04 | JAN
Tooele, Utah (August 8, 2006) - Blistering heat and constantly shifting winds marked today's 94-mile stage 2 of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, and Kodakgallery.com/Sierra Nevada's Dominique Perras and Jesse Anthony used the stage's difficult finish as a chance to test their form heading into the race's decisive stages.
In the early going, however, it was Kodakgallery.com/Sierra Nevada's Mike Dietrich who escaped on the day's first climb out of Thanksgiving Point with Successfulliving.com's Daniel Ramsey.
The pair's gap reached 2'30" at one point but was quickly erased when the Navigators and Health Net-Maxxis teams took advantage of a tailwind section to put pressure on the field.
Then, as temperatures rose to over 100 degrees and the crosswinds kicked up, the field seemed to be constantly on the verge of breaking apart.
As the team's most experienced rider, Perras was vigilant throughout, knowing that the decisive split could come at any moment.
"Navigators controlled pretty much the whole day, but there was always a crosswind so we were always fighting for position," he said.
"Jason (Allen) and Scott (Zwizanski) brought me up to the front when I needed it, then Toyota-United did a big effort right before the circuits and there were only eight of us, but we got caught."
Thus, the circuits began with Mike Sayers (Health Net-Maxxi) and Ryan Yee (Successfulliving.com) off the front of an otherwise intact peloton until four laps to go, when Anthony and four others caught the two leaders.
Then when Sayers was dropped, the Kodakgallery.com/Sierra Nevada rider - who picked up two 3-second time bonuses and the KOM lead during a 70-mile breakaway yesterday - became the race leader on the road.
"We had a decent gap at one point, but Navigators brought it back with two laps to go, and then I was just trying to make the split at the end," he said. "I was tired from my effort yesterday, but my legs felt good and I'll be ready to rip it up in the time trial tomorrow."
With no King of the Mountains point available in today's stage or in tomorrow's 8-mile time trial, Anthony will wear the KOM leader's jersey through Thursday's stage to Mt. Nebo.
He and Perras finished 12th and 16th in the stage, won by Toyota-United's Chris Wherry. Sergey Lagutin (Navigators Insurance) placed third and kept the overall race lead.