Eric Young, right, crosses the finish line as the stage 5 Tour of Utah winner with team Optum, and celebrates by giving second-place finisher Jure Kocjan a
Eric Young, right, crosses the finish line as the stage 5 Tour of Utah winner with team Optum, and celebrates by giving second-place finisher Jure Kocjan a high five Friday, August 8, on Main Street in Kamas. Friday's race was the first time the tour has ever crossed the Utah border as it started in Evanston, Wyoming, traveling a total of 101.4 miles with a 5,706-foot elevation gain.

Kamas was abuzz on Friday afternoon, anxiously awaiting the riders competing in Stage 5 of the Tour of Utah.

After starting the race in Evanston, Wyoming, the cyclists made their way through southwest Wyoming before crossing into Utah on the Mirror Lake Highway. Riders then climbed up Bald Mountain Pass, which, at 10,759 feet above sea level, is the highest point in the entire Tour.

From there, the peloton dropped into Kamas, where it completed a circuit before crossing the finish line on Main Street.

A wreck early in the race sent one rider, Gregory Brenes, to the hospital and caused Gavin Mannion to lose time.

Two-stage winner Moreno Hofland had to abandon the Tour during the Kamas stage. Hofland was leading the Tour of Utah sprint competition.

Eventually a five-man break consisting of Robin Carpenter, Oscar Clark, Kirk Carlsen, Brent Bookwalter and Jens Voigt, which had looked strong all race long, was brought back to the peloton after simply running out of gas.

As the peloton closed the gap, the Kamas announcer knew it was only a matter of time before the breakaway was caught.

"You've got a Lamborghini chasing down a 1968 Dodge Dart right now," he announced. "This is like watching a lion chasing down a wounded antelope on the Serengeti."

Ultimately, the peloton caught the breakaway, setting up a sprint to the finish line. Eric Young of Optum battled his way to the Stage 5 victory, with Jure Kocjan taking second place and Kiel Reijnen finishing third overall.


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Young was thrilled with the stage victory, Optum's first stage win of this year's Tour of Utah.

"It's totally unbelievable for me personally, and for the team as well," he said. "We were so close in Stage 1 and Stage 3. I was just really happy to improve on my finishes in the first couple sprints and reward the guys with a stage win."

Tom Danielson, of Team Garmin-Sharp, maintained the yellow jersey, signifying the overall leader. Danielson, who won the Tour of Utah last year on the last day, said it's been a new experience having to defend the yellow jersey.

"It's been a lot different really since day one," he said. "My Garmin-Sharp teammates have been really awesome. Today was Stage 5, but maybe it felt like a few more than that -- it's been hard from the beginning."

Parkite Tanner Putt, who already had two top-10 stage finishes entering Friday's fifth stage, made a strong move shortly after riders reached the top of Bald Mountain, chasing a six-man break after leaving the peloton in his rear view.

After the race, Putt said he just didn't want to wait for other teams to finally make a move.

"Originally we were waiting for Belkin to control the race, but their sprinter [Hofland] pulled out," he said. "He was sick, so nobody took control. Garmin didn't need to chase it back because none of the guys up there were a GC threat.

"[The gap] got to five minutes and it's so fast coming down Bald Mountain that I didn't know who would get motivated. It was kind of a stupid move, but I just attacked because I got so frustrated. It's my last shot really in the race because it just goes into the mountains from here."

Eventually, though, the peloton began closing the gap to the breakaway, re-absorbing Putt and making a move. Though it looked like Putt was out of gas, he managed to finish with a burst of speed, climbing into the top 15.

"I was in good position with two [kilometers] to go, but it just got so chaotic that our team didn't really stay together too well," he said. "I was maybe able to hold on for 10th place or so, but that's not really the result we were looking for today."

But, he added, it's been a great experience so far at the Tour of Utah, surpassing his expectations.

"Our team's been doing really well - we've got two top-10s so far and we've had the Best Young Rider jersey for a day, so it's been a good Tour so far."

Now Putt and his Bissell Development Team teammates will just try to hang on during the mountain stages of the Tour of Utah.

"We'll just look for breakaways on the mountain stages and try to survive the rest of the race," he said.

Stage 6, from Rice-Eccles Stadium to Snowbird, is scheduled for Saturday. Stage 7, which begins and ends on Park City's Main Street, will take place on Sunday.