Skip to main content
Live coverage

USA Pro Challenge 2014: Stage 7


Hello and welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of stage 7 of the USA Pro Challenge. The finale will take the riders on a 126km race from Boulder to Denver.

Good afternoon, we're out on the neutral laps in Boulder for the final stage of the USA Pro Challenge. It's a beautiful, sunny day, and that will be a relief to the riders who have been frozen the past two days by icy cold rain.

There are a lot of fans at the start in Boulder today - it's Sunday Brunch time, and all of the restaurants were heaving with people. Now, they're cheering as the riders tak on two neutral laps before the official start at 20th street.

The riders will have to contend with a brisk crosswind today, but once they get into Golden, they should be, well golden. 

We're expecting that today's stage will end up in a bunch sprint. There is little chance of unseating yellow jersey holder Tejay van Garderen (BMC) today - he has 53 seconds on Tom Danielson, and although the climb to Lookout Mountain is hard, there are 86km after the climb that are flat.

Look for mountains leader Ben Jacques-Maynes (Jamis-Hagens Berman) to go for the sole mountain sprint today, while Kiel Reijnen will want to cement his lead in the sprint classification by going for the two intermediate sprints - in Golden, and in Denver with 4 laps to go.

Jonas Carney, director for the Optum team is hoping for a field sprint for Ryan Anderson. He told CN's Pat Malach that the race could explode going up 93.

We're off for the real racing, and as expected the attacks are flying from the drop of the flag. The pace is really fast heading out of town, so it's hard for anything to get a gap.

The Bissell Devo riders have stacked the podium of the best young rider competition. Clement Chevrier has a 3:30 lead on his teammate Ruben Zepunkte, with Tanner Putt in third at 19 minutes.

A dozen riders have a slight advantage on the field, but they're responding quickly. They're heading through the construction zone on CO  93

Of course, one of the attackers is Jens Voigt (Trek), he's pulling a group away that includes a UHC rider, looks like it might be Ben Day, who is also retiring.

It looks like the field isn't interested in chasing. NetApp, Bissell, Drapac, Novo Nordisk, Garmin, Trek, Cannondale, UnitedHealthcare are all represented in the move.

118km remaining from 126km

Freter didn't last long in the breakaway, he's gone back to the field. The other riders up the road now have 20 seconds on the field.

116km remaining from 126km

Pat Malach also spoke with BMC director Jackson Stewart this morning. he said. "I think some guys will try to get away on the climb, but there's enough time to make it exciting and being it back, and it will probably be a field sprint."

The 12 riders in the move have made it over the first lump on CO 93, and will have less of a tailwind over the top. Looks like BMC is taking responsibility for controlling the move now.

112km remaining from 126km

111km remaining from 126km

If you recall, it was Viviani who denied the stage victory to Voigt in Colorado Springs. Will we see a repeat today?

We hear that Ian Crane (Jamis) has abandoned the race after that crash.

And then there were 11: the breakaway has 1:35, and to remind you it is Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo), Jens Voigt (Trek), Caleb Fairly (Garmin-Sharp), Tiago Machado (NetApp-Enduray), Adam Phelan (Drapac), Jonathan Clarke (UnitedHealthcare), Javier Megias Leal (Novo Nordisk), Hugh Carthy (Rapha Condor JLT), Jesse Anthony (Optum), Matt Cooke (Jamis-Hagens Berman) and Ruben Zepuntke (Bissell) who make up this move.

Wurf is indeed back in the field, up at the front with BMC to help control the breakaway. Meanwhile, up front Zepunkte is drilling it on a rise.

Pat Malach spoke to Boulder resident Taylor Phinney who was at the start to cheer on his BMC teammates.

105km remaining from 126km

104km remaining from 126km

The team cars have moved up to the breakaway to support their riders. Kim Andersen is there to give more encouragement to Jens Voigt, who just yesterday, after slaying himself in the Vail time trial said, "Why do i keep doing this to myself??"

One rider in this breakaway who will be looking to impress is Fairly, the Garmin rider is without a contract in the new Garmin-Cannondale merger so far.

96km remaining from 126km

The climb to Lookout Mountain will start for the breakaway very quickly - it's a category 3 ascent, beginning at km. 33 and ending 6.9km later.

The gap is starting to fall as the leaders are on the climb and the peloton is still flying through Golden.

Zepunkte and then Voigt drive the breakaway up the climb, much to the delight of the many fans on the Lookout Mountain road. The pace has sent Clarke packing, he's gone back to the field.

Pat Malach spoke to Garmin director Charly Wegelius this morning, he said "There's a breeze blowing and there's a 9km climb, so ..."

92km remaining from 126km

Let's see what this Garmin plan is all about: their rider in the breakaway has been dropped, as has Phelan and Cooke.

90km remaining from 126km

There are big crowds at the top of the climb, we saw a lot of riders heading up this morning - all manner of bikes from tandems to kids to mountain bikers and BMX riders. They're all out to see the race come past.

89km remaining from 126km

Tom Moses (Rapha Condor) has decided to climb in the team car - and he's so close to the finish of this race! It's a tough climb and the end of a very long week for the riders.

88km remaining from 126km

Still 2km to the top for the breakaway, and the fans on the switchback above can see the riders coming up below.

Voigt and Rogers are doing most of the work on the climb, while Machado looks like he's on the limit at the back, but perhaps that's just his climbing style. He's riding like a boxer, bobbing and weaving.

There are some riders getting in trouble at the back of the peloton behind Garmin's pace, but none of them are Van Garderen.

We can only suspect that Garmin is trying to break up BMC and take over the teams classification.

86km remaining from 126km

The field is about to pick up Jesse Anthony.

85km remaining from 126km

The breakaway will now hurtle down the hill back into Golden, where they will contest the first intermediate sprint of the day.

Congratulations to Lizzie Armitstead on her win in the Swedish women's world cup today. You can find the race report here.

Garmin continues to pour on the pressure now that Cannondale has been left behind, but the breakaway is still able to keep a 1:20 lead thanks to the power of Rogers and Voigt, largely.

Reijnen has made it over the Lookout Mountain climb with the main peloton, so he will be pleased that Viviani isn't there. He's one of the fastest men in the bunch.

The descent is very fast and wide open. The breakaway riders are trying to get every bit of speed they can muster, tucking down low on their top tubes.

The Viviani group is 3:30 behind our leaders, so two minutes back from the Garmin-led peloton.

If you think back to the opening stage in Aspen, Garmin's Alex Howes was narrowly denied by Reijnen. Both riders are quick, and we expect that if Cannondale can't get back in, that these two might get another chance to spar at the finish in Denver.

69km remaining from 126km

There are some dicey bumps and turns heading to the sprint.

The guys who were in the breakaway, Anthony and Carthy, are struggling to hold onto the tail end of the field.

500m to the sprint for the leaders.

Rogers leads the breakaway with one minute on the field as they head out of Golden. We missed the sprint, but will get results for you soon. UnitedHealthcare has come to the front of the field for Reijnen.

The sprint results were: Voigt, Megias and Rogers.

UnitedHealthcare may want to pull the breakaway back to get Reijnen the 5 points in the line, but they're not making progress. The gap is 1:05 to the main peloton.

The Viviani group is still trailing over two minutes behind the peloton, and not making up any ground.

There are lots of fans of Jens Voigt lining the course today. It's his last day of racing in the professional peloton. We're wondering what he'll get up to next, because we sincerely doubt he's done punishing himself on a bike.

The results from the KOM were:

55km remaining from 126km

They just sail past the hard-working soigneurs who are holding out the mussettes and keep hammering along. The peloton might want a snack, however.

Rogers was the only rider in the break to take a mussette, the peloton is now going into hte feed zone on Kipling Street.

Sorry, the feedzone is on 26th Avenue, across from the lovely Crown Hill Lake.

They're also passing by the Olinger Crown Hill cemetery - it's enormous. Only 50km to go to the finish, but they'll be entering the finishing circuits in 7.5km, then they have four laps around Denver.

50km remaining from 126km

They have to negotiate a few quick turns, and Zepunkte opens up a gap in one that Voigt has to close down.

There's only a light breeze in Denver, nothing like the wind we saw in Boulder. But it's warm - hitting to 82 degrees at the finish, which is double the number the riders had to contend with in Vail. 

The Vuelta a Espana is going on now, and today's stage was a big bunch sprint, won by FDJ's Nacer Bouhanni. We have a big gallery of images, full results and report up here.

The leaders can see the tall buildings of downtown Denver straight ahead of them, they're just about on the circuits.

Oh! The Cannondale team time trial has closed the gap, and they have the yellow jersey group in sight. The five riders ahead still have 1:30 on the field, but we expect that will come down soon.

The downtown circuit is wide open, but has a dozen or so turns, it's not terribly technical, and it's dead flat and fast. The relatively low altitude means the riders will feel a bit more peppy. They're on a fast pace today, thanks mainly to Voigt, who leads the breakaway to the line for the first of four circuits.

39km remaining from 126km

The leaders are in the park, where there is a somewhat tight turn, Megias takes it wide around a post in the center of the road.

Optum is also driving the chase in the gruppetto with Cannondale, hoping to get Ryan Anderson back into contention for the stage win.

The peloton is now through the park, while the breakaway heads back to the finish line. Thousands of fans have come out to cheer them along 17th.

32km remaining from 126km

The leaders have 50 seconds and Zepunkte leads across the line ahead of Voigt.

Voigt has decided it's time to go, and only Megias stays with him.

29km remaining from 126km

The five leaders are back together, and Rogers is getting some advice from the team car. They've still got 45 seconds on the Garmin/UHC-led peloton. We don't think Cannondale has managed to chase back on quite yet.

Rogers leads through City Park as their gap falls to just 40 seconds.

Voigt attacks again, now Megias is the only one to follow.

25km remaining from 126km

23km remaining from 126km

22km remaining from 126km

There is still no sign of the gruppetto and Garmin has control of the bunch with BMC just behind.

19km remaining from 126km

17km remaining from 126km

15km remaining from 126km

13km remaining from 126km

12km remaining from 126km

10km remaining from 126km

9km remaining from 126km

Zoidl counter-attacks.

The peloton is sitting up for the moment, Garmin has stepped off, and we have a counter-attack from Jamis.

7km remaining from 126km

There's a rider from Tinkoff-Saxo trying to get across.

5km remaining from 126km

Zoidl hazards a look back and sees Poljanski coming, but he can't afford to ease up to wait for him. The peloton is really moving.

3km remaining from 126km

BMC is driving the pace now, perhaps looking to set up Ben Hermans, who was third on the opening stage to Aspen.

The two leaders aren't going to stay clear for long. LEss than 5 seconds to the peloton with 2.7km to go.

2km remaining from 126km

Poljanksi is caught with 1700m to go.

BMC has the front now with Van Garderen in second wheel

Reijnen is sitting in 7th wheel behind BMC and his teammates.

BMC has the lead, but UHC is moving Reijnen up.

Carter Jones leads his sprinter through, then pulls off. Van Garderen goes, and here comes Reijnen!

Reijnen thinks he has it but Howes, his friend, comes past on his left and narrowly beats him to the line!

It was a very close sprint between Howes and Reijnen, but we are pretty sure Howes got it. He nearly crashed in the turn after the finish because he was busy celebrating.

The BMC rider Kohler was third ahead of Tvetcov.

we apologize it was Schar for BMC in 3rd, with Tvetcov, then Majka, Van Garderen, Anthony, Bookwalter, Acevedo and Jones rounding out the top 10

1 Alex Howes (USA) Garmin Sharp 2:45:20
2 Kiel Reijnen (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team
3 Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team
4 Serghei Tvetcov (Rom) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis
5 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo
6 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team
7 Jesse Anthony (USA) Optum Pro Cycling
8 Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team
9 Javier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Garmin Sharp
10 Carter Jones (USA) Optum Pro Cycling

Final general classification

1 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 20:05:42
2 Thomas Danielson (USA) Team Garmin-Sharp 0:01:32
3 Serghei Tvetcov (Rou) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis 0:01:45
4 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:01:49
5 Matthew Busche (USA) Trek Factory Racing 0:03:11
6 Joseph Rosskopf (USA) Hincapie Sportswear Development 0:03:31
7 Bartosz Huzarski (Pol) Team Netapp-Endura 0:03:35
8 Carter Jones (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies 0:03:43
9 Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:03:44
10 Bruno Pires (Por) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:05:35

Thanks for following along with Cyclingnews at the USA Pro Challenge. Don't forget to catch our live coverage for the next 3 weeks of the Vuelta a España!

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Latest on Cyclingnews