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USA Pro Cycling Challenge: Vande Velde takes title

Jens Voigt of Germany riding for Radioshack-Nissan attacks the breakaway on the start of the Flagstaff Mountain climb to the finish of stage six of the USA Pro Challenge from Golden to Boulder, Aug. 25, 2012 in Boulder, Colorado. Voigt finished third in the stage and earned the king of the mountains jersey. Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images.

Taylor Phinney wins final time trial stage in Denver

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — American cyclists swept the top three spots in the second edition of America’s Race, the seven-stage 2012 USA Pro Challenge that saw top racers from around the world battling their away across some of pro cycling’s highest terrain. Full results here.

Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda) outdueled rival Tejay van Garderen  in the final stage, a time trial through the streets of Denver, for the win, while last year’s champ Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) took third place after briefly wearing the yellow leader’s jersey after Saturday’s penultimate stage from Golden to Boulder and up to finish at Flagstaff Mountain.

American Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda) took the overall sprint title, while German Jens Voigt was crowned king of the mountain for his outstanding rides over high country passes, with summits as high as 12,000 feet. Continue reading

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Morning photo: 2012 USA Pro Challenge in Breckenridge

Celebrating two-wheelers

Riders jockey for position during a parade lap around Breckenridge, Colorado before the start of Stage 5 of the 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge.

SUMMIT COUNTY —Breckenridge has always been a bike-crazy town, and when the 2012 USA Pro Challenge came to town Aug. 24 it was a great excuse for a day-long party. After a thrilling start along Main Street, some cycling enthusiasts enjoyed citizen sprints, live music and bike-themed art, while other simply settled in to watch the racers on a huge outdoor screen. Stage 5 saw the racers climb Hoosier Pass, speed through the wide-open spaces of South Park, then breach the Front Range mountains before speeding down into Colorado Springs, where the peleton caught up with an early breakaway group to set up an exiting sprint finish, won by Tyler Farrar, just ahead of Taylor Phinney. Tejay van Garderen is still wearing the yellow jersey but could face some challenges on Saturday’s all-important Golden-to Boulder-stage. Get all the results and follow the tour live at  http://usaprocyclingchallenge.com/.

Faces in the peleton …

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USA Pro Challenge: Voigt claims big stage win

Van Garderen back in overall lead

Jens Voigt is all smiles after winning the Aspen to Beaver Creek stage. Photo by Daniel Dunn. Click the pic to visit Dunn’s Facebook page.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Jens Voigt, the King of Pain, put the big hurt on the USA Pro Cycling Challenge Thursday, pulling away from the field in a high country rain storm and easily winning Stage 4, from Aspen to Beaver Creek.

As the riders headed out of Aspen, they almost immediately began the climb back up Cat. 1 Independence Pass (12.095 ft.), a breakaway of about 16 riders formed off the front, which included Voigt and KOM contender Camilo Castiblanco (COL) of EPM-UNE. As they continued up the climb, Voigt pulled away on a solo breakaway, followed by a couple of chase groups that would eventually merge before cresting the top of the summit.

With a solid five-minute lead, Voigt crossed the line at the top of fan-packed Independence Pass first to take maximum points. In an effort to gain some ground in the KOM competition, Castiblanco struck out on his own from the chase to take second place, followed by Lachlan David Morton (AUS) of Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda in third. Continue reading

Van Garderen takes Stage 2 in USA Pro Challenge

Stage 2 ends with steep climb to Mt. Crested Butte

Racers speed along the shore of Blue Mesa Reservoir. Photo courtesy USA Pro Cycling Challenge and Doug Pensinger/Getty Images.

ejay Van Garderen riding for BMC Racing celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win stage two of the USA Pro Challenge from Montrose to Crested Butte on August 21, 2012 in Crested Butte, Colorado. Photo courtesy Garrett Ellwood/Getty Images.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — American racers Tejay Van Garderen (BMC Racing Team) and Christian Vandevelde (Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda) swept the top two spots in Stage 2 of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, edging out Russian rider Ivan Rovny (RusVelo) in the 99-mile stage from Montrose to Mt. Crested Butte.

Stage 2 was a mix of old and new, covering a new route for the first 62 miles, then veering back to the 2011 route up to the last grueling climb to the finish in Mt. Crested Butte.

Early climbs over Cerro Summit and Blue Mesa Summit helped set the stage for early breakaway specialists before the course flattened out along Blue Mesa Reservoir and the first sprint of the day in Gunnison, which will also host the start city of Stage 3.

Last year’s winner Levi Leipheimer took the overall lead during the final 12-mile climb to Mt. Crested Butte.

Jerseys

  • Exergy Leader Jersey – Tejay Van Garderen (USA) of BMC Racing Team
  • Waste Management Sprint Jersey – Tyler Farrar (USA) of Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda
  • Nissan King of the Mountains Jersey – Tom Danielson (USA) of Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda
  • Aquadraat Best Young Rider Jersey – Joseph Lloyd Dombrowski (USA) of Bontrager Livestrong Team
  • Evolve Most Aggressive Rider Jersey – Rafael Infantino Abreu (COL) of EPM-UNE

Overall standings

USA Pro Cycling Challenge: Viviani sprints to Stage 4 win

Steamboat to Breckenridge via Rabbit Ears Pass next on tap

Some peleton action in this file image from PhotoSport International.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY —European racers led the peleton into Steamboat Springs during Stage 4 of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, with Italian racer Elia Viviani, riding for the Liquigas Cannondale team, taking first, followed by Denmark’s Michael Morkov (Saxo Bank SunGard) and the Netherland’s Kenny Van Hummel (Skil-Shimano) taking third.

Viviani also holds the Smashburger Sprint jersey, while Levi Leipheimer held on to the overall leader’s jersey. Continue reading

USA Pro Cycling Challenge: Leipheimer wins Vail time trial

Levi Leipheimer, shown here in a file photo, won the Vail time trial in the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. COURTESY PHOTOSPORT INTERNATIONAL.

American racers hold top five spots in overall standings heading into final stages

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A quintet of American racers is atop the standings as the USA Pro Cycling Challenge enters the final few days, first heading north from Avon to Steamboat Springs Friday, then wending through some of Colorado’s most spectacular mountain scenery for a Main Street finish in Breckenridge Saturday.

In Thursday’s time trial, dubbed the race of truth, time-trial specialist Levi Leipheimer (USA) of Team RadioShack came out on top with a time of 25 minutes and 47.08 seconds to take the stage and re-claim the overall lead.

The time-trial stage started in the heart of Vail Village and headed up the heart of the Rockies on the Vail Pass trail, part of a regional cycling path that is enjoyed by thousands of recreational cyclists each summer.

Coming in second and third were Christian Vande Velde (USA) of Garmin-Cervelo with a time of 25 minutes and 47.66 seconds and Rafael Infantino (COL) of UNE-EPM with a time of 25 minutes and 51.52 seconds, respectively. Continue reading

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