Layton, Utah - After the team executed a perfect leadout on the last lap of stage 3 at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, Hagens Berman Axeon’s Jasper Philipsen flexed his sprinting prowess Thursday to earn second place and a spot on the podium.
“We planned before the stage to lead me out in the final if we had the chance,” said Philipsen. “The guys did great, especially against the bigger teams, and we did exactly what we planned; I’m so proud of the guys.”
The 116 mile stage began on Antelope Island, the largest island in the Great Salt Lake, before making its way to the Wasatch Front and the steep KOM at the Bountiful Bench. Teammate Michael Rice was one of ten riders to break away from the peloton an hour into the stage, but was reeled back after the race entered the finishing circuits.
On the penultimate lap, the Axeon riders were almost entirely together and poised to give Philipsen his chance. The riders took charge at the front and launched him to the finish line. Travis McCabe [UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling] took the victory, narrowly edging out the 20-year-old Belgian by a wheel’s length.
“I believed in myself and thought that I could earn my first pro win today, but it was neck and neck to the finish line and Travis was a bit stronger in the end. I’m satisfied with my performance and will just have to wait a bit longer for my first pro win.”
Sport director Jeff Louder was very pleased with the team’s efforts, including making it into the breakaway and the team’s execution in the finale.
“Having Rice make it into a hard fought breakaway meant that the other riders were able to relax and focus on the finale, which was great,” said Louder. “Then, to see the guys execute and put Jasper in a position to win was phenomenal. I feel like they timed their lead out perfectly and should be proud of their efforts. Jasper didn't got down without a fight and has shown, once again, what his potential is as a sprinter. It was hard to see him narrowly get second place after such a textbook leadout, but I know everyone left it on the road and this should be a major confidence booster for the group.”
(Header photo of Jasper Philipsen [pictured at right] by Casey Gibson.)