Grant and Aardal wins stage 5 of the Breck Epic

Both riders hold overall leaders' jerseys

After yesterday's long effort, day five was shorter, but the opening climb lasted eight miles with at least two sections of hike-a-bike. The strongest riders were expected to attack on the switchbacks at nearly 12,000 feet.

Today began at the base of the ski area on a dirt road. However, the course quickly diverted left and crossed onto narrow, root-strewn singletrack, after crossing a wooden bridge. After last night's rain, the wood was wet, as hole-shot winner, Carl Decker quickly learned. He attacked early, but slipped at the edge of the bridge, knocking himself off his bike, where he laughed as nearly 10 riders passed.

Ben Sonntag (Stan's NoTubes) wanted to string the field out early to try to gain an advantage. He led the pack for a while, but his legs just didn't comply. After spending most of the summer in Europe, the altitude has been taking its toll on him this week.

Alex Grant (Sho-Air Cannondale) took over the lead and was the first to crest the top of Wheeler trail, where he used his descending skills to stay in the lead, nearly a minute in front of Joan Llordella (Buff Pro Team) at the bottom of the singletrack.

By the end of the race, Grant finished nearly three minutes ahead of Llordella. Sonntag still held on for third, while Bryan Dillon finished in fourth place for the day. Justin Lindine finished fifth and Decker had his best day yet, finishing in sixth.

In the overall, Grant leads Llordella and Sonntag, who are all fairly comfortable in their positions, though Llordella only leads Sonntag by four minutes.

Taylor Shelden had another flat-ridden day, walking into the finish with a bare rim piled in tube and tire. It was all too reminiscent of day 3 when Shelden came walking in to the first aid station with his back wheel a tangled mess of tube and tire. Although obviously frustrated, he good-naturedly stood for a photo at the finish line.

Kelly Boniface (Moots) led the women up the opening climb, but it was Kate Aardal who would ultimately win the stage. Marlee Dixon came through shortly after in second and Kelly Boniface in third. In the women's 'overall, Aardal holds on to the leader's jersey by 12 minutes over Williamson, who is only four minutes in front of Dixon. Tomorrow should be exciting to see whose legs are holding up.

In the singlespeed category, Dan Durland crested the summit first, but it was Dax Massey who finished the singletrack first. Last year Massey had a massive crash that took him out for stage 6 with a punctured lung. This year he was determined to conquer the trail that was his demise. He was successful there, but the finishing singletrack was wet from the rainstorm overnight. He slipped on a wet bridge, where he pinned his arm against a rock while still falling, pulling his arm out of the socket. He was close to the finish, so he limped in, where he won the stage and was immediately at the medical tent, getting his arm pushed back in. Durland finished the stage in second and Carlos Vulgamott was third. In the overall, Massey leads Vince Anderson by 40 minutes, with Dan Durland less than two minutes behind Anderson.

The three-day open men's race leader Yuki Ikeda (Topeak-Ergon) widened his lead to 36 minutes when he came in 8th overall. In the women's three-day open race, Amy Caldwell shrunk her deficit to just 15 minutes, though tomorrow may be a tough stage to make up all of that time.

Day six will be the shortest stage yet. A mix of dirt road and technical singletrack awaits racers, and the stage refuses to favor one type of strength. Road tactics come into play with a couple of long drafting efforts. Expect to see Taylor Shelden in the front, barring any catastrophe on the singletrack. It will be a fight to the finish line and it would be surprising to see a racer pull ahead early.


Solo men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Alex Grant (Sho-Air/Cannondale)2:33:57 
2Joan Llordella (Buff Pro Team)0:02:44 
3Ben Sonntag (Stan's Notubes Elite Racing)0:06:05 
4Bryan Dillon (Griggs Orthopedics)0:08:21 
5Justin Lindine (Team Redline)0:08:23 
6Carl Decker (Giant Factory Off-Road Powered By Sram)0:10:06 
7Brad Bingham (Kent Eriksen Cycles)0:16:54 
8Nick Gould (Ska/Zia/Trek)0:21:22 
9Nick Truitt (Breck Bike Guides)0:27:40 
10John Klish (Klishy)0:31:26 
Solo women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Kate Aardal3:20:22 
2Catherine Williamson0:08:19 
3Marlee Dixon (Mtbracenews.Com / Epic Brewing)0:03:13 
4Kelly Boniface (Moots Cycles)0:04:52 
5Elizabeth Sampey (Independent)0:14:56 
6Laura Omeara0:20:01 
7Kate Zander (Chumba Racing)0:26:27 
8Amy Chiuchiolo0:32:04 
9Ivy Pedersen0:38:05 
10Katie Carmichael (Xcracer.Com/Scimitar)0:42:54 
Solo singlespeed men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Dax Massey (Thrasher)3:03:21 
2Vince Anderson0:13:59 
3Dan Durland0:05:57 
4Jason Hilgers0:12:55 
5Henry Fischer (Willa's Wheels)0:26:18 
6Rob Lockey0:22:18 
7James Prentice0:28:21 
8Dean Cahow0:56:53 
9Carlos Vulgamott (Gates Carbon Drive)0:08:37 
10Hans Hjelde (Hh)1:09:02 
Solo singlespeed women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Maaike Everts4:54:02 
2Sundra Hines0:11:15 
Solo men general classification after stage 5
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Alex Grant (Sho-Air/Cannondale)14:40:27 
2Joan Llordella (Buff Pro Team)0:22:49 
3Ben Sonntag (Stan's Notubes Elite Racing)0:26:56 
4Bryan Dillon (Griggs Orthopedics)0:48:52 
5Justin Lindine (Team Redline)0:51:02 
6Carl Decker (Giant Factory Off-Road Powered By Sram)1:12:00 
7Brad Bingham (Kent Eriksen Cycles)1:15:09 
8Nick Gould (Ska/Zia/Trek)1:20:18 
9Nick Truitt (Breck Bike Guides)1:46:12 
10John Klish (Klishy)1:57:02 
Solo women general classification after stage 5
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Kate Aardal18:29:08 
2Catherine Williamson0:12:16 
3Marlee Dixon (Mtbracenews.Com / Epic Brewing)0:18:41 
4Kelly Boniface (Moots Cycles)0:23:14 
5Elizabeth Sampey (Independent)1:21:23 
6Laura Omeara1:23:52 
7Kate Zander (Chumba Racing)2:00:25 
8Amy Chiuchiolo2:47:01 
9Ivy Pedersen3:35:15 
10Katie Carmichael (Xcracer.Com/Scimitar)3:57:32 
Solo singlespeed men general classification after stage 5
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Dax Massey (Thrasher)17:12:24 
2Vince Anderson0:40:30 
3Dan Durland0:42:18 
4Jason Hilgers1:00:47 
5Henry Fischer (Willa's Wheels)1:32:14 
6Rob Lockey1:47:51 
7James Prentice2:03:20 
8Dean Cahow2:25:46 
9Carlos Vulgamott (Gates Carbon Drive)3:36:35 
10Hans Hjelde (Hh)5:56:08 
Solo singlespeed women general classification after stage 5
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Maaike Everts26:23:29 
2Sundra Hines0:29:06 
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