Van Garderen hoping to distance rivals in USA Pro Challenge time trial

Following a day for the breakaway opportunists during Friday's stage 5 road race at the USA Pro Challenge, the general classification contenders will take center stage again Saturday when the race returns to Vail for the stage 6 time trial on the penultimate day.

The mostly uphill route, which starts in downtown Vail and finishes near the top of Vail Pass, ascends more than 460 meters over 16.1km and finishes at 2,945 meters of elevation. The stage has been in three of the four editions of the race, and the largest margin of victory has been just four seconds.

BMC's Tejay van Garderen, this year's current race leader, successfully defend the yellow jersey there last year with a win over Garmin-Sharp's Andrew Talansky on the way to his first overall win at the race. Despite his recent success, van Garderen expects Saturday's stage to be another difficult test.

"Last year, even though I won it, I still feel like I got my pacing wrong because I really started to die there in the last kilometer and a half," he said. "If you look at the time splits between Talansky and I – Talansky was second on the day – I was like 30 seconds up on him and I finished only four seconds up on him. So I'm still trying to figure that out, and hopefully I'll get it right this time."

Talansky is racing at the Vuelta a Espana this year and won't be in Vail to challenge van Garderen again, but there should be plenty of contenders for both the stage win and a possible upset in the general classification.

Tinkoff-Saxo's Rafal Majka is currently sitting second overall in Colorado, just 20 seconds behind van Garderen. He finished seventh during the Giro d'Italia's uphill time trial in May, but when van Garderen and Majka went head-to-head in the 54km flat time trial at the Tour de France, the Tinkoff rider was four minutes slower than van Garderen.

Serghei Tvetcov (Jelly Belly-Maxxis), third overall at just 37 seconds, is a two-time national time trial champion in his home country of Moldova and has found a lot of time trial success in domestic calendar events. But it's yet to be seen if he can compete with WorldTour riders like van Garderen in the discipline. The uphill trajectory of the race might also work against him; Tvetcov lost 1:37 to van Garderen on the same course last year.

Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp) is 39 seconds behind van Garderen, while Matthew Busche (Trek Factory Racing) is 51 seconds down. Danielson ceded more than a minute to van Garderen during the Vail stage last year, and Busche has never really shined in the race against the clock at this level.

Further down the general classification, Hincapie Sportswear's Joey Rosskopf, fifth overall at 1:14 down, is an accomplished time trialist and has been climbing well, so he could pull off a surprise result in Vail. Optum Pro Cycling's Carter Jones is currently seventh overall, just 1:22 off the lead pace, and he has also found success in similar stages.

"Carter time trials well at altitude," said Optum director Jonas Carney. "He time trials well when there's climbing, like at the Tour of the Gila this year, where he took the yellow jersey in the time trial. So we're hoping he has a good day."

Other contenders for the stage win include Laurent Didier, the Trek Factory Racing rider who won stage 5 in Breckenridge. Didier spent much of Friday's stage in the breakaway, however, and he might find himself a bit knackered after the effort.

Didier's teammate Jens Voigt, the soon-to-be-retired German rider who came up one 1km short of a stage win Thursday in Colorado Springs, said he had circled Saturday's time trial for another good effort.

"The Denver stage, there's a climb in there but it comes too early, so it's going to be a bunch kick," Voigt said in Colorado Springs. "It doesn't really make much sense to go there, so maybe I'll take it a little easy and then go for the TT. The legs are good, and maybe I can run a good place there. Maybe three, four, five, six I could do in the TT. We'll see."

Rich history on Vail course

Dating back to the Coors Classic in the 1980s and '90s, the time trial course in Vail has hosted some of the biggest names in American and international cycling. Giro d'Italia winner Andy Hampsten raced on the course, along with Tour de France winners Bernard Hinault and Greg Lemond. Van Garderen said it's an honor to compete on the same roads.

"This sport is all about tradition," van Garderen said. "Some races date back 100 years. This is definitely an historic race because it was brought back from the old days of the Coors Classic. That's what people like to see. They like to see those old photos of the legends of cycling going up these roads, and it's a huge honor to be in the record books above names like Bernard Hinault and Greg LeMond. That's something special."

Van Garderen has his own varied history with the Vail time trial. He wore yellow into the stage in 2011, when he finished a disappointing fifth, losing 51 seconds to Levi Leipheimer and ceding the race lead. Television images of van Garderen's emotional response were seared into the minds of many cycling fans, and perhaps even van Garderen himself.

Leipheimer went on to win the overall, and van Garderen had to be content with third and the jersey for best young rider. But van Garderen exorcized those demons last year, successfully defending his race lead in Vail and then taking the yellow jersey all the way through to the finish in Denver.

The BMC team leader said Friday that he has a "little bit" of nerves going into Saturday's individual test, but he's also confident.

"I think all the guys around me on GC, I've beaten in time trials before and I have a pretty comfortable margin," van Garderen said. "As long as I just stay calm I think I should be fine. I mean, even if I lose the stage, all I need to do really is manage the gap. So, yeah, I'm nervous but confident."

Start times

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamStart time
1Aaron Perry (NZl) Team Novo Nordisk13:05:00
2Johnathan Freter (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis13:06:00
3Martijn Verschoor (Ned) Team Novo Nordisk13:07:00
4Nathan Van Hooydonck (Bel) Bissell Development Team13:08:00
5Scott Ambrose (NZl) Team Novo Nordisk13:09:00
6Mike Friedman (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies13:10:00
7Jordan Kerby (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling13:11:00
8Michel Koch (Ger) Cannondale13:12:00
9Jure Kocjan (Slo) Team SmartStop13:13:00
10Rick Zabel (Ger) BMC Racing Team13:14:00
11Luis Romero Amaran (Cub) Jamis-Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home13:15:00
12Steve Fisher (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis13:16:00
13Michael Cuming (GBr) Rapha Condor JLT13:17:00
14Leopold König (Cze) Team Netapp-Endura13:18:00
15Kristian House (GBr) Rapha Condor JLT13:19:00
16Michael Schwarzmann (Ger) Team Netapp-Endura13:20:00
17Tom Moses (GBr) Rapha Condor JLT13:21:00
18Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale13:22:00
19Jesper Hansen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo13:23:00
20Charles Planet (Fra) Team Novo Nordisk13:24:00
21Elliott Porter (GBr) Rapha Condor JLT13:25:00
22Stephen Leece (USA) Jamis-Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home13:26:00
23Toms Skujins (Lat) Hincapie Sportswear Development13:27:00
24Yannick Eijssen (Bel) BMC Racing Team13:28:00
25Bernard Sulzberger (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling13:29:00
26Alexander Candelario (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies13:30:00
27Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling13:31:00
28Edward King (USA) Cannondale13:32:00
29Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling13:33:00
30Scott Zwizanski (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies13:34:00
31Alan Marangoni (Ita) Cannondale13:35:00
32Jonathan Clarke (Aus) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling13:36:00
33Joonas Henttala (Fin) Team Novo Nordisk13:37:00
34Christopher Jones (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling13:38:00
35Gregory Daniel (USA) Bissell Development Team13:39:00
36Daniel Summerhill (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling13:40:00
37Calvin Watson (Aus) Trek Factory Racing13:41:00
38Cristiano Salerno (Ita) Cannondale13:42:00
39Jacob Rathe (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis13:43:00
40Adam Phelan (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling13:44:00
41Ian Burnett (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis13:45:00
42Matt Cooke (USA) Jamis-Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home13:46:00
43Zachary Bell (Can) Team SmartStop13:47:00
44Kirk Carlsen (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis13:48:00
45James Oram (NZl) Bissell Development Team13:49:00
46Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA) Jamis-Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home13:50:00
47Joseph Lewis (Aus) Hincapie Sportswear Development13:51:00
48Darren Lapthorne (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling13:52:00
49Jeffry Louder (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling13:53:00
50Matej Mohoric (Slo) Cannondale13:54:00
51Ian Crane (USA) Jamis-Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home13:55:00
52Gavin Mannion (USA) Team Garmin-Sharp13:56:00
53Luis Enrique Davila (Mex) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis13:57:00
54Keegan Swirbul (USA) Bissell Development Team13:58:00
55Hayden Roulston (NZl) Trek Factory Racing13:59:00
56Michael Torckler (NZl) Team SmartStop14:00:00
57Markel Irizar Aranburu (Esp) Trek Factory Racing14:01:00
58Jai Crawford (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling14:02:00
59Thomas Dekker (Ned) Team Garmin-Sharp14:03:00
60Martin Kohler (Sui) BMC Racing Team14:04:00
61Ivan Basso (Ita) Cannondale14:05:00
62Tyler Magner (USA) Hincapie Sportswear Development14:06:00
63Carson Miller (USA) Jamis-Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home14:07:00
64Bjorn Selander (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies14:08:00
65Cameron Wurf (Aus) Cannondale14:09:00
66Benjamin Day (Aus) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling14:10:00
67Oscar Clark (USA) Hincapie Sportswear Development14:11:00
68Caleb Fairly (USA) Team Garmin-Sharp14:12:00
69Robin Carpenter (USA) Hincapie Sportswear Development14:13:00
70Daniel Eaton (USA) Bissell Development Team14:14:00
71Jesse Anthony (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies14:15:00
72Kiel Reijnen (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling14:16:00
73Patrick Konrad (Aut) Team Netapp-Endura14:17:00
74Edward Beltran Suarez (Col) Tinkoff-Saxo14:18:00
75Gregor Muhlberger (Aut) Team Netapp-Endura14:19:00
76Hugh Carthy (GBr) Rapha Condor JLT14:20:00
77Dion Smith (NZl) Hincapie Sportswear Development14:21:00
78Richard Handley (GBr) Rapha Condor JLT14:22:00
79Rasmus Guldhammer (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo14:23:00
80Jose Joao Pimenta Costa Mendes (Por) Team Netapp-Endura14:24:00
81Michael Rogers (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo14:25:00
82Tom Zirbel (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies14:26:00
83Lachlan Norris (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling14:27:00
84Ryan Anderson (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies14:28:00
85Tiago Machado (Por) Team Netapp-Endura14:29:00
86Phillip Gaimon (USA) Team Garmin-Sharp14:30:00
87Javier Megias Leal (Esp) Team Novo Nordisk14:31:00
88Tanner Putt (USA) Bissell Development Team14:32:00
89Laurent Didier (Lux) Trek Factory Racing14:33:00
90Robbie Squire (USA) Jamis-Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home14:34:00
91Jens Voigt (Ger) Trek Factory Racing14:35:00
92Rob Britton (Can) Team SmartStop14:36:00
93David de la Cruz Melgarejo (Esp) Team Netapp-Endura14:37:00
94Peter Stetina (USA) BMC Racing Team14:38:00
95Chris Butler (USA) Hincapie Sportswear Development14:39:00
96Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team14:40:00
97Benjamin King (USA) Team Garmin-Sharp14:41:00
98Michael Schär (Sui) BMC Racing Team14:42:00
99Janier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Team Garmin-Sharp14:44:00
100Daniel Alexander Jaramillo Diez (Col) Jamis-Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home14:46:00
101Ruben Zepuntke (Ger) Bissell Development Team14:48:00
102Frank Schleck (Lux) Trek Factory Racing14:50:00
103Pawel Poljanski (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo14:52:00
104Riccardo Zoidl (Aut) Trek Factory Racing14:54:00
105Lucas Euser (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling14:56:00
106Clement Chevrier (Fra) Bissell Development Team14:58:00
107Bruno Pires (Por) Tinkoff-Saxo15:00:00
108Alex Howes (USA) Team Garmin-Sharp15:02:00
109Julian Kyer (USA) Team SmartStop15:04:00
110Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC Racing Team15:06:00
111Bartosz Huzarski (Pol) Team Netapp-Endura15:08:00
112Carter Jones (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies15:10:00
113Joseph Rosskopf (USA) Hincapie Sportswear Development15:12:00
114Matthew Busche (USA) Trek Factory Racing15:14:00
115Thomas Danielson (USA) Team Garmin-Sharp15:16:00
116Serghei Tvetcov (Rou) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis15:18:00
117Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo15:20:00
118Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team15:22:00

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