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Utah’16 St.7: Morton Conquers Empire Pass for Overall Title

Jelly Belly’s Morton Conquers Empire Pass for Overall Title at Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah. Costa, Talansky Finish on Podium after Weeklong, 705-Mile Stage Race.

Australian Lachlan Morton of Jelly Belly presented by MAXXIS Cycling Team attacked on the Hors Categorie climb of Empire Pass to win Stage 7 presented by Utah Sports Commission and clinched the overall general classification victory at the seven-day 2016 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah.

PARK CITY, UT - AUGUST 7:   Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah - Stage 7 - Park City on August 7, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Jonathan Devich/Getty Images) *** LOCAL CAPTION ***

An inspired Morton, who lost the yellow Larry H. Miller Group of Companies Race Leader jersey on Stage 6, accelerated away from G.C. leader Andrew Talansky (USA) of Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling for the win in Historic Park City. Morton covered the 78-mile course in three hours and eight minutes. For the overall title, Morton finished with a final time of 27 hours and 12 minutes for the week.

Adrien Costa (USA) of Axeon Hagens Berman crossed the finish line 31 seconds behind Morton and moved from third to second overall on G.C., one minute and nine seconds back. Talansky, who was paced on the final climb by his teammate Joe Dombrowski (USA), dropped to third overall in the G.C. Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Colombia) of BMC Racing Team finished third on the stage, 50 seconds back, and was fourth on G.C. Dombrowski, the defending Tour of Utah champion, finished eighth overall.

“I have had a few pretty tough years since the last time I raced here,” said Morton. “To get to this top step is very special. There were a lot of things going through my head.”

Morton entered the final day of the seven-day UCI 2.HC-rated stage race with a 22-second deficit behind Talansky for the race lead. He captured the leader’s jersey on Stage 3 presented by America First Credit Union, a stage he also won in 2013 with a climb over Mount Nebo. He lost the G.C. lead two days later on the “Queen Stage.”

“Having the defending champion of this race to work for me was pretty special. The way Joe (Dombrowski) was riding, he could have easily ridden up to Lachlan. He could have had a chance for a stage win. He sacrificed all of that to stay with me, to help stay on the podium.” stated Talansky, who is headed to race at Vuelta a España. “The climbs in this race (Tour of Utah), the caliber of the field, the altitude, everything, it really lived up to its reputation. It was a tough week.”

The start of Stage 7 presented by Utah Sports Commission showcased dynamic racing from the start in Park City. The 104-rider peloton was still together for the first of two Utah Sports Commission Sprint lines in Kamas. A break of 10 riders, who escaped after 25 miles of non-stop attacking, had a lead of three minutes at the bottom of Wolf Creek Ranch, one of two Utah Office of Tourism King of the Mountain climbs. Dramatic attacks from BMC Racing Team shattered the peloton on the climb, which led to the thrilling showdown on the Hors Category (HC) climb of Empire Pass, one of the hardest climbs in the world.

Sixth on the stage and fifth on G.C. was Canadian Rob Britton of Rally Cycling. He was awarded the Larry H. Miller Dealerships Most Aggressive Rider jersey. The BMC Racing Team had four riders finish 11th or better on G.C. and was recognized as the best team after the seven days of racing. One of those riders was Taylor “T.J.” Eisenhart, who was voted the America First Credit Union Fan Favorite in the Overall Fan Favorite category. American Kiel Reijnen of Trek-Segafredo kept the Utah Sports Commission Sprint jersey. Costa not only retained the Utah Office of Tourism King of the Mountain jersey after Stage 7, but was also the Subaru Best Young Rider for the week.

“This was pretty incredible. I have never done a race with this HC status before. Being on the podium is pretty incredible,” said 18-year-old Costa, who successfully defended the Subaru Best Young Rider jersey for four stages. “The climbs were hard, but at least you got the spectacular Utah scenery to enjoy.”

For the Utah riders in the race, Eisenhart remained seventh overall on G.C. and Robbie Squire of Holowesko | Citadel Racing Team presented by Hincapie Sportswear finished ninth. Tanner Putt of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team was 71sth on G.C.

The 2016 Larry H. Miller, which featured 705 miles of racing and 52,825 vertical feet of climbing, started outside Zion National Park, the southernmost point in Utah of the event’s 12-year history on Aug. 1. Over seven days, the race moved from south to north and finished in front of huge crowds lining Historic Main Street in Park City.

PARK CITY, UT - AUGUST 7:   Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah - Stage 7 - Park City on August 7, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Jonathan Devich/Getty Images) *** LOCAL CAPTION ***

Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah Award Jerseys
Larry H. Miller Group of Companies Overall Leader jersey – Lachlan Morton (AUS), Jelly Belly by MAXXIS
Utah Sports Commission Sprint jersey – Kiel Reijnen (USA), Trek-Segafredo
Utah Office of Tourism King of the Mountain jersey – Adrien Costa (USA), Axeon Hagens Berman
Subaru Best Young Rider jersey – Adrien Costa (USA), Axeon Hagens Berman
Larry H. Miller Dealerships Most Aggressive Rider jersey – Rob Britton (CAN), Rally Cycling
America First Credit Union Fan Favorite jersey – Taylor Eisenhart (USA), BMC Racing Team

Results and Standings: www.tourofutah.com/race/results

Stage 7 presented by Utah Sports – Top 10
MORTON Lachlan David (AUS), JELLY BELLY pb MAXXIS – 3.08’07”
COSTA Adrien (USA), AXEON HAGENS BERMAN – 3.08’38”
ATAPUMA HURTADO Darwin (COL), BMC RACING TEAM – 3.08’57”
TALANSKY Andrew (USA), CANNONDALE-DRAPAC PRO CYCLING – 3.09’58”
DOMBROWSKI Joseph (USA), CANNONDALE-DRAPAC PRO CYCLING – 3.10’00”
BRITTON Rob (CAN), RALLY CYCLING – 3.10’10”
SENNI Manuel (ITA), BMC RACING TEAM – 3.10’42”
DIDIER Laurent (LUX), TREK-SEGAFREDO – 3.11’22”
ROSSKOPF Joseph (USA), BMC RACING TEAM – 3.11’43”
BETTIOL Alberto (ITA), CANNONDALE-DRAPAC PRO CYCLING – 3.11’56”.

Final General Classification – Top 10
MORTON Lachlan David (AUS), JELLY BELLY pb MAXXIS – 27.12’49”
COSTA Adrien (USA), AXEON HAGENS BERMAN – 27.13’58”
TALANSKY Andrew (USA), CANNONDALE-DRAPAC PRO CYCLING – 27.14’28″
ATAPUMA HURTADO Darwin (COL), BMC RACING TEAM – 27.14’46”
BRITTON Rob (CAN), RALLY CYCLING – 27.16’49”
ROSSKOPF Joseph (USA), BMC RACING TEAM – 27.18’48”
EISENHART Taylor (USA), BMC RACING TEAM – 27.19’41”
DOMBROWSKI Joseph (USA), CANNONDALE-DRAPAC PRO CYCLING – 27.20’05”
SQUIRE Robbie (USA), HOLOWESKO/CITADEL pb HINCAPIE- 27.21’27”
DIDIER Laurent (LUX), TREK-SEGAFREDO – 27.21’27″.

PARK CITY, UT - AUGUST 7:   Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah - Stage 7 - Park City on August 7, 2016 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Jonathan Devich/Getty Images) *** LOCAL CAPTION ***

The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah continues to be free to all spectators. It is the first internationally-sanctioned cycling competition in North America following the Tour de France. More information about the Tour of Utah, the host venues and the teams can be found by visiting www.tourofutah.com, as well as social channels Facebook (tourofutah), Twitter (@tourofutah, #TOU16), Instagram (thetourofutah), and YouTube (tourofutah).

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