Joe Dombrowski (Cannondale-Garmin) stormed into a 50-second overall race lead with a dominant victory in the Tour of Utah’s sixth stage, crossing the line over a minute ahead of Michael Woods (Optum-Kelley Benefit Strategies), whose second place on the stage was not enough to keep him atop the general classification.
After the peloton kicked off the 177.7km stage 6 in Salt Lake City, a large breakaway group formed in the early goings of the day, but the pack kept the move on a relatively tight leash, making sure the gap never grew out over a few minutes. The break began to splinter going up and over the challenging Guardsman Pass, with Team Colombia driving a hard pace in the peloton behind to close things down. The early break had been whittled down to a trio of just Joey Rosskopf (BMC Racing), Ben King (Cannondale-Garmin), and Rob Britton (SmartStop) by the time the leaders hit the lower slopes of the final climb.
When the catch was about to be made, Dombrowski jumped from the peloton and linked up with the breakaway group, and his teammate Ben King expended the last of his energy piloting his team’s GC leader up the incline. Dombrowski then charged ahead alone towards the top of the climb to the Snowbird ski resort.
Michael Woods (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies), who started the day in first overall, was slow to react in the bunch, and when he did, he was unable to limit the damage Dombrowski was doing up the road. A chase group of Woods, Chris Horner (Airgas-Safeway), Natnael Berhane (MTN-Qhubeka), and Frank Schleck (Trek Factory) formed as Dombrowski continued to forge ahead on his own, but Woods was left to do the pace-making in the group, and Dombrowski continued to extend his gap all the way up the climb.
Dombrowski’s advantage over his chasers grew out over a full minute as he made his way up the mountain, and after he crossed the line the clock ticked all the way up to one minute and 17 seconds before the chasers arrived all together, with Woods himself leading the group across the line, followed by Berhane.
Despite starting stage 6 in 18th place, trailing by 27 seconds, Dombrowski now leads the Tour of Utah by 50 seconds with just one day left to race.
“I knew that I had a little bit of a deficit to make up, so I figured just chance it and go early. We had Ben in the breakaway and it worked out perfectly, actually,” Dombrowski said.
“I figured as soon as it got steep that I would go to the front and do my thing. I knew maybe Schleck or Horner, Mike Woods also, would be on my wheel. But with the tailwind it kind of blew up the race, so I figured I would go early and hit it hard.”
While Dombrowski was rewarded for his efforts with the stage win and the race lead, his teammate King, who helped his teammate on the final climb after spending nearly 150km in the breakaway, earned himself the day’s Vivint Most Aggressive Rider jersey.
“From the start of the day the only reason that there was for me to be in the break was to help Joe on Snowbird, and everything went perfectly,” King said. “It was really cool when I saw Joe coming across, ‘oh yeah it’s on.’”
The Tour of Utah concludes Sunday with a 125.5km stage 7 that starts and finishes in Park city.