In a race known as America's toughest stage race, Rob Britton and his Rally Cycling teammates added to a lengthy list of spectacular results for the orange and black continental team this season by winning the overall of the 13th annual Tour of Utah.
This year's seven stage route featured 600 miles, nearly 40,000 feet of climbing as well as an uphill time trial which is where Britton secured the yellow jersey on stage three and never relinquished it. He rode into today's Salt Lake City circuit with a commanding 26 second lead over Gavin Mannion and finished on top by 22 seconds.
CAREER CHANGING WIN
"This win means the world to me," said Britton. "I have been working toward this my entire career. To pull off a win at the Tour of Utah is huge. I don't know what I can say about the team; they were perfect. They never missed a beat and took care of me from day one. The team showed they are one of, if not the strongest, squads in North America. I just can't thank them enough."
Youngster Sepp Kuss also wore yellow for a day and finished ninth overall in the general classification.
Rally Cycling counts 13 individual UCI stage wins starting at the Joe Martin Stage Race in March, the overall at the Tour of the Gila in April, two team classification wins, two national championships and two World Tour stage wins at the Tour of California in May. Individually, Britton has two of those UCI stage wins, a mountains classification from the Gila, a second to his teammate Evan Huffman during stage four of the ToC and now his first ever UCI 2.HC stage race title - a defining moment in his career without a doubt.
After battling all day yesterday during the queen stage finishing at the Snowbird Resort high in the Wasatch Mountains, the yellow jersey win was all but secured going into today's final stage.
ALL ABOUT TEAMWORK
We spoke to Britton earlier in the season about his and the team's hard work during the offseason; work that is obviously paying dividends with still a few months and high profile races left to go.
“The classic iron sharpens iron, where one guy gets hot and everyone just feeds off his positive energy and success,” he pointed to as the principal reason for the teams success after racing in California on the biggest stage in May.
"Rob is one of the hardest working guys on the team," said teammate Eric Young who sacrificed his own chances at a stage win during the sprinter friendly stage four finishing in South Jordan City. "Day in and day out, every day we train together he is the one pushing the pace," praising the Canadian native from Regina, Saskatchewan after the race.
Britton and Rally Cycling will look to continue their most successful season to date next week at the reincarnation of the Colorado Classic, a four stage UCI race starting Thursday in Colorado Springs.