The Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling Team had a phenomenal campaign at the Tour of Utah. The team was diligent in their preparation for the event by holding two attitude training camps in the weeks preceding the event. After spending 3 weeks in Truckee, CA the team moved to Park City, UT for another 2.5 weeks to train at altitude and to also have the opportunity to ride the upcoming stages. The opportunity to not only acclimate to the environment but also see each of the stages provided the athletes and staff the chance to begin the event with the confidence that they had come prepared.
Brian McCulloch and Eder Frayre represented the team in the breakaway of the day where Eder gathered both KOM and Sprint points to place him 2nd in the KOM Competition at the end of the stage. With the lions share of the work up the road, the team was able to remain focused and fresh for the upcoming stages. Ultimately, Eder was with the final selection of 5 riders which was caught as the roaring field neared the finishing circuits. With Eder’s finishing result and extra time bonus on the sprint competition, he completed this stage 5th in the General Classification. This was a fantastic start to the teams inaugural Tour of Utah!
Excitement ensued as the stiff climbs of the tour began on stage 2. Cory Lockwood, Eder Frayre and James Piccolo made the selection of riders charging towards Snowbasin Resort for the mountain top finish. To everyones excitement, with under one kilometer remaining on the stage, James Piccoli launched an attack that separated him from the group as the finish line approached. He narrowly missed the stage victory, being passed on the line by Brent Bookwalter of BMC Factory Racing and Sepp Kuss of Rally Pro Cycling.
Finishing 3rd place was an exhilarating accomplishment for the team on the day! With this result, James Piccolo stood 3rd on the General Classification.
The Stage 3 Time Trial was different than most of the TT’s the team has raced this season in that it went straight up a mountain. Racing up Cottonwood Canyon gave the team the chance to race their KHS Flite 900 road bikes instead of time trial bikes. Along with the challenge of a 9K climb, this stage peaked out at the highest elevation making it one hard stage to complete. Connor Brown, Eder Frayre, Alex Hoehn and Cory Lockwood each placed within seconds of each other solid in the top 30 of the field. James Piccoli had a great ride but slid from his 3rd place GC to 12th on the day.
Fan Favorite Climber Jersey
The race organization nominated James Piccoli for the Fan Favorite Climber Jersey after his performance on Stage 3. With an outpouring of support from our fans, friends, partners and families – James won the jersey! This was a really exciting nomination and victory for the whole team and something that we share with all of our supporters. Thank you!
The course profile for stage 4 was perfect for breakaways and a sprint finish. The team committed to the plan from the gun and the fireworks went off at the start. Multiple attempts were made to create a breakaway, and when one was finally solidified, the team had not made the selection. Brian McCulloch then bridged to the move to help alleviate the pressure on the team so that Alfredo Rodriguez would be ready for the sprint finish. The plan worked out perfect, as the breakaway came apart with enough time for the team to set Alfredo up.
As the roaring peloton entered the first of two finishing circuits, Alfredo was placed perfectly for a top result. Weaving his way through the sprinters, he finished an impressive 2nd place to Holowesko Citadel’s John Murphy.
Stage 5 was the first stage where crashes marred the first part of the race as the crosswinds and open roads began to create anxiety within the field. With several riders held up by crashed, a group got up the road without team representation. Remaining calm and focusing on the upcoming finishing circuits, the team worked hard to keep James and Eder safe going into the finishing circuits.
Heading into the final KOM, James gave it his all to breakaway from the final selection, ultimately being caught with just 3K to go. Eder Frayre did an amazing race, finishing 15th in the small selection the steamrolled to the line.
The Queen Stage of the Tour of Utah lived up to its lore with an epic day of racing. The climbs were mesmerizing and beautiful, if you had time to look up and enjoy them! Due to the length and gradient of the climbs, the field began to split early in the race. The team goal was to protect James Piccoli which they executed flawlessly.
Connor Brown rode into the breakaway literally at the beginning of the stage which alleviated the pressure on the team behind. When the race entered the crosswinds, Brian and Alfredo ensured James was sheltered and ready for the next climb. While they began to ascend to Snowbird, James was aided by Alex Hoehn, Cory Lockwood and Eder Frayre until the final selection was made.
James ultimate finished 8th on the stage, an impressive feat with a top-level field of international climbers.
The 7th and final stage of the Tour of Utah wrapped around the state capital where the racers covered 11 laps of the 7 mile course. With steep climbs and fast descents, the circuit proved challenging from the start. Eder Frayre quickly climbed his way into the breakaway which held its ground well into the event.
With two laps remaining, James had a slight advantage on the peloton while descending where he had an high speed crash. With the help of his teammates who waited for him to pace him back to the front of the race, he was able to retain 10th place overall for the tour, finishing just outside of the winners time.
Our experience at the Tour of Utah was fantastic from start to finish. Being represented in the breakaways, gather both KOM and Sprint points through out the tour, and having 3 podium appearances – the tour was a big success! Congratulations to the team and staff for a great event, and thank you to all our fans, partners, family and friends for all your support!
2017 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah Statistics:
1 3rd place finish
1 2nd place finish
1 Fan Favorite Climbers Jersey
10th General Classification – James Piccoli
5th Team General Classification
Time in Breakaways: 13:58:36
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