USA Pro Challenge 2013

August 19-25, 2013, Aspen, Colorado, USA, Road - 2.HC

Complete Live Report

Live commentary by:
Peter Hymas
  1. 13:02:38 MDT

    Welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the first stage of the USA Pro Challenge! Today the peloton faces a 60.6 mile (97.6km) circuit race which starts/finishes in Aspen, Colorado.

  2. 13:05:06 MDT

    We're just moments away from the peloton to roll off the start line in Aspen for it's 1:05pm MDT start.

  3. 13:05:51 MDT

    It's an absolutely beautiful day in Aspen with brilliant sunshine and temperatures in the mid 70s F.

  4. 13:09:42 MDT

    And the third edition of the USA Pro Challenge is underway! The 128-rider strong peloton faces a neutral opening lap in Aspen of 4.4 miles (7.0km) before heading out onf the first of three circuits, each 20.5 mile (33km) in length.

  5. 13:10:55 MDT

    Stage 1 packs in 3,080 ft. of climbing per lap with minimal recovery, so this is no easy start. Each lap will see the racers fight for position onto the Maroon Creek Bridge, then grind up to Snowmass Village. A quick descent leads to two short, but steep climbs and a quick loop through downtown before doing it all again.

  6. 13:12:24 MDT

    There are two intermediate sprint opportunities in the stage - at the end of the first full lap and the end of the second full lap.

  7. 13:20:25 MDT

    The first mountains classification jersey of the USA Pro Challenge is up for grabs today, with 4 KOM opportunites during the stage. There is the category 4 climb at Snowmass 8 miles into the circuit and a category four climb at McLain Flats 14.5 miles into the circuit. KOMs will be up for grabs at each KOM on the second and third laps of the circuit./p>

  8. 13:21:08 MDT

    The neutral start was momentarily extended as Bruno Pires (Saxo-Tinkoff) had a mechanical, but he's back in the peloton and we're underway!

  9. 13:21:52 MDT

    And we have an immediate attack from Tyler Wren (Jamis-Hagens Berman). Jeremy Vennell (Bissell) is trying to bridge the gap.

  10. 13:22:52 MDT

    Vennell has made contact with Wren and the pair have a slender 10-second lead.

  11. 13:24:04 MDT

    The USA Pro Challenge peloton contains seven World Tour teams, four Pro Continental teams plus five Continental squads. Each has eight-rider rosters.

  12. 13:24:39 MDT

    Ryan Eastman (Bontrager) has also bridged across to Wren and Vennell.

  13. 13:25:23 MDT

    Two riders, Jarlinson Pantano (Colombia) and Carson Miller (Jamis-Hagens Berman), trying to bridge.

  14. 13:28:20 MDT

    We now have seven riders off the front with a 40-second lead. The escapees include Davide Villella (Cannondale), Craig Lewis (Champion System), Jarlinson Pantano (Colombia), Jeremy Vennell (Bissell), Ryan Eastman (Bontrager), Tyler Wren and Carson Miller (Jamis-Hagens Berman)

  15. 13:29:44 MDT

    The peloton is strung out single file in full chase mode and the gap to the break is now at 15 seconds.

  16. 13:31:21 MDT

    And the break has been caught 5 miles (8km) into the stage.

  17. 13:32:43 MDT

    And there's an immediate counter-attack from Craig Lewis (Champion System). He's alone off the front and being chased by Matt Cooke (Jamis-Hagens Berman) and Ian Burnett (Jelly Belly p/b Kenda)

  18. 13:33:45 MDT

    Lewis has a five-second lead on the chasers and 30 seconds on the peloton.

  19. 13:35:31 MDT

    The three riders off the front have joined together. They see 1km to the Snowmass KOM line, but no point are on offer until the next lap.

  20. 13:38:07 MDT

    The break of Craig Lewis (Champion System) Matt Cooke (Jamis-Hagens Berman) and Ian Burnett (Jelly Belly p/b Kenda) now have a 40-second advantage over the peloton, which has passed through the Snowmass KOM.

  21. 13:40:01 MDT

    The three-man break now enjoys a 50-second lead on the peloton.

  22. 13:44:06 MDT

    The leaders see 5km to the second KOM line at McLain Flats, but again there's not points on offer on the opening circuit. KOM points will be up for grabs on the second and third laps of the circuit.

  23. 79.1km remaining from 97.6km

    13:45:52 MDT

    As the break had completed 11.5 miles (18.5km) their lead has grown slightly to 1:10

  24. 13:47:27 MDT

    Lewis, Cooke and Burnett see 1km to the McLain Flats KOM line.

  25. 13:51:36 MDT

    There is quite a strong peloton assembled for the USA Pro Challenge. For the second time in the race's three-year existence the current Tour de France champion is present in Colorado. That would be Chris Froome of Team Sky.

    The British WorldTour squad is also racing in the United States for the first time. Froome is joined by his trusty lieutenant Richie Porte, but they've stated they're here in the US in support of their American teammates: Joe Dombrowksi, Ian Boswell and Danny Pate. Read more about Froome's and Porte's take on the team's plans here.

  26. 13:56:09 MDT

    As the leaders make their way back towards downtown Aspen they're currently passing by some very nice horse farms.

  27. 13:56:56 MDT

    The gap between Lewis, Cooke and Burnett and the peloton has grown to two minutes.

  28. 13:57:41 MDT

    Another star from this year's Tour de France in attendance at the USA Pro Challenge is green jersey winner Peter Sagan (Cannondale). It's the first time Sagan has raced in Colorado and the first time that the Tour's green jersey champion has started the race.

  29. 13:59:01 MDT

    Cyclingnews' Pat Malach is in the race convoy and reports that the wind is pretty calm.

    The break sees 5km until the first intermediate sprint, which is at the end of the first circuit in downtown Aspen.

  30. 14:01:19 MDT

    Peter Sagan has been training in Aspen for two weeks to acclimate to the altitude and is building for the road world championships. Read about Sagan's early trip to Colorado here.

  31. 14:04:31 MDT

    The USA Pro Challenge has drawn huge crowds in its first two years and today, the opening stage of the third edition, continues the trend. Plenty of parties alongside the route as well as a big turnout in Aspen.

  32. 14:07:56 MDT

    The break has rolled through the finish line and sees two laps to go. They didn't contest the sprint with Burnett crossing the line first, followed by Lewis and Cooke. They earn 5, 3 and 1 point respectively, all on offer for the lap.

  33. 66km remaining from 97.6km

    14:09:19 MDT

    The peloton crosses the finish line in Aspen and trails by 2:35.

  34. 14:13:11 MDT

    Peter Sagan is the heavy favourite to win today's opening stage. Cyclingnews' Pat Malach spoke to Sagan's teammate Ted King prior to the start and he stated that since the state is under 100km in length then the finish will be a crapshoot because there's plenty of talent assembled here.

    "To be honest, I think you'll see the GC guys get dropped and you'll see the sprinters make it to the line. That's the beast that is altitude.

    "Certainly on paper it's a good stage for Peter and we'll try to make that happen."

  35. 14:16:09 MDT

    The peloton has turned left onto Owl Creek Road while the break is making its way to the first KOM of the USA Pro Challenge

  36. 14:17:22 MDT

    Lewis, Cooke and Burnett are working well together, all rotating through and sharing the load. Cannondale is leading the peloton.

  37. 14:22:50 MDT

    Garmin-Sharp is also prominent near the head of the peloton. The US-based WorldTour squad calls Colorado home and they have 2012 USA Pro Challenge champion Christian Vande Velde on their roster, wearing race #1. Garmin has plenty of options with a very deep roster, likey the strongest top to bottom of any in the race.

    While Vande Velde has downplayed his chances, the team is still chasing a repeat victory. Read about their assessment of the USA Pro Challenge here.

  38. 14:26:35 MDT

    One of the members of the break, Craig Lewis, had a strong showing in the recent Tour of Utah. He was out on the attack on the stage 4 circuit race in Salt Lake City and was the last member of the break to be caught in the stage endgame. For his efforts he was awarded the most aggressive rider for the stage.

  39. 14:28:41 MDT

    Sky's Chris Froome and Joe Dombrowski have slipped off the back of the peloton and Dombrowski is with the medical car. Dombrowski is now making his way back to the peloton with Froome pacing him. Not bad for a new-pro on the WorldTour level to be looked after by the current Tour de France champion.

  40. 14:29:28 MDT

    The break has crossed the day's first KOM with Matt Cooke taking top honours. He was followed across the line by Lewis then Burnett.

  41. 14:30:32 MDT

    Four places are up for grabs on category four climbs, so the rider that leads the peloton across will pick up the final 1 point.

  42. 14:31:48 MDT

    Cooke's teammate Tyler Wren took the fourth and final place on the Snowmass KOM. 4,3,2 and 1 point are up for grabs at each KOM.

  43. 14:32:24 MDT

    The gap to the break has dropped slightly to 1:55.

  44. 14:37:53 MDT

    Cyclingnews' Pat Malach spoke to Sky's Ian Boswell before today's stage. "We've got a good team here, obviously and these guys are having a good time in the States.

    "I think some of the guys who have been here at altitude a bit will want to make it a hard stage to put the hurt on the guys who just got here. On paper it's a stage for Sagan, as well as many other stages."

  45. 14:41:52 MDT

    One of the memorable stage wins of the 2012 USA Pro Challenge was Rory Sutherland winning alone on Flagstaff Mountain in Boulder. Sutherland is back for his third USA Pro Challenge, this time as part of the WorldTour squad Saxo-Tinkoff. Read about his take on the 2013 edition of the race here.

  46. 14:42:37 MDT

    The three-man break is nearing the second KOM situated 54.9km into the stage.

  47. 14:46:04 MDT

    Matt Cooke again takes top honours in the KOM, followed by Lewis and Burnett.

    Meanwhile riders are starting to be gapped off the back of the peloton as it approaches the KOM.

  48. 14:49:13 MDT

    Matt Cooke (Jamis-Hagens Berman) is a very strong climber and started this season without a pro contract. Midway through the year, however, Cooke was picked up by US-based Continental team Jamis-Hagens Berman. The 34-year-old American is in his sixth pro season and won the Mont-Megantic mountain finish stage at the 2012 Tour de Beauce.

  49. 14:49:46 MDT

    The results of the second KOM were identical to the first: Cooke, Lewis, Burnett and Wren.

  50. 14:50:11 MDT

    The break's gap is down to 1:30.

  51. 14:54:42 MDT

    Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies director Jonas Carney spoke to Cyclingnews prior to today's stage and thought that the amount of riders arriving together at the finish would depend on how aggressively the stage was contested. As the stage is shaping up now, with a three-man break being kept in check, it's looking like we might see a bigger bunch sprint finale. The Optum squad has multiple fast finishers in Alex Candelario, Ken Hanson, Mike Friedman and Ryan Anderson so look to the US Continental squad to figure in a sprint finale.

  52. 35km remaining from 97.6km

    14:56:35 MDT

    Our leaders Lewis, Cooke and Burnett are nearing the end of the second circuit and will see one lap to go when they cross the finish line. The break is 2km from the finish line.

  53. 15:01:10 MDT

    Garmin-Sharp's Andrew Talansky is making his first start at the USA Pro Challenge. The 24-year-old American finished 10th overall in his debut Tour de France this past July. Read about his thoughts on the Tour, the USA Pro Challenge as well as Chris Froome here.

  54. 33km remaining from 97.6km

    15:02:17 MDT

    Cannondale leads the peloton across the finish line, 1:35 behind the break. The break had passed through the finish line led across by Lewis.

  55. 15:06:30 MDT

    The third member of the break, Ian Burnett (Jelly Belly p/b Kenda), is a 26-year-old American in his fourth year as a professional. He's one of many Colorado riders in the peloton and calls Durango home. Jelly Belly is led by US pro champion Freddie Rodriguez who should figure prominently in a sprint finale today.

  56. 15:07:36 MDT

    The break's gap has slipped to 1:15 as they climb to the day's third KOM at Snowmass.

  57. 25.6km remaining from 97.6km

    15:09:47 MDT

    The break is 72km into today's stage with a lead of 1:10 over the peloton.

  58. 15:10:51 MDT

    The break sees 5km to the Snowmass KOM and their advantage is at 1:05

  59. 15:11:37 MDT

    The field now sees 5km to the Snowmass KOM.

  60. 15:13:42 MDT

    The winner of today's opening stage will also earn the first leader's jersey of the 2013 USA Pro Challenge. Who will it be?

  61. 15:15:14 MDT

    The peloton has passed through the feed zone and the gap to the break is holding at 1:10.

  62. 15:16:02 MDT

    Cannondale is still powering the peloton, working for their leader Peter Sagan.

  63. 15:18:32 MDT

    Cooke is accelerating away from this breakaway companions in the approach to the day's third KOM...

  64. 20.2km remaining from 97.6km

    15:20:14 MDT

    Cooke wins the third KOM and has earnd the mountains jersey for his efforts off the front. Burnett crossed second, followed by Lewis.

    And Richie Porte (Sky) led the peloton across the KOM line for fourth place.

  65. 15:21:00 MDT

    Inside of 20km to go the break's lead is at one minute.

  66. 15:22:00 MDT

    The pace is picking up in the peloton as the break's lead is down to 45 seconds.

  67. 15km remaining from 97.6km

    15:24:08 MDT

    The break sees the 15km to the finish marker.

  68. 15:26:07 MDT

    RadioShack Leopard has now taken over the pace making in the peloton and the gap is down to 25 seconds.

    Burnett has been dropped from the break

  69. 15:26:39 MDT

    Burnett has been absorbed by the field as Lewis and Cooke remain together off the front with a tenuous lead.

  70. 15:27:44 MDT

    Lewis is putting in a hard pull, trying to maintain the break's advantage.

  71. 15:28:00 MDT

    Chris Froome (Sky) has been dropped from the peloton.

  72. 12km remaining from 97.6km

    15:29:42 MDT

    The break is at 12km to go and holds a 25-second lead.

  73. 15:30:26 MDT

    About 25 riders have been dropped from the field while Cooke drops Lewis at the head of the race.

  74. 15:31:26 MDT

    Craig Lewis has been caught by the peloton, leaving Matt Cooke alone off the front.

  75. 15:32:22 MDT

    Matt Cooke (Jamis-Hagens Berman is trying to make it a clean sweep of the day's four KOMs.

  76. 9.7km remaining from 97.6km

    15:33:22 MDT

    Cooke has crossed the day's final KOM alone and has 9.7km to go.

  77. 15:34:15 MDT

    Cooke is refusing to yield, but the catch has almost been made by the peloton.

  78. 15:37:27 MDT

    Just as the catch of Cooke was made an attack was launched from the peloton. There are now seven riders off the front: George Bennett (RadioShack Leopard), Peter Sagan (Cannondale), Javier Mejías Leal (Novo Nordisk), Carter Jones (Bissell), Matt Cooke (Jamis-Hagens Berman), Ben Jacques-Maynes (Jamis-Hagens Berman), Tom Zirbel (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies)

  79. 15:37:55 MDT

    The break has 20 seconds on the field with Sky on the front.

  80. 15:38:40 MDT

    The break has split with Bennett and Jones leading, followed by their five former companions.

  81. 5km remaining from 97.6km

    15:40:11 MDT

    Only Bennett and Jones are off the front as the five chasers have been caught at 5km to go.

  82. 15:40:56 MDT

    The break's gap is holding at 20 seconds.

  83. 3km remaining from 97.6km

    15:42:03 MDT

    George Bennett and Carter Jones pass 3km to the finish with a 15-second lead.

  84. 2km remaining from 97.6km

    15:43:28 MDT

    The leaders see 2km to the finish with the gap closing.

  85. 1km remaining from 97.6km

    15:44:55 MDT

    BMC is leading the chase as the break has been caught at 1km to go.

  86. 15:46:09 MDT

    BMC is working to set up Greg Van Avermaet.

  87. 15:46:25 MDT

    Peter Sagan is well-placed out of the final turn.

  88. 15:47:59 MDT

    And Peter Sagan turns on the afterburners to win the first stage at the USA Pro Challenge.

    Unofficially Greg Van Avermaet (BMC)and Kiel Reijnan (UnitedHealthcare) round out the top three.

  89. 15:56:28 MDT

    Stage 1 brief results:

    1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale Pro Cycling
    2 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
    3 Kiel Reijnen (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team
    4 Tony Gallopin (Fra) RadioShack Leopard
    5 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team

  90. 15:57:03 MDT

    Thank you for joining Cyclingnews on the opening day of racing at the USA Pro Challenge!

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