2015 USA Pro Challenge stage 1 preview

Steamboat Springs, 156km

The 2015 USA Pro Challenge begins in Steamboat Springs, with two laps of a challenging 78km circuit. Beginning at just under 7000ft in altitude, the stage is much lower than last year's start at Snowmass, but climbs up CR 27 almost to 8,000ft before dropping back down to the start line. The stage will have two category 4 climbs and one intermediate sprint, and with the second climb coming with more than 40km to go, it should give the sprinters plenty of time to get back on to contest the finish.

Mike Creed says:

Any climb thats at 7500 feet of elevation will be a tricky one. On paper, it doesn’t look like much. But bike races aren’t abject examples of “on paper” logic.

I’m writing this before I get confirmed start list. So, I could be leaving someone out who didn’t do Tour of Utah. But, I would assume that Eric Young, with a refenforced lead out from Ryan Anderson and GuillaumeBovin will be a threat.

Drapac with Wouter Wippert is obviously a bet, too. But the way he was climbing at Utah. He’ll have to have his head on.

Optum rarely takes control of the race, which is a dangerous move for a team with such a obvious winner. They’re probably safe flying under the radar. But if something goes pete tong, he’ll be left on his own. My dark horse is Logan Owen. He’s a handy little guy in the fast sprints after a hard day.

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