Ben Jacques-Maynes rides in the Tour of Utah en route to winning the King of the Mountain title.
Dave Richards/Contributed

UC Santa Cruz alum finishes 37th overall

Ben Jacques-Maynes made dominating mountain breakaways his mission in some of the most extreme ranges in the United States during the Tour of Utah this past week. The Watsonville resident’s hard work paid off as — for the first time in his professional cycling career — he was crowned the stage race’s overall King of the Mountain on Sunday.

Jacques-Maynes, a UC Santa Cruz alum who rides for Bissell Pro Cycling, won the King of the Mountain title with 38 points, but he didn’t know it until after he crossed the finish line of the sixth and final stage of the event, when people started patting him on the back with their congratulations.

“At that point, it was just a relief,” Jacques-Maynes said in a phone interview Monday after the conclusion of the TOU, which included 37,136 feet of climbing Aug. 7-12. “To have it pay off was a great feeling.”

Ben Jacques-Maynes rides in the Tour of Utah en route to winning the King of the Mountain title.
Dave Richards/Contributed

Although Jacques-Maynes earned the King of the Mountain jersey as early as the first stage, he said he really got back in the running for the title when he reclaimed the jersey in the fifth stage Saturday. Still, he wasn’t sure he would win the title with Timmy Duggan, the reigning US road race champion, ahead of him at the finish line Sunday.

King of the Mountain standings are based on points that riders accumulate by reaching checkpoints for climbs. Lucas Euser was second and Duggan was third [both with 31 points].

Jacques-Maynes, who spent a week and half acclimating in Park City before the competition, said the congratulations he received from his piers meant the most to him.

“I’m extremely happy,” he said. “…These are some of the biggest mountains available to climb in the country. It’s a big honor — a big deal.”

Jacques-Maynes placed 37th in the general classification. He was 20 minutes, 13 seconds back of winner Johan Tschopp [BMC Racing Team].

Jacques-Maynes flew back to the Bay Area and said he plans to rest up for about a week and a half before heading to the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado, which is another high-altitude event.