Team BMC's Brent Bookwalter Wins Tour of Utah Prologue
Coming into the Tour of Utah prologue the BMC Racing Team's major strategy was to cram as many of its riders into the top 10 as possible.
Bringing probably the deepest team to the Tour of Utah in terms of climbers who can time trial, Team BMC hoped to pile all their climbers into the upper end of the GC so that they would have the luxury of choice as the race moves deep into the hills later in the week. Having Brent Bookwalter take the victory while Ian McKissick grabbed 3rd, Jeff Louder 5th and Chris Barton 6th, Team BMC's strategy turned out to work well.
"Everyone rode really very well," Team BMC Directeur Sportif Mike Sayers said and added that "They were all pretty stressed waiting all day to start the event so everyone is very relieved that they were able to deliver the goods."
With barely a handful of seconds separating the top five riders, the victory is as much a mental boost as a real step towards winning the overall. "Though there are maybe only five seconds separating the top five riders, there were some bigger differences to the next set," Sayers said. "The prologue may have made more of a difference than I would have expected and when Zirbel and Zabriskie came in behind Brent, we all breathed a little easier." Defending champion Jeff Louder certainly acquitted himself well finishing just a blink off Bookwalter's winning time. Though perhaps the biggest and best surprise for the team was to see how well the U23 member, Chris Barton rode. "Barton finished 6th and is currently the best young rider," Sayers said. Barton has ridden strongly for the team recently at the Fitchburg Longsjo Classic, and the team will be counting on him again to support their overall ambitions.
The evening prologue kept the last riders out racing well past eight in the evening, which will shorten the amount of recovery time they will have before Wednesday's first stage. "The stage one starts in the morning at 11, so it is not a super early stage, but we'll be focused on getting the guys massaged, fed and in bed as quickly as possible," Sayers explained. "Hopefully this effort has just worked to open their legs up so that they will be firing on all cylinders in time for the race to get started in earnest."