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August 22, 2019
Photography by Berin Klawiter
As the Tour of Utah raced up Empire Pass in Park City for the final stage last weekend, freerider Danny Fendler aimed his bike in a different direction.
The 21-year-old Fendler said, “I landed it and it was like by far the most adrenaline I have had in my whole life. It was crazy,” he said. “I have never had so much excitement on a bike before to the point where I couldn’t ride. I rode out and just let the bike go and just rolled. I was so happy.
“After that, I snapped back to reality and rode down a trail because I didn’t want to risk getting in trouble.”
Fendler continued, “You gotta just weigh your odds. The fact is that so many road bikers were stoked. An ambulance that was driving by honked and was stoked. In the end, we made way more people happy than we could have upset so it was a win-win for everyone.
“In the end, I really just wanna inspire people and get people stoked on biking. I wanna do things that people think is rad and even if they don’t wanna do that it gets them stoked and out riding their bikes.”
Road gaps are becoming somewhat of a yearly tradition for mountain bikers at the Tour de France and other races. Most recently, on stage 10 of the 2019 Tour, 19-year-old French rider Valentin Anouilh jumped over the peloton, landing a sizeable at 16 metres on the other side of the road. For many mountain bikers these stunts provide fuel for the traditional “MTBers vs roadies” banter, and gives their sport some time in the spotlight on one of the biggest sporting stages on Earth.
Some people think this stunt is an accident waiting to happen, that it’s highly irresponsible. Others think it’s inspirational. Some simply think it animates the race.