Hayden McCormick made his mark on the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah for all the right reasons in the closing two stages of the race. After the mishap in stage 4, McCormick bounced back to finish second in stage 5 and win the king of the mountains classification.
After mistakenly celebrating what he thought was a stage win one lap too early in stage 4, Hayden McCormick fired back in the best way possible. The Team BridgeLane rider infiltrated the break of the day that established in the 128km fifth stage that started and finished in Canyons Village. The stage itself wasn’t exceptionally testing, but did feature three categorised climbs; including a final one with just 5km to go.
An 11-man move broke clear of the peloton early to establish a healthy advantage. In the move were the likes of McCormick and teammate Dylan Sunderland, Travis McCabe of Worthy Pro Cycling and Lachlan Morton of EF Education First, Simone Velasco of Neri Sottoli-Selle Italia-KTM, Marco Canola of Nippo Vini Fantini Faizane, Michael Rice of Hagens Berman Axeon, Sam Boardman of Wildlife Generation p/b Maxxis, Bernat Font of 303Project and Matt Zimmer of DCBank Pro Cycling.
The breakaway managed to gain a lead that went up to 4.25mins with 38km to go as Israel Cycling Academy assumed control of the peloton for Ben Hermans. The peloton weren’t going to catch the break though, and with the numbers in the move still large the battle for the stage would begin amongst them with 13.5km to go as Dylan Sunderland launched the first move.
It would be the World Tour rider Morton who launched the race-deciding move, however, initially drawing out Travis McCabe, Matt Zimmer and the Kiwi, but it would be just McCormick who could go with him; matching him over the tough gravel section of the final climb and on towards the finish. Morton was forced to lead the sprint out from a long way off and it looked like he might have overdone it as McCormick gradually wound up his sprint. But Morton held his ground to just edge the Kiwi in a photo finish.
Although second on the stage, McCormick succeeded Alex Howes at the top of the standings in the king of the mountains standings by 12 points. He succeeded in defending that deficit in the final stage to claim the king of the mountains crown ahead of the overall winner Ben Hermans.