Kiwi cyclist Hayden McCormick has experienced embarrassment, then heartbreak on a thrilling weekend at the Tour of Utah.

The 25-year-old thought he had claimed a career-best victory on stage four at the American race yesterday, being the first to cross the line and raising his arms to the sky in celebration.

Unfortunately for the Team Bridgelane rider, he had miscalculated, and there was still a lap to go.

Hayden McCormick celebrates with a lap to go on stage four.
Hayden McCormick celebrates with a lap to go on stage four.

By the time McCormick realised his mistake, he had been caught by his former breakaway companions, and eventually finished the stage over four minutes down in 93rd place.

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He received the red "Most Aggressive Rider" jersey for his troubles, and was able to have a laugh at his own expense after the stage.

"It's pretty embarrassing, but you just have to laugh about it," McCormick told Cyclingnews. "For 10 seconds I was the winner in my head, so I'm getting closer. I've always wondered how I'd done it. Now I know."

McCormick elaborated on how he got confused with two laps to go.

"I didn't have feeders on the second-to-last lap, so I assumed it was the last lap, and then also with the way the break was racing," he said. "I also couldn't hear anything on the radio."

The superbly-named Team Bridgelane General Manager Tom Petty explained how the mistake came about.

"There was just a lot of miscommunication, because the race radio said during the race that the feeding would close with one lap to go, but the tech guide had said two laps to go," Petty told Cyclingnews. "So I think when Hayden went through and saw that a lot of the feed guys had left, he thought it was the last lap. I think that kind of confused him. The fans were so loud and the noise coming from them makes it so difficult on circuits.

"All you want to do is have the ground open and swallow you up, obviously," Petty said. "It's really hard for a guy who I think is very deserving of a much bigger ride, because he's such a big talent. It's a shame. It's very hard to take the positive when you're so heartbroken about a result like that."

McCormick had another day with mixed emotions today, on stage five. As part of a 11-man breakaway, McCormick and Australian World Tour rider Lachlan Morton eventually proved to be the strongest pair on the penultimate climb, and fought out an uphill sprint for the stage victory.

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Morton snuck out from behind McCormick's wheel to edge in front, but the Kiwi surged back in the closing metres to make it a photo finish. In the end though, Morton had claimed the victory by the narrowest of margins, leaving McCormick once again heartbreakingly short of what would have been a famous win.

Lachlan Morton (in pink) just edged Hayden McCormick in the sprint on stage five.
Lachlan Morton (in pink) just edged Hayden McCormick in the sprint on stage five.

Despite the agonising finish, McCormick took the King of the Mountains jersey, and also moved into 21st overall on the general classification. His excellent performances will have made other teams take note, potentially aiding his career - and hopefully being able to outweigh the disappointing finales he experienced this weekend.