135 meters (36,525 feet) of vertical climbing and kicks off in Logan situated in northern Utah. In addition to two summit finishes, the challenging race will pass through several ski resorts, including Brighton, Snowbasin Resort, and Snowbird. For the first time since 2011, the course will include an individual time trial with Stage 3’s eight-kilometer (five-mile) 5.5 percent uphill race against the clock.
Sixteen teams will contest the UCI 2.HC race. Team Novo Nordisk’s roster includes stagiaire Sam Brand (GBR), Fabio Calabria (AUS), Stephen Clancy (IRL), Corentin Cherhal (FRA), Gerd de Keijzer (NED) and neo-pros Reid McClure (CAN), Umberto Poli (ITA) and Rik van IJzendoorn (NED). Brand, McClure, and Poli are all making their Tour of Utah debuts; van IJzendoorn raced as a stagiaire at last year’s race.
Isle of Man native Sam Brand is making his Team Novo Nordisk’s pro team debut as a stagiaire. The 26-year-old’s athletic career began in triathlon where he represented Great Britain at the 2013 ITU World Championships. Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 10, this gained the attention of Team Novo Nordisk and he joined the program the following season as a member of the elite triathlon team. In 2014, he finished 12th in his age group at the Nottingham Triathlon, a World Championship qualifier. In 2015, Brand decided to focus exclusively on cycling and moved over to Team Novo Nordisk’s development squad for the 2016 season.
“With such a young team, this can be a difficult race, but we are motivated to make it a memorable Tour of Utah. Also, we aren’t taking a traditional GC rider this year, so our target is to get into breakaways and for our young riders to gain race experience while aiming to finish the race,” Davidenko said. “It is one of the toughest races we enter, so I’m giving them all freedom to take on the racing action as it comes. This serves as Fabio’s fourth Tour of Utah, so I feel he has the experience and awareness to take advantage of situations when they arise. Additionally, it’ll be interesting to test Sam and see how he climbs in the peloton. Umbe has had a standout inaugural season and I believe he has a good chance to make something happen.”
The race starts with its longest stage, a 212-kilometer (132 miles) out and back run in Logan, home of Utah State University, and includes two climbs up Logan Canyon before two downtown finishing laps.
Team Novo Nordisk Roster Tour of Utah (July 31-Aug 06)
Stagiaire Sam Brand (GBR), Fabio Calabria (AUS), Stephen Clancy (IRL), Corentin Cherhal (FRA), Gerd de Keijzer (NED), Umberto Poli (ITA), Rik van IJzendoorn (NED).
Sport Director: Pavel Cherkasov and Alexander Efimkin.