Good morning and welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of stage 2 of the USA Pro Challenge, a 169.7km race from Aspen to Crested Butte.
The peloton is about to start the second stage at the USA Pro Challenge. They'll be racing for 169km starting in Aspen, passing over McClure Pass, then up Kebler Pass and finishing on the climb up Mt. Crested Butte.
UnitedHealtcare's Kiel Reijnen won the opening stage in Aspen yesterday, and for those of you who missed it, here were the top 10.
1 Kiel Reijnen (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling 2:26:35
2 Alex Howes (USA) Team Garmin-Sharp
3 Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:00:03
4 Carter Jones (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
5 Matthew Busche (USA) Trek Factory Racing
6 Javier Megias Leal (Esp) Team Novo Nordisk
7 Michael Schär (Sui) BMC Racing Team 0:00:12
8 Joseph Rosskopf (USA) Hincapie Sportswear Development
9 Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team
10 Lucas Euser (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
Reijnen not only took the early lead in the race but he is also leading the points competition and the best Colorado rider competition. His teammate Danny Summerhill took the most aggressive rider award for the stage. Not a bad day for UnitedHealthcare!
Ben Jacques-Maynes (Jamis-Hagens Berman) is currently leading the mountains classification and Clement Chevrier (Bissell Development) is leading the young rider classification. BMC Racing is leading the team competition.
Cyclingnews' Laura Weislo spoke with UnitedHealthcare's manager Mike Tamayo at the stage 2 start in Aspen and it sounded like the team will likely not defend Kiel Reijnen's race lead. Here is what he had to say,
"We will stick with our original plan and go for the green jersey with Kiel Reijnen, and go for the sprints."
The riders are on the neutral start for nearly five kilometers out of Aspen. There are some really good crowds out today to watch the peloton start stage 2.
The riders are now descending out of Aspen at nearly 50 km/h.
The peloton will have to take on some gravel roads today while climbing up Kebler Pass, and while descending off the mountain too. It is the penultimate climb of the stage.
Cyclingnews' reporter Pat Malach spoke with some of the team mechanics today to find out if the riders made any changes to their bikes given the gravel sections and possible rain in the forecast.
Most said they would make no changes to their tire choice, but a couple said that they might lower the pressure a tiny bit to give riders more contact with the road. Garmin's mechanics said they will keep tire pressure high because of the race altitude.
There were two riders who did not start stage 2; Kevin De Mesmaeker (Novo Nordisk) and Joshua Berry (SmartStop).
Fred Rodriguez (Jelly Belly) didn't finish stage 1 and Graham Briggs (Rapha Condor JLT) finished outside of the stage 1 time limit.
There are two riders that have escaped the field; Toms Skujins (Hincapie Development) and Matej Mohoric (Cannondale).
The pair have a 30-second gap while Daniel Jaramillo (Jamis) is trying to bridge the gap.
Jelly Belly's Fred Rodriguez, who did not finish stage 1, said in a post on Facebook that he had been suffering from asthma since racing at the Cascade Cycling Classic, where there were forest fires in the area. He competed at the Tour of Utah and realized that his lungs were not improving. He is focused on recovering in time for the Tour of Alberta in September.
Jaramillo is back in the field. And Skujins has also been reeled back in by the peloton. Mohoric is still holding a slight gap as the race heads through Basalt.
Cyclingnews' Pat Malach says that there are some big crowds in Basalt and the field is one kilometer from the intermediate sprint.
The town has set up an inflatable arch with 100 meters to the first sprint, hopefully that doesn't confuse the riders going for sprint points.
Ops, and the field sprinted for the decorative inflatable arch, which was 100 meters before the sprint line in Basalt.
And the field slows down to take a nature break.
It looks like the clouds are lifting and that perhaps the field won't get rained on today.
37km remaining from 169km
The field is all together.
132km remaining from 169km
The field is taking it easy at the moment but the attacks will surely start up again soon.
The field is passing Catherine Store as the race turns off Hwy 82 onto rural roads. There are also reports of huge crowds in Carbondale.
It was Ty Magner (Hincapie Sports Development) who picked up first-place points at the first intermediate sprint today.
Ty Magner picked up full points at the second intermediate sprint as well. He was followed by race leader Kiel Reijnen (UnitedHealthcare) and Jure Kocjan (SmartStop).
109km remaining from 169km
The field is roughly 60km into the stage after passing the second intermediate sprint in Carbondale. Soon, they will begin to climb to McClure Summit.
92km remaining from 169km
As the field approaches the base of the climb to McClure Summit, a group of about 25 riders has split off the front of the field.
Michael Torckler (SmartStop) is the best placed rider on GC in the move, at 59 seconds behind race leader Kiel Reijnen.
Other riders in the breakaway are Dion Smith and Joe Lewis (Hincapie Sportswear Development), Kirk Carlsen and Luis Davila (Jelly Belly), Ryan Anderson and Jesse Anthony (Optum), mountain leader Ben Jacques-Maynes (Jamis), Chris Jones (UnitedHealthcare) and Jai Crawford (Drapac).
85km remaining from 169km
The breakaway of 12 riders is five kilometers from the top of McClure Summit and have an advantage of three minutes on the field.
The rider are Michael Torckler (SmartStop), Dion Smith and Joe Lewis (Hincapie Sportswear Development), Kirk Carlsen and Luis Davila (Jelly Belly), Ryan Anderson and Jesse Anthony (Optum), mountain leader Ben Jacques-Maynes (Jamis), Chris Jones (UnitedHealthcare) and Jai Crawford (Drapac). Two more riders joined the move that include David de la Cruz (NetApp-Endura) and Matej Mohoric (Cannondale)
Results from today's first KOM, up McClure summit are as follows:
1. David de la Cruz
2. Ben Jacques-Maynes
3. Michael Torckler
4. Jai Crawford
5. Luis Davila
6. Dion Smith
7. Kirk Carlsen
8. Jesse Anthony
9. Joe Lewis
10. Matej Mohoric
Riders have some downhill before they start climbing up to the next KOM of the day, Kebler Pass which tops out at 9980 feet.
67km remaining from 169km
All 12 break riders are still working well together. In case you've just joined us, they've been off the front for most of the stage today.
Race radio is reporting the gap between the break and the peloton at 4:10.
One of the toughest things about this race is the high altitude. Even if you can get out here in time to adjust to the altitude, you have to allow plenty of time afterward to recover from the effort.
Yellow jersey wearer and race leader Kiel Reijnen (Unitedhealthcare) is sitting safely in the peloton as they pass a reservoir. No doubt most of the men in the peloton are figuring they still have plenty of time and climbing left to catch the current leaders.
58km remaining from 169km
Today, riders will face about 20 miles of dirt roads. Hopefully, they all picked some good tires for the unusual conditions.
It's still a bright and sunny day for today's stage as the riders get close to the first of the dirt road section.
Racers in the main peloton are going to want to be near the front, in a good position, on this early section of gravel. So far the road surface is looking pretty well packed under the wheels of the break riders. It's not too loose and there's not too much gravel.
It rained a bit this morning. As you mountain bikers will appreciate, it was just the right amount of rain to make the dirt surface nicely packed and slightly tacky - not too dusty, not too muddy.
Cyclingnews' Laura Weislo is on her way to the finish line in Crested Butte and says it's been raining on and off the whole way there. There was also very heavy rain the descent from Monarch Pass.
The riders are about 25km from the climb over Kebler Pass. There are sections of dirt roads along the way that they will have to contend with, which will make high-altitude climbing even more difficult.
Tockler has attacked the breakaway group but he was quickly followed by Anthony, Jacques-Maynes and Carpenter.
The climb over Kebler Pass is the second last climb of the day before the race finishes on the climb to Crested Butte.
41km remaining from 169km
The riders in the breakaway are Michael Torckler (SmartStop), Dion Smith, Robin Carpenter and Joe Lewis (Hincapie Sportswear Development), Kirk Carlsen and Luis Davila (Jelly Belly), Jesse Anthony (Optum), mountain leader Ben Jacques-Maynes (Jamis).
The breakaway has split slightly on the climb and the followers are Chris Jones (UnitedHealthcare) and Jai Crawford (Drapac), David de la Cruz (NetApp-Endura) and Matej Mohoric (Cannondale).
It looks like Kirk Carlsen is having trouble staying with the pace on the climb and he has fallen back.
There are reports from the finish line in Crested Butte of lightening and pouring rain.
Hopefully that stormy weather blows over before the racers arrive.
The first group on the road is Michael Torckler (SmartStop), Dion Smith, Robin Carpenter and Joe Lewis (Hincapie Sportswear Development), Luis Davila (Jelly Belly), Jesse Anthony (Optum), mountain leader Ben Jacques-Maynes (Jamis), Matej Mohoric (Cannondale) and David de la Cruz (NetApp-Endura).
Chasers include Chris Jones (UnitedHealthcare) and Jai Crawford (Drapac), who are about 30 seconds off the back.
It's the BMC team that are doing most of the chasing from the field and they've reduced the gap to breakaway riders to under two minutes.
Tockler is leading the breakaway riders followed by Jacques-Maynes. They still have a long way to go to get to the top of Kebler Pass, and the field is climbing very fast behind them at about one minute back.
There are only four riders left up front with Tockler, Jacques-Maynes, Mohoric ad Anthony.
The breakaway riders are trying their best to ride over the dirt roads at high altitude. Tockler is doing much of the work at the front of this small group.
The gap has dropped to under a minute but the breakaway riders are pressing on and they will not give up.
Jacques-Maynes is looking to pick up the points at the top of Kebler Pass, but they still have eight kilometers to go to the top of the climb.
Tockler has fallen off pace and is riding alone on the dirt roads behind the four leaders.
Hincapie Sportswear Development's Robin Carpenter, who was in the move all along, has attacked the lead group and is riding about 15 seconds ahead of the three chasers.
BMC is picking up the remnants of the breakaway and are on the heels of the remaining riders out front.
Carpenter is riding on a flatter section of the climb, a little reprieve before it kicks back up again.
The rain has been pouring ahead of the peloton and the dirt roads are wet, especially on the descent off of Kebler Pass. It could be quite dangerous and riders will likely take more care on this descent.
23km remaining from 169km
Carpenter is solo off the front followed by Jacques-Maynes and Davila 40 seconds back.
Although he only has about 23km to go, there is still a lot of climbing left.
Correction it is not Davila up front, it is Luis Lemus of the Jelly Belly team.
Carpenter is now leading the race by over a minute. Meanwhile, Jacques-Maynes and Lemus are back in the field led by the BMC team.
Carpenter is increasing his lead, now up to 1:20 on the field with under 20km to go.
Carpenter is a promising young rider on the Hincapie Sportswear Development team. He recently raced at the Tour of Utah where he was second in the mountain competition, fifth in the young rider competition and 27th overall.
There are a lot of fans out to watch the finish of stage 2 in Crested Butte, a scenic town dubbed as the "last great Colorado ski town."
It's hugely popular for skiing, mountain biking and many other outdoor activities.
Carpenter is almost at the top of Kebler Pass with about a minute advantage on the field.
We will soon see how good his descending skills are when he crests the top of the climb and starts the wet, dirt road descent toward Crested Butte.
16km remaining from 169km
Carpenter has about 16km to go and he is trying desperately to hang on to his advantage before hitting the descent and the final climb to the finish line.
The dirt roads are wet and terribly dangerous on the descent off of Kebler Pass.
Race organizers have made the decision to neutralize the race over the top of the dirt road and restart the race when the riders get back onto the tarmac.
Carpenter has stopped and race officials are explaining that the race has been neutralized.
Race officials have also stopped the peloton and will assess Carpenter's lead before they restart the race.
Some racers seem concerned and upset, wondering why officials didn't stop the race at the top of the climb where it was more dangerous, instead of partway down where it was less dangerous.
The riders have been stopped after the dirt road section, on the start of the paved portion, on the descent off of Kebler Pass.
Racers are putting their warmer and dry clothing on with jackets, gloves and dry gear being passed out by team staff.
Some riders are visibly upset that race organizers have stopped the race so close to the finish line.
Race officials have restarted the race
Officials gave Carpenter a 45-second head start before starting the next group.
The peloton that has restarted behind Carpenter appears to be much larger now than when the race was neutralized.
We are not sure how race officials are going to handle the timing of this stage today.
Carpenter is racing out of his skin to hold his gap into the bottom of the last climb to Crested Butte.
The roads are soaked and it is still raining. The riders must be cold now as they try to reorganize themselves for the last kilometers of the stage.
They'll warm up soon enough on the last climb of the day.
Carpenter has built his lead back up to over a minute and he has about five kilometers to go.
3km remaining from 169km
Carpenter is looking very strong and concentrated on the finish line
The main field is splitting apart as the BMC team is leading the chase.
It appears the the race leader Kiel Reijnen is not in the main field
2km remaining from 169km
Carpenter is pushing to try and get to the final climb and up to the finish line
Carpenter's face is grimacing in pain as he tries to get to the finish line in Crested Butte. He is 800 meters away from the line
Fans are running along beside him and he now as 500 meters to go. He could win this stage because he still has more than a minute on the field.
The field is coming up fast and they are now only a few hundred meters behind Carpenter.
Carpenter is pushing as fast as he can. Van Garderen and Howes are right behind Carpenter.
Howes is in the green jersey but he is second in the overall and could be the new race leader at the end of the day
Van Gardere and Howes are right behind Carpenter but he is sprinting to the line
Carpenter is on his way to winning stage 2!
And Carpenter does it, he takes the win after being about 100km off the front in a breakaway.
Unofficial brief results:
1. Robin Carpenter (Hincapie Sportswear Development)
2. Alex Howes (Garmin-Sharp)
3. Tejay van Garderen (BMC)
Here are the unofficial brief results:
1 Robin Carpenter (Usa) Hincapie Sportswear Development
2 Alex Howes (Usa) Garmin-Sharp
3 Tejay van Garderen (Usa) BMC Racing
4 Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC Racing
5 Tom Danielson (Usa) Garmin-Sharp
6 Matthew Busche (Usa) Trek Factory Racing
7 Julian Kyer (Usa) SmartStop
8 Toms Skujins (Lat) Hincapie Sportswear Development
9 Serghei Tvetcov (Mol) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis
10 Rob Britton (Can) SmartStop
Unofficial general classification after stage 2
1 Alex Howes (Usa) Garmin-Sharp
2 Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC Racing
3 Tejay van Garderen (Usa) BMC Racing
Official brief results:
1 Robin Carpenter (Usa) Hincapie Sportswear Development 4:17:18
2 Alex Howes (Usa) Garmin-Sharp 0:00:06
3 Tejay van Garderen (Usa) BMC Racing
4 Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC Racing 0:00:14
5 Tom Danielson (Usa) Garmin-Sharp 0:00:16
6 Matthew Busche (Usa) Trek Factory Racing
7 Julian Kyer (Usa) SmartStop 0:00:19
8 Toms Skujins (Lat) Hincapie Sportswear Development 0:00:22
9 Serghei Tvetcov (Mol) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis 0:00:23
10 Rob Britton (Can) SmartStop
General classification after stage 2
1 Alex Howes (Usa) Garmin-Sharp 6:44:00
2 Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC Racing 0:00:11
3 Tejay van Garderen (Usa) BMC Racing 0:00:12
4 Matthew Busche (Usa) Trek Factory Racing
5 Tom Danielson (Usa) Garmin-Sharp 0:00:21
6 Julian Kyer (Usa) SmartStop 0:00:25
7 Serghei Tvetcov (Mol) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis 0:00:29
8 Clement Chevrier (Fra) Bissell Development
9 Bartosz Hurarski NetApp-Endura
10 Rob Britton (Can) SmartStop
Thank you for following Cyclingnews' live coverage of stage 2 at the USA Pro Challenge. Please join us tomorrow for stage 3 from Gunnison to Monarch Mountain.
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