USA Pro Challenge: BMC goes 1-2 on summit finish to Arapahoe Basin

Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing) continued his rising form from last week's Tour of Utah, winning the second stage at USA Pro Challenge Tuesday after a dramatic finish at Arapahoe Basin.

In the final kilometre, Bookwalter’s teammate Rohan Dennis led a chase group to catch day-long escapee Nate Brown (Cannondale-Garmin) before Bookwalter launched a final punch to win the stage. Dennis finished second, with Hugh Carthy (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) in third. Bookwalter now leads the general classification by six seconds over Dennis. Carthy is third, 10 seconds back. 

The result has been a longtime coming for Bookwalter, who finished fourth at the Tour of Austria in July and third at the Tour of Utah earlier this month, grabbing two second place stage finishes along the way.

"I’ve had a run of good form and a good run of results, but that win has eluded me, and it’s eluded me in a lot of different ways: breakaways, sprints on climbs," he said in the post-stage press conference. "So to get it on a summit finish and to get it on the back of some awesome teamwork, I couldn’t imagine it being any better. Like Taylor [Phinney] said yesterday, it’s electric. It makes me feel alive and it makes me feel inspired. This is what makes all the tough times we fight through worth it."

Bookwalter, who said he wasn't sure he had won the stage when he crossed the finish line, had to fight through some tough times just to hold the wheel of Dennis, who was using the funnel of fans in the final kilometres to limit other riders ability to attack.

"The last time board we saw to Nate Brown was a minute, and that was with just over a kilometre to go, maybe a kilometre and a half," Bookwalter said. "Rohan had me cross-eyed just butting my head on the stem the whole time. I wasn’t really aware of when Nate came back or who had gone. I was just doing the best climb I could and holding Rohan’s wheel. Then about 500 metres to go I actually caught might breath and felt recovered, so I put it in the big ring and just gave it everything I had. Obviously I was going for seconds also, so there was no time to celebrate."

How it unfolded

Tuesday’s 185.5km stage from Steamboat Springs to the Arapahoe Basin Ski Area started at nearly 2133 metres and then threw three major climbs at the riders.

The category 2 climb of Rabbit Ears Pass started almost immediately and topped out less than 20km from the finish. The category 3 climb of Sierra Nevada, which took riders to nearly 3,000 metres, came with 50km to go, while the final 8km category 1 climb to the ski area topped out at 3,288 metres.

A breakaway of 10 riders formed on the ascent up Rabbit Ears Pass, with Nathan Brown (Cannondale-Garmin), Kyle Murphy (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Daniel Summerhill (UnitedHealthcare), Will Routley (Optum Pro Cycling), Robin Carpenter (Hincapie Racing), Eric Marcotte (Team SmartStop), Carson Miller (Jamis-Hagens Berman), Steve Fisher (Jelly Belly-Maxxis), Daniel Barry (Budget Forklifts) and Gregory Brenes (Jamis-Hagens Berman) rolling away from the bunch.

Gregory Daniel (Axeon) and Antonio Molina (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) jumped away from the peloton on the climb and joined the leaders to form a lead group of 12.

The dozen escapees built a gap of 2:40 as they approached the first KOM of the day, where Routley took top honours over Summerhill and Murphy. The field started closing quickly near the summit, however, and the leaders started the descent with a 1:30 advantage.

Marcotte attacked the breakaway on the descent, and the ensuing chase helped the leaders add to their advantage again as it reached 2:50 and then ballooned to 5:10. It seems the peloton apparently didn’t want to let out that much leash, and the advantage was just 3:10 about 15km from the first intermediate sprint 80km into the stage.

Hincapie’s Carpenter, who won a stage in Colorado last year, took maximum sprint points in Kremmling, followed by Barry and Molina.

As the leaders entered a 22km section of dirt road along Highway 9, which is in the midst of a construction project, the gap was down to just 2:25.

The breakaway started to come apart as riders came off the dirt section, with Barry and Marcotte dropping anchor and losing contact. Fisher and Brenes soon followed out the back of the escape group, leaving eight riders in the lead.

BMC lined up on the front for Phinney, the team’s rider in the yellow jersey, but also to keep the breakaway in check for general classification contenders Brent Bookwalter and Rohan Dennis.

Routley took maximum points at the top of Ute pass, taking a two point lead over Summerhill in the mountains classification and temporarily distancing the rest of the breakaway. But the escapees were soon back together, including Brenes, pressing the pace on the descent into Dillon and the final intermediate sprint.
The nine riders in the front expanded their lead back to three minutes with 40km to go, but a concerted chase in the field and a lack of cooperation up front brought the gap down to two minutes just 8km later.

Brown wasn’t happy with the breakaway’s progress, and the Cannondale-Garmin rider jumped away from the leaders with 20km to go. Axeon’s Daniel quickly bridged, and the new lead duo extended their lead to 2:40 as the rest of the breakaway dropped further back.

As the climb up to Arapahoe Basin started, Brown picked up the pace and Daniel lost contact. An elite chase group began to form on the upper slopes of the climb, with Dennis setting a pace that shed riders left and right, quickly whittling the group down to himself, Bookwalter, Rob Squire (Hincapie), Jonny Clarke (UnitedHealthcare) and Caja Rural-Seguros RGA's Carthy and Kyle Murphy.

"I think I was probably lucky that there was a big crowd," Dennis said. "It sort of stopped the attacks a little bit, just sort of aim for the crowd and they couldn't come around."

With Dennis drilling it on the front, the group pulled Brown back in the finale kilometre before Bookwalter launched his winning move to set up the team's one-two finish.

"When I saw 300 metres to go I started to basically attack from the front, and I saw on the TV screen that Brent was sort of next to me, so I tried to get on him, but he went straight past me and got into position to win. It's great we got one-two, and I sort of surprised myself. I rode pretty well from the bottom to the top, and I was expecting to blow at least 3km to go when people started attacking."

Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team4:37:03
2Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team0:00:06
3Hugh Carthy (GBr) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA0:00:10
4Jonathan Clarke (Aus) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
5Robbie Squire (USA) Hincapie Racing Team0:00:13
6Lachlan David Morton (Aus) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis0:00:25
7Jaime Roson (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA0:00:27
8Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team0:00:31
9Julian Arredondo Moreno (Col) Trek Factory Racing0:00:33
10Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek Factory Racing0:00:38
11Toms Skujins (Lat) Hincapie Racing Team0:00:44
12Rob Britton (Can) Team SmartStop0:00:47
13Nathan Brown (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team0:00:51
14Gavin Mannion (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis0:00:53
15Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Axeon Cycling Team0:00:54
16Janez Brajkovic (Slo) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
17Alexandr Braico (Mda) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis0:00:57
18Lachlan Norris (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling
19Bruno Pires (Por) Tinkoff-Saxo0:00:59
20Evan Huffman (USA) Team SmartStop
21Janier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team0:01:04
22Emerson Oronte (USA) Team SmartStop0:01:22
23Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo
24Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team
25Dion Smith (NZl) Hincapie Racing Team
26Daniel Alexander Jaramillo Diez (Col) Jamis - Hagens Berman0:01:30
27Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo0:01:43
28Ruben Zepuntke (Ger) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team0:01:49
29Laurent Didier (Lux) Trek Factory Racing0:01:56
30Taylor Shelden (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis0:02:06
31Flavio De Luna (Mex) Team SmartStop0:02:17
32Ivan Rovny (Rus) Tinkoff-Saxo0:02:23
33Michael Torckler (NZl) Team Budget Forklifts
34Nicolae Tanovitchii (Mda) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis0:02:52
35Calvin Watson (Aus) Trek Factory Racing0:03:22
36Ryan Anderson (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies0:03:43
37James Oram (NZl) Axeon Cycling Team0:03:52
38Travis Mccabe (USA) Team SmartStop0:04:07
39Daniel Turek (Cze) Cycling Academy Team0:04:17
40Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team0:04:19
41Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing Team
42Timothy Roe (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling
43Daniel Eaton (USA) Axeon Cycling Team0:04:48
44Gregory Daniel (USA) Axeon Cycling Team0:05:00
45Matthew Busche (USA) Trek Factory Racing0:05:06
46Leonardo Basso (Ita) Trek Factory Racing
47Adam Phelan (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling0:05:43
48Chris Putt (USA) Axeon Cycling Team0:07:14
49Tanner Putt (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
50Logan Owen (USA) Axeon Cycling Team
51Walter Gaston Trillini (Arg) Jamis - Hagens Berman
52Christopher Jones (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
53Charles Planet (Fra) Team Novo Nordisk
54Bartosz Warchol (Pol) Cycling Academy Team
55Peter Stetina (USA) BMC Racing Team
56Edward King (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
57Emanuel Piaskowy (Pol) Cycling Academy Team
58Kristoffer Skjerping (Nor) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
59Andzs Flaksis (Lat) Hincapie Racing Team
60Chad Young (USA) Axeon Cycling Team
61Angus Morton (Aus) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis
62Fabricio Ferrari Barcelo (Uru) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
63Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Tinkoff-Saxo
64Jesus Hernandez Blazquez (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo
65Miguel Angel Benito Diez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
66Jasper Bovenhuis (Ned) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
67Eduard Beltran Suarez (Col) Tinkoff-Saxo
68Tom Zirbel (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies0:07:49
69William Clarke (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling
70Dylan Girdlestone (RSA) Drapac Professional Cycling
71Kiel Reijnen (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling0:07:55
72Marco Canola (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
73David Lozano Riba (Spa) Team Novo Nordisk0:09:24
74Javier Megias Leal (Spa) Team Novo Nordisk0:09:44
75John Murphy (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling0:10:48
76Phillip Gaimon (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
77Brendan Canty (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts
78Jack Anderson (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts
79Martin Kohler (Swi) Drapac Professional Cycling
80Julian Kyer (USA) Team SmartStop
81Joseph Lewis (Aus) Hincapie Racing Team
82Jure Kocjan (Slo) Team SmartStop
83Antonio Molina (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
84Kyle Murphy (USA) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
85Fabio Silvestre (Por) Trek Factory Racing
86David Williams (USA) Jamis - Hagens Berman
87Jack Bobridge (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts0:11:37
88Kevin De Mesmaeker (Bel) Team Novo Nordisk0:11:55
89Manuel Senni (Ita) BMC Racing Team0:13:12
90Killian Frankiny (Swi) BMC Racing Team
91Erik Slack (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis
92Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Arg) Jamis - Hagens Berman0:13:57
93Stephen Leece (USA) Jamis - Hagens Berman
94Guillaume Boivin (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies0:14:52
95Will Routley (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
96Pierrick Naud (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
97Gregory Brenes Obando (CRc) Jamis - Hagens Berman0:15:00
98Carson Miller (USA) Jamis - Hagens Berman
99Eric Marcotte (USA) Team SmartStop0:15:11
100Wojciech Migdal (Pol) Cycling Academy Team
101Jordan Kerby (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling0:15:49
102Samuel Spokes (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling
103Daniel Summerhill (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling0:16:08
104Oscar Clark (USA) Hincapie Racing Team0:16:22
105Robin Carpenter (USA) Hincapie Racing Team
106Joseph Schmalz (USA) Hincapie Racing Team
107Steve Fisher (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis
108Eric Young (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies0:18:59
109Brian Kamstra (Ned) Team Novo Nordisk0:19:35
110Brodie Talbot (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts0:20:24
111Daniel Barry (NZl) Team Budget Forklifts
112Guy Gabay (Isr) Cycling Academy Team0:25:57
113Yoav Bear (Isr) Cycling Academy Team0:26:01
DNFHéctor Saez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
DNFCorentin Cherhal (Fra) Team Novo Nordisk
DNFBenjamin Dilley (USA) Team Novo Nordisk
DNFCharles Bradley Huff (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
DNFTommy Nankervis (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts
DNFAntonio Angulo Sampedro (Spa) Cycling Academy Team
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Sprint 1
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Robin Carpenter (USA) Hincapie Racing Team5pts
2Daniel Barry (NZl) Team Budget Forklifts3
3Antonio Molina (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA1
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Sprint 2
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Nathan Brown (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team5pts
2Gregory Daniel (USA) Axeon Cycling Team3
3Antonio Molina (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA1
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