After winning Stage 4 of the 2014 Tour of Utah (from Ogden to Powder Mountain) on Thursday, Tom Danielson never relinquished the yellow jersey en route to his second-straight victory at the seven-stage event.
Danielson, a rider for Team Garmin-Sharp, crossed the finish line with his hands raised in victory on Park City's Main Street on Sunday afternoon to the roar of a massive crowd. He knew his lead of nearly a minute hadn't been passed and he had claimed another Tour win, a feeling he said was nearly indescribable.
"It's magic," he said. "It's really special to come across the line with so many fans. I wanted to start crying. So much work goes into it.
He added that this year's victory was nothing like last year's win, when he didn't clinch the yellow jersey until the final day.
"It was totally different," he said. "[Last year] I was coming off the Tour de France and was a bit of an unknown. I was really strong in the Snowbird day and it was like, 'Hey, I can win this race if I go bananas on the Empire climb. If it works, it works; if it doesn't, it doesn't.'
"This year, coming in, I knew I was in good form. I held my hand up and said, 'I want to win this race.' There was a lot more pressure and it was a lot harder on the team.
Though Danielson won his second-straight Tour title, Cadel Evans of the BMC Racing Team won the Park City stage, his second stage win in a row after also taking first place in Stage 6 on Saturday. Danielson finished fifth on Sunday.
Evans expertly bridged a sizable gap on the descent into Park City to surpass Danielson and the other race leaders. Even he was surprised by how well he rode on Sunday.
"Today was a surprise, actually," he said. "After yesterday's effort, I didn't have too high of expectations for myself. It's been really hard racing, competitive racing, all week. I'm pretty happy to get a stage win here as well."
Evans had a great week, considering this was the first time he ever participated in the Tour of Utah. The 2011 Tour de France champion said he had a fantastic time seeing what Utah had to offer.
"With scenery like that, no one that I know that watches this race doesn't want to come to Utah now because of the scenery," he said.
So, after another Tour victory, what's next for Danielson? He's going to race in Colorado (the USA Pro Challenge) in a couple weeks, but first, he has some business to take care of here.
"Barbecue in Park City," he said. "I've got to pay back my teammates. We'll eat well, drink some beer, stuff like that."
Tanner Putt has strong Stage 7
Heading into Stages 6 and 7 of the Tour of Utah, Park City native Tanner Putt had some modest goals -- he wanted to get in a couple breakaways and put some pressure on the top riders.
Putt knows that the mountain stages of the race aren't his specialty, so he was just looking to wreak some havoc when he could.
That's exactly what he did on Sunday in Park City. The Bissell Development Team rider got in an early breakaway and ended up winning a King of the Mountain and a sprint competition within the 78-mile race.
Though he was glad to be in the breakaway, he said winning the sprint and KOM points weren't on his mind.
"I was really happy -- at one point, we had quite a few minutes, but Belkin chased, so it was hard to stay away," he said. "I wasn't going for [KOM and sprint] stuff. I was so far down on the points, it wasn't ever a goal - I just so happened to be the one in front when we'd go over the lines."
Crossing the finish line in Park City, in his second year of participating in the Tour, was just as special this time as it was last year, he said. In fact, of all the chalk drawings made on Main Street on Sunday afternoon, some of the biggest ones bore Putt's name.
"It's amazing," he said. "I love it."
Now, Putt will join Danielson and other riders at the USA Pro Challenge, which begins on Aug. 18 in Colorado.