Jake Keough Rides to Victory in Stage 4 of 2012 Tour of Utah
Team UnitedHealthcare's Jake Keough picked up today where teammate Rory Sutherland left off on Tuesday, August 8, flying through the finish line to capture another stage win for the in the 2012 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah.
Team UnitedHealthcare's Jake Keough picked up today where teammate Rory Sutherland left off on Tuesday, August 8, flying through the finish line to capture another stage win for the in the 2012 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah and electrifying the enthusiastic crowd of thousands outside of the Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Keough's stage 4 sprint finish victory came after Sutherland and Robert Förster worked feverishly inside the final 800 meters to deliver the lightning fast Sandwich, Massachusetts native to the line. Keough bolted past Team Liquigas-Cannondale's Marco Benfatto and Team Garmin-Sharp's sprint ace Tyler Farrar at the line to capture the win. Benfatto took second and Farrar grabbed third place.
The 134.3 mile/216.2 kilometer fourth stage of America's Toughest Stage Race witnessed a six man breakaway separate itself from the field early on and stay away until the finishing stretch when the hard-charging peloton engulfed them in the final 800 meters. The entire eight-man squad from Team UnitedHealthcare worked methodically throughout the day along with several teams in the peloton to reel in the six escapees just moments before their attempt to hold off the field nearly succeeded.
This was the second stage win for Team UnitedHealthcare in the 2012 edition of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah and for the well-known sprinter and criterium killer, Keough, perhaps his biggest win to date, according to the Tour of Utah Tour Tracker broadcast duo of Frankie Andreu and Chad Andrews.
In a post-race interview on the podium with John Lefler (one-half of the Tour of Utah's live race announcing team with Dave Towle), Keough credited his Team for creating the opportunity for him to stand on the top step this afternoon.
"Everyone was huge this afternoon. We put Ben Day and Chris Jones on the front with 190km to go and just had them ride. Phil (Diegnan) was battling a cold but worked really hard and went really deep to help us. Jeff Louder was our captain on the road and our point man, making all of the critical calls throughout the day and started pulling with 30km to go to help narrow down that gap," he continued.
Keough suffered a crash midway through the race but was able to return. Knowing his team was counting on him, the tough-as-nails New Englander continued, saying, "The guys showed a lot of confidence in me and the rest of our sprinters, Robert (Förster) and Hilton (Clarke). With about 6km to go, Hilton did a couple of massive pulls to help shut the breakaway down, then Ben did the same with 2km to go, and Rory did a massive lead out around the last corner. Frösi (Förster) took another massive turn with 300 meters to go. He is so crucial in the final lead out and got me in position."
"This was just an incredible team effort across the board and the guys did a great job giving me an opportunity to get the win for us. It's my job to deliver," Keough concluded.
Team UnitedHealthCare's team director Mike Tamayo was, not surprisingly, pleased with the squad's performance. "We had a clear plan of strategy and we were going all in today. We had a great ride in the team time trial and the first few stages, the boys had the confidence and we fully committed to the win today. Execution - execution, execution - it's what we're emphasizing and the boys pulled it off today."
"We worked with Garmin-Sharp all day. They have one of the world's best sprinters with Farrar and we have a few of the best with Förster, Keough and Clarke. Rory and Robert did an amazing job bringing Jake into the finish. Robert is a world-class sprinter and he is so unselfish. He is the captain of our sprint squad and one of the best in the world at what he does and despite flatting with 10km to go, he felt like he had to take Jake to the finish and did just that."
"We made a decision we were going to burn all of our matches to get this win and we did. The guys delivered today and getting Jake on the podium makes the hard work and every hard mile they rode worth it. The reward is seeing your guy on the top step of the podium," Tamayo concluded.
The six-stage 2012 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah continues tomorrow, Saturday, August 11, as the peloton takes on a very challenging Stage 5. The Queen Stage will begin in Park City and end in Snowbird, taking the riders on a 101.1miles/162.8 kilometers venture where they will be forced to conquer four KOMs as they ascend to elevations upward of 10,000 feet/3,048 meters.