Ian Boswell was going for Gold — Matt Gold — on the Tour of Utah’s queen stage

Bontrager-Livestrong's Ian Boswell was riding to honor his friend Matt Gold, who died while skydiving

SNOWBIRD, Utah (VN) — On the race’s toughest day, not even a heavy heart could hold down Ian Boswell.

The scrappy American broke free from the clutches of the field about 5km from the Snowbird finish with a fallen friend on his mind. On the day Matt Gold’s ashes were spread in these very mountains, Boswell (Bontrager-Livestrong) was riding for Gold, who was killed at age 34 while skydiving just two months ago in Oregon.

“Today, his family came up here with my mom, and they spread his ashes up here, because this is where he lived, and this is where he lived in the wilderness and skied and skydived,” said Boswell at the finish, where he finished fourth.

“I rode today for him, and it was super special today for me and my family. It means a lot to do something like that — to have something special to ride for beyond just results. He helped me today.”

Gold must have been with Boswell. The 21-year-old from Bend, Oregon, and his teammate Joe Dombrowski attacked Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) near the finish but didn’t have enough pavement to reel in BMC’s Johann Tschopp, who won the day. Dombrowski finished third.

Boswell, though, could have drug it in last. It didn’t matter. On a queen stage that climbed 10,000 feet, his mission was to ride for Gold.

“To ride for him. Whether that meant finishing first or finishing last. Just to give it my all. And I did that today. It’s something special,” said an emotional Boswell.

Now, Matt Gold’s ashes are here in Little Cottonwood Canyon. And so is Ian Boswell’s heart.

“I’ve cried twice before a race. One was at (under 23) Liège–Bastogne–Liège this year,” he said. “I was going through some troubles. The other was this morning when I watched a video that I posted of [Gold] and his life and his adventures.”

“The Tour of Utah was something special for him and for me,” added Boswell, who now sits sixth on the general classification. “He was out here every day cheering me on.”