Salt Lake City, Utah - After narrowly missing his first professional win on U.S. soil on Thursday’s stage 3 at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, Jasper Philipsen captured the victory he so badly wanted the day before, besting Travis McCabe [UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling] in an extremely close photo finish.
“It looked like the breakaway with Eddie would hold to the finish line, but on the last lap it exploded, and Sean bridged up to the lead group,” said Philipsen. “I was super nervous in the final and didn’t know what was going to happen. But I was ready for the sprint and it all came together in the end.”
Philipsen described being on the “right wheel” of McCabe as they barreled toward the finish. Where yesterday McCabe was able to hold off the Hagens Berman Axeon rider and win by a wheel’s length, today, Philipsen was in the “right spot at the right time” to even the score with McCabe and get the victory.
Friday’s win marks the fourth time the first year Axeon rider from Belgium has climbed onto the top spot on the podium. Philipsen notched two early season wins at Le Triptyque des Monts et Chateaux and later earned a victory on stage 3 at the Giro d’Italia U23.
“I felt a bit disappointed yesterday that I couldn’t finish it off for the team because they did such a great effort,” said Philipsen. “That gave me the motivation and the belief that I could make it up today. It was a close one again, but I’m super happy it turned in our direction today.”
Sport director Jeff Louder felt that the team had a great day of racing in Salt Lake City. Eddie Anderson’s significant effort getting into the early breakaway, surviving all 10 laps, and was still there when Bennett made the massive move to bridge to the remaining leaders, gave the guys the chance they needed.
“Eddie being in the break gave us a win-win situation knowing that we had the front of the race covered,” said Louder. “The guys in the peloton avoided all the attrition, stayed cool, and put Philipsen into the right place for the final sprint. Jasper showed amazing strength and tenacity by fighting all the way to the line for the win. It was a great individual result, but also highlighted the strength and solidarity of the entire team and I couldn't be happier.”
(Header photo of Jasper Philipsen [pictured at right] by Casey Gibson.)