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Good afternoon and welcome to our live coverage of Stage 6 of the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado, a 185.4 km road race from Loveland to Ft. Collins.
The riders are 55 km into the stage and there is a breakaway forming that includes Joshua Edmondson (Sky), Mick Rogers (Saxo-Tinkoff), Tim Duggan (Saxo-Tinkoff), Jeff Louder (UnitedHealthcare), Fabio Duerta (Colombia), Javier Megias Leal (Novo Nordisk) and Jesse Anthony (Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies), among others.
They are approaching the day’s big climb up to Devil’s Gulch, which summits at 79.2 km, and it's the only king of the mountain during the stage.
The breakaway also includes Thomas Dekker (Garmin-Sharp), Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp), Tiago Machado (RadioShack), Bruno Pires (Saxo-Tinkoff), Simon Geschke (Argos-Shimano), Jonathan McCarty (Bissell), Chris Jones (UnitedHealthcare).
The breakaway riders are as follows:
Thomas Dekker (Garmin-Sharp)
Andrew Talansky (Garmin-Sharp)
Joshua Edmondson (Sky)
Tiago Machado (RadioShack)
Mick Rogers (Saxo-Tinkoff)
Bruno Pires (Saxo-Tinkoff)
Tim Duggan (Saxo-Tinkoff)
Simon Geschke (Argos-Shimano)
Fabio Duerta (Colombia)
Javier Megias Leal (Novo Nordisk)
Chris Jones (UnitedHealthcare)
Jeff Louder (UnitedHealthcare)
Jonathan McCarty (Bissell)
Kirk Carlsen (Bissell)
Jesse Anthony (Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies)
Today’s stage is likely one of the last chances to make any significant changes to the overall classification. There was a big turnout of fans at the start line in Loveland. The stage is 185 km with 11,855 ft of climbing. There were two intermediate sprints located in Windsor at 8.2 km and Loveland and 33.9 km, where the crowds were huge.
Results of the first sprint were Luis Amaran (Jamis-Hagens Berman), Nic Hamilton (Jelly Belly presented by Kenda) and David Riba (Novo Nordisk).
Results of the second sprint were Chris Jones (UnitedHealthcare), Kirk Carlsen (Bissell) and Marsh Cooper (Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies).
The field has been treated to nice, smooth and flat roads for the start of this stage. It’s a nice day, about 68 degrees Fahrenheit, with just a few clouds overhead.
Mike Friedman (Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies) pulled out of the race. He crashed near the finish line in Steamboat Springs and has been racing in pain since then.
The breakaway is climbing toward Devil's Gulch, which summits at 79.2 km.
King of the Mountain leader Matt Cooke (Jamis-Hagens Berman) lives close the race course today. He said that his legs were feeling good this morning and that he was going to race hard today. Cooke has already wrapped up the KOM competition, he just needs to finish the race to officially win it now.
To recap the overall classification,
1. Tejay van Garderen (BMC) 16:10:00
2. Mathias Frank (BMC) +1:30
3. Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp) +1:42
4. Janier Acevedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman) +2:10
5. Lachlan Morton (Garmin-Sharp) +2:34
6. Gregory Brenes Obando (Champion System) +3:25
7. Lawson Craddock (Bontrager) +3:42
8. George Bennett (RadioShack-Leopard) +3:58
9. Rory Sutherland (Saxo-Tinkoff) +4:11
10. Philip Deignan (UnitedHealthcare) +4:12
The breakaway has a 1:30 minutes gap over the field right now.
Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp) told Cyclingnews’ Peter Hymas that he’s feeling good. “As a pure climber, this course overall is a challenge to win. I’m pretty close to home today, as well as Tejay [van Garderen], so we’ll see what we can do. Next year I want to find the nastiest, steepest climb for a summit finish.”
The breakaway riders are increasing their gap over the field, now at nearly two minutes.
The climb up to Devil's Gulch gets steeper near the top and could play into the hands of some of the stronger climbers in this breakaway.
UnitedHealthcare riders Chris Jones and Jeff Louder are doing their fair share of work in the breakaway. Their teammate Ben Day told Cyclingnews' Peter Hymas this morning that,
"We’ve got nothing to lose here today, so we’re going to throw down. All of a sudden we’re at 5,000 ft and it hurts in a different way. It stings. The Boulder stage last year was at the same elevation and it bloody hurt.”â�¨
Garmin-Sharp has two riders in the move with Dekker and Talansky, runner-up in yesterday's Stage 5 time trial in Vail.
Ed Beamon, DS for Champion System, expected Garmin-Sharp to be aggressive today saying that, "we certainly expect Garmin to attack today. They’ve got to try. Gregory Brenes, Craig Lewis and Chad Beyer we’ll save for later, but everyone else has the green light to attack.”
Unfortunately they don't have a rider in this particular move, but there is still a lot of racing left today.
The breakaway is nearing the summit of Devil's Gulch and they are all together so far.
The rows of fans are getting thicker as the breakaway approaches the top of Devil's Gulch.
The switchbacks are very steep but the breakaway has made it to the top and they are on a small descent into Estes Park.
The riders will descend into the third intermediate sprint positioned at 87.9 km, before climbing back up into Estes Park. They will then make the big descent followed by a set of rollers toward the finish line in Ft. Collins.
The breakaway is 5 km to the third sprint.
George Bennett from the RadioShack team is sitting in 8th place in the overall classification. He predicted that there would be a big breakaway today.
“There will be a big break but it won’t go easy. I’m not sure they’ll let me go. It’s a bit boring riding for GC sometimes. I wasn’t included in talks this morning about early attack strategy.”
Talansky has had a mechanical and he is working his way back up to the breakaway.
Edmondson also has a flat tire and needs a wheel change.
There are thousands of fans out to watch the race in Estes Park as the breakaway approaches the third sprint today.
The breakaway is 1 km to the sprint in Estes Park.
The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park is well known for inspiring novelist Stephen King's horror film The Shining. Spooky!
Rogers picked up the points at the intermediate sprint followed by his teammate Pires and then Duarte.
Fans in Estes Park seem to be fond of Jens Voigt. Cyclingnews' Peter Hymas says there are tons of signs out for Voigt on course.
Lachlan Morton (Garmin-Sharp), Richie Porte (Sky) and Mathias Frank (BMC) have attacked out of the main field.
Frank and Morton were joined by George Bennett (RadioShack), Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Janier Acevedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman). Porte is back in the main field.
The breakaway is holding a 1.5-minute gap over the small group of chasers.
Full results, photos and report are posted for Vuelta a Espana Stage 1 Team Time Trial.
The breakaway is about to pass by Bill Walton who's watching the race today. The former NBA star and avid cyclist has been riding the race route every day.
The breakaway riders are holding a gap of 1:20 minutes.
BMC riders are leading the peloton with race leader Tejay van Garderen tucked in behind.
Peter Sagan is siting comfortably in the field and will be looking to his Cannondale teammates to take him to the finish line in winning position.
US Cycling Hall of Fame inductee Ron Kiefel is back in the thick of bike racing in Colorado, piloting a VIP car in the race caravan. Read Cyclingnews' Pat Malach's full story.
The breakaway is holding a minute and half gap.
Cannondale is pushing the pace at the front of the main field in an effort to close that gap down before the finish line in Ft. Collins.
Some of the riders are taking water bottles from the team cars on the descent.
The breakaway riders have increased their gap to 2 minutes.
It's not an easy run-in to the finish line in Ft. Collins. There are a lot of back-to-back small hills that could provide an opportunity for riders attack.
But for now, the breakaway and the main field are on the long and smooth descent through Big Thompson Canyon.
The breakaway is holding 1:45 minutes with 50 km to the finish line in Ft. Collins.
Lauren Hall (Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies) won the women's Fort Follies Grand Prix criterium in Ft. Collins today. She won the bunch sprint ahead of Jo Kiesanowski (Tibco) and Leah Kirchmann (Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies).
The Best Young Rider competition has been heated this week with Lachlan Morton (Garmin-Sharp) leading head of Lawson Craddock (Bontrager) and George Bennett (RadioShack).
Morton is also sitting in 5th place overall and working for 3rd placed Tom Danielson. He told us this morning that, "we’re definitely going to give it a crack today. We’ll see what we can do.”
Craddock is focused on the young rider jersey and said that, “Lachlan is very strong but if the race splits up there might be a chance to take the jersey. The race for the leader’s jersey isn’t over. Garmin is going to go down swinging.”
Teams BMC and Cannondale are sharing the work at the front of the main field. There are some big rollers just ahead.
The gap between the breakaway and the main field is starting to fall, it's down to 1:25 minutes.
The breakaway is starting to lose a little bit of its organization as the riders get tired toward the end of the race. Small gaps are forming on the larger rollers.
The breakaway riders are starting to attack one another. Carlsen and Machado are together off the front of the breakaway.
Geschke has attacked and passed Carlsen and Machado.
Four riders are now together off the front of the original breakaway. Machado, Carlsen, Duarte and Geschke are pushing the pace over the rollers on the way to Ft. Collins.
Geschke is charging over one of the rollers and is looking the strongest of the four-rider move. He's opening a small gap.
Lucas Euser (UnitedHealthcare) has attacked out of the main field.
Euser is opening a small gap over the main field.
The original breakaway has split into three groups. Euser is about to catch the remnants of that breakaway.
The main field is starting to pick up the pace on the rollers and are closing the gap down with 20 km to go.
Cannondale is driving the field behind the breakaway riders.
The breakaway riders are Rogers, Dekker, Megias Leal and Edmondson.
The gap is holding at just over one minute with 12 km to go.
There's been a crash in the main field. US time trial champion Tom Zirbel (Optum) has gone down.
Sagan is racing very aggressively today and is heading across the gap.
There is a lot of attacking happening at the front of the main field.
The gap is now 30 seconds with 10 km to go.
Dekker, Edmondson, Rogers and Megias Leal are trying to hang on to a small lead.
Jelly Belly has thrown in a rider to help with the chase.
Cannondale's Alessandro De Marchi is really working hard on the front of the main field, gap is down to 25 seconds with 7 km to go.
The field is flying into Ft. Collins and the gap is down to 15 seconds.
Megias has attacked and Rogers has responded.
Rogers and Megias are desperately trying to hold onto a small 10-second lead over a charging field with 5 km to go.
The pair have been caught and the field is speeding into Ft. Collins for what looks like it might be a bunch sprint.
Saxo-Tinkoff attacks out of the main field.
The pace is high but riders are still attacking from UnitedHealthcare and Saxo.
Edwin Avila has attacked with 2 km to go.
1 km to go
Saxo has attacked again.
300 m to go
Rory Sutherland is on the front
Sagan takes the win!
The unofficial top three in the stage were
1. Peter Sagan (Cannondale)
2. Luka Mezgec (Argos-Shimano)
3. Greg van Avermaet (BMC).
Here are the unofficial top 10 in Stage 6:
1Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale Pro Cycling
2Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team Argos-Shimano
3Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
4Edwin Avila (Col) Colombia
5Alessandro Bazzana (Ita) UnitedHealthcare
6Andrea Peron (Ita) Novo Nordisk
7Rory Sutherland (Aus) Team Saxo-Tinkoff
8Fred Rodriguez (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Kenda
9Michael Olsson (Swe) Argos-Shimano
10Joonas Henttala (Fin) Novo Nordisk
General classification after stage 6
1Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 20:11:33
2Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing Team 0:01:30
3Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin-Sharp 0:01:42
4Janier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Jamis-Hagens Berman 0:02:43
5Lachlan David Morton (Aus) Garmin-Sharp 0:03:07
6Gregory Brenes Obando (CRc) Champion System Pro Cycling Team 0:03:25
7Lawson Craddock (USA) Bontrager Cycling Team 0:03:42
8Rory Sutherland (Aus) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:04:11
9Philip Deignan (Irl) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team 0:04:12
10Carter Jones (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling0:04:13
Thank you for following along with our live coverage of Stage 6 at the USA Pro Challenge. Join us again tomorrow for the finale, Stage 7's circuit race in Denver.