Stagiaire! In The Middle Of America: Team Novo Nordisk’s Sam Brand At The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah

Ciclissimo! is back on the road with Team Novo Nordisk, the world’s first all-diabetes pro cycling team, at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah. We’ll be following the fortunes of  their new stagiaire, 25 year old Isle of Man native, Sam Brand. Sam had been making waves – most probably in the swim leg – on the National and European triathlon circuit (ignore my flippancy, silver in the 2015 British Championships is no joke) before switching solely to cycling for 2016. Already on the TNN radar after his strong tri’ results, Sam secured himself a place on their development squad and continued to impress. A mid-season call up to a hard fought, seven-day mountainous stage race debut with the Team Novo Nordisk full pro-squad is his reward. Ciclissimo! will be following Sam first-hand on this journey through the Hollywood-Western ‘big country’ vistas of America’s mountain belt.

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Stage 5: Layton – Bountiful, 185km

It was another aggressive, attritional day at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah. The race was marred by a number of crashes before hitting the final two circuits of finish town, Bountiful. The lead group had been carved down to around 20 riders who proceeded to slug it out over the Bountiful Bench, a true Mur that saw numerous attacks launched in more of a cycling version of Russian Roulette than mere rolls of the dice. Those on the first passage were always doomed, Piccoli and Ciccone’s second passage assaults looked more promising but, in the end, neither could pull the trigger on the empty chamber that would let them escape to the line. Travis McCabe kept his sprinter’s powder dry and took a typically furious bunch-kick victory for United Healthcare Professional Cycling Team.

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Sam’s View

“Coming from yesterday and having not a super great day, I was conservative. I knew that today was a new day, so I went into it knowing that if I put Stage 4 behind me that it would be better for me. I tried to get a bit more confident as the day went on. For the first 30-40 kilometers, I felt good. Then there was a crash and I got caught behind it. Then I had to chase back on for the next 20-30 km, which put me in the box. That was tough and I spent the middle section not feeling great. In the end, I started feeling better and knew I could tackle the climbs…

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Usually, my motto to get myself up a climb is telling myself that I only have to do it once, but today we had to do it twice. I just set my own rhythm. I find getting up a climb at my own pace is the best way and I managed to do that. I found a group and worked with them and got up and over. The descents were definitely technical but everyone was aware of that and that made it safe and incident free. I feel like I had every emotion today. It started well and then I had a dip in the middle but then came back and finished strong. I remained focused on staying positive and gaining more experience.

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We have one more real climbing day. As I’ve said all week, tomorrow is a new day. I’m looking forward to it. I can’t be worried about it. I just need to go into and give it everything I’ve got. Having five stages under my belt helps with the confidence, definitely, 100%. Knowing that many guys crashed today and there are going to be a lot of guys suffering with me tomorrow helps. My plan is to put a smile on my face and I’ll get through it…”

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All Photo Credits: VeloImages