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American John Murphy dazzles Tour of Utah with sizzling South Jordan sprint

SOUTH JORDAN — As the peloton turned south onto Redwood Road for the final kilometer of Thursday’s Stage 4 of the Tour of Utah, Holowesko Citadel rider John Murphy, despite cyclists launching for home all around him, remained calm. At one point, Murphy stopped pedaling, saw an opening, and drove for home to edge Alfredo Rodriguez.

It was the second stage win for Holowesko Citadel as Murphy led out teammate Tyler Magner to claim the opening stage of the 2017 Tour of Utah in Logan.

“Down the home straight UHC took over and I got in behind Travis McCabe and I was checking for Ty (Magner) and I didn’t see him so I just waited a little,” Murphy said. “I was full gas trying to hold the wheel and all of a sudden a hole opened up. I was patient and it paid off.”

While Murphy found his opening late, others were charging behind him. Rodriguez, of the Elevate team, had a rider in the break all day, which he says helped the team stay relaxed before the sprint finish heated up.

“The finish was fast and as we came around the final turn I was in like 20th place. I don’t know why I finished second place, but I’m very happy,” Rodriguez said.

After a quiet tour for the Israeli Cycling Academy through the first three days of the 2017 tour, things heated up dramatically Thursday. With cyclists battling gusty winds, loose gravel and temperatures that soared to near triple digits, the ICA team had two riders involved in crashes.

ICA’s Daniel Turek, who was part of an initial break, bumped wheels with Amore & Vita’s Marco Zamparella and hit the deck hard. ICA’s Dennis Van Winden was also involved in a less serious crash

For ICA sprinter, Mihkel Räim, having two teammates go down but still having enough fire power to get on the podium was a proud moment.

“We sent a rider in the breakaway to make some panic among other teams, it was almost brilliant,” Räim said. “We had two teammates leading me out but I think we started too far back. We were coming fast but with 1K to go we were in, like, 45th position.”

It had already been a banner tour for Holowesko Citadel with the Stage 1 win and holding the yellow jersey. For Murphy and his team, the South Jordan stage was icing on top of a very hot, long day in Utah’s West Desert.

“It’s huge for the team to come here and win two stages already, and we couldn’t be happier,” Murphy said. “I think there is more to come with T.J. (Eisenhart) and Robin (Carpenter). We have a super strong team here.”

When the city of South Jordan got the call from the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah to gauge interest in hosting a stage, Mayor Dave Alvord discussed it with staff, and after everyone going all in, South Jordan city spent six months planning and getting ready to show off their city in spectacular fashion.

“Daybreak is still getting built out and Mulligans is the gateway to our city,” Tina Brown, the communications specialist for South Jordan, said. “We think it's beautiful and we have a lot of fun here and so we just wanted to share that with everybody.”

Today’s winner, Murphy, received a plaque with two commemorative copper coins that were mined from Kennecott Copper Mine.

Stage 5 preview

With a new starting point, Layton, Davis County fans will have a front-row seat for the Tour of Utah. For the first time, the tour travels through Hill Air Base and will finish with a two-lap circuit of Bountiful that features the crushing climbs of the East Bench before a riveting descent to the finish.