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."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team||4:37:03|
|2||Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team||0:00:06|
|3||Hugh Carthy (GBr) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA||0:00:10|
|4||Jonathan Clarke (Aus) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling|
|5||Robbie Squire (USA) Hincapie Racing Team||0:00:13|
|6||Lachlan David Morton (Aus) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis||0:00:25|
|7||Jaime Roson (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA||0:00:27|
|8||Davide Formolo (Ita) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team||0:00:31|
|9||Julian Arredondo Moreno (Col) Trek Factory Racing||0:00:33|
|10||Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek Factory Racing||0:00:38|
|11||Toms Skujins (Lat) Hincapie Racing Team||0:00:44|
|12||Rob Britton (Can) Team SmartStop||0:00:47|
|13||Nathan Brown (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team||0:00:51|
|14||Gavin Mannion (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis||0:00:53|
|15||Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Axeon Cycling Team||0:00:54|
|16||Janez Brajkovic (Slo) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling|
|17||Alexandr Braico (Mda) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis||0:00:57|
|18||Lachlan Norris (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling|
|19||Bruno Pires (Por) Tinkoff-Saxo||0:00:59|
|20||Evan Huffman (USA) Team SmartStop|
|21||Janier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team||0:01:04|
|22||Emerson Oronte (USA) Team SmartStop||0:01:22|
|23||Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo|
|24||Damiano Caruso (Ita) BMC Racing Team|
|25||Dion Smith (NZl) Hincapie Racing Team|
|26||Daniel Alexander Jaramillo Diez (Col) Jamis - Hagens Berman||0:01:30|
|27||Chris Anker Sörensen (Den) Tinkoff-Saxo||0:01:43|
|28||Ruben Zepuntke (Ger) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team||0:01:49|
|29||Laurent Didier (Lux) Trek Factory Racing||0:01:56|
|30||Taylor Shelden (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis||0:02:06|
|31||Flavio De Luna (Mex) Team SmartStop||0:02:17|
|32||Ivan Rovny (Rus) Tinkoff-Saxo||0:02:23|
|33||Michael Torckler (NZl) Team Budget Forklifts|
|34||Nicolae Tanovitchii (Mda) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis||0:02:52|
|35||Calvin Watson (Aus) Trek Factory Racing||0:03:22|
|36||Ryan Anderson (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies||0:03:43|
|37||James Oram (NZl) Axeon Cycling Team||0:03:52|
|38||Travis Mccabe (USA) Team SmartStop||0:04:07|
|39||Daniel Turek (Cze) Cycling Academy Team||0:04:17|
|40||Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team||0:04:19|
|41||Taylor Phinney (USA) BMC Racing Team|
|42||Timothy Roe (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling|
|43||Daniel Eaton (USA) Axeon Cycling Team||0:04:48|
|44||Gregory Daniel (USA) Axeon Cycling Team||0:05:00|
|45||Matthew Busche (USA) Trek Factory Racing||0:05:06|
|46||Leonardo Basso (Ita) Trek Factory Racing|
|47||Adam Phelan (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling||0:05:43|
|48||Chris Putt (USA) Axeon Cycling Team||0:07:14|
|49||Tanner Putt (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling|
|50||Logan Owen (USA) Axeon Cycling Team|
|51||Walter Gaston Trillini (Arg) Jamis - Hagens Berman|
|52||Christopher Jones (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling|
|53||Charles Planet (Fra) Team Novo Nordisk|
|54||Bartosz Warchol (Pol) Cycling Academy Team|
|55||Peter Stetina (USA) BMC Racing Team|
|56||Edward King (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team|
|57||Emanuel Piaskowy (Pol) Cycling Academy Team|
|58||Kristoffer Skjerping (Nor) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team|
|59||Andzs Flaksis (Lat) Hincapie Racing Team|
|60||Chad Young (USA) Axeon Cycling Team|
|61||Angus Morton (Aus) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis|
|62||Fabricio Ferrari Barcelo (Uru) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA|
|63||Felix Grossschartner (Aut) Tinkoff-Saxo|
|64||Jesus Hernandez Blazquez (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo|
|65||Miguel Angel Benito Diez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA|
|66||Jasper Bovenhuis (Ned) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team|
|67||Eduard Beltran Suarez (Col) Tinkoff-Saxo|
|68||Tom Zirbel (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies||0:07:49|
|69||William Clarke (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling|
|70||Dylan Girdlestone (RSA) Drapac Professional Cycling|
|71||Kiel Reijnen (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling||0:07:55|
|72||Marco Canola (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling|
|73||David Lozano Riba (Spa) Team Novo Nordisk||0:09:24|
|74||Javier Megias Leal (Spa) Team Novo Nordisk||0:09:44|
|75||John Murphy (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling||0:10:48|
|76||Phillip Gaimon (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies|
|77||Brendan Canty (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts|
|78||Jack Anderson (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts|
|79||Martin Kohler (Swi) Drapac Professional Cycling|
|80||Julian Kyer (USA) Team SmartStop|
|81||Joseph Lewis (Aus) Hincapie Racing Team|
|82||Jure Kocjan (Slo) Team SmartStop|
|83||Antonio Molina (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA|
|84||Kyle Murphy (USA) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA|
|85||Fabio Silvestre (Por) Trek Factory Racing|
|86||David Williams (USA) Jamis - Hagens Berman|
|87||Jack Bobridge (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts||0:11:37|
|88||Kevin De Mesmaeker (Bel) Team Novo Nordisk||0:11:55|
|89||Manuel Senni (Ita) BMC Racing Team||0:13:12|
|90||Killian Frankiny (Swi) BMC Racing Team|
|91||Erik Slack (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis|
|92||Lucas Sebastian Haedo (Arg) Jamis - Hagens Berman||0:13:57|
|93||Stephen Leece (USA) Jamis - Hagens Berman|
|94||Guillaume Boivin (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies||0:14:52|
|95||Will Routley (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies|
|96||Pierrick Naud (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies|
|97||Gregory Brenes Obando (CRc) Jamis - Hagens Berman||0:15:00|
|98||Carson Miller (USA) Jamis - Hagens Berman|
|99||Eric Marcotte (USA) Team SmartStop||0:15:11|
|100||Wojciech Migdal (Pol) Cycling Academy Team|
|101||Jordan Kerby (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling||0:15:49|
|102||Samuel Spokes (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling|
|103||Daniel Summerhill (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling||0:16:08|
|104||Oscar Clark (USA) Hincapie Racing Team||0:16:22|
|105||Robin Carpenter (USA) Hincapie Racing Team|
|106||Joseph Schmalz (USA) Hincapie Racing Team|
|107||Steve Fisher (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis|
|108||Eric Young (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies||0:18:59|
|109||Brian Kamstra (Ned) Team Novo Nordisk||0:19:35|
|110||Brodie Talbot (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts||0:20:24|
|111||Daniel Barry (NZl) Team Budget Forklifts|
|112||Guy Gabay (Isr) Cycling Academy Team||0:25:57|
|113||Yoav Bear (Isr) Cycling Academy Team||0:26:01|
|DNF||Héctor Saez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA|
|DNF||Corentin Cherhal (Fra) Team Novo Nordisk|
|DNF||Benjamin Dilley (USA) Team Novo Nordisk|
|DNF||Charles Bradley Huff (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies|
|DNF||Tommy Nankervis (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts|
|DNF||Antonio Angulo Sampedro (Spa) Cycling Academy Team|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Robin Carpenter (USA) Hincapie Racing Team||5||pts|
|2||Daniel Barry (NZl) Team Budget Forklifts||3|
|3||Antonio Molina (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA||1|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Nathan Brown (USA) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team||5||pts|
|2||Gregory Daniel (USA) Axeon Cycling Team||3|
|3||Antonio Molina (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA||1|