Leipheimer stamps his authority on Colorado race

Levi Leipheimer continued his string of good results with a sharp attack to the uphill finish in Crested Butte to pull himself into the race lead of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.

The RadioShack captain bested his Tour of Utah foe Sergio Henao (Gobernacion de Antioquia) by four seconds while Leopard Trek's Fränk Schleck rounded out the top three seven seconds behind Leipheimer. Tour de France champion Cadel Evans (BMC), Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Cervelo) and best young rider Tejay Van Garderen (HTC-Highroad) all finished in the same time as Schleck for fourth, fifth and sixth respectively.

Leipheimer picked up a 10 second time bonus for the victory, and coupled with his seven-second gap over Vande Velde at the finish the RadioShack captain moved into the leader's jersey. He holds an 11 second advantage over Vande Velde who is second on general classification, while Van Garderen moves into third overall, 17 seconds back.

"Obviously I am very happy to win and take the jersey," said Leipheimer. "It makes it difficult for my teammates tomorrow, but at the same they are fresh off of [the Tour of] Utah, they know how to do it and they have done it. We are going to give it our best shot tomorrow. It will be a tough day, the queen stage, but I think we are all very proud to have this jersey and to be leading the first ever USA Pro Cycling Challenge."

As expected, the three kilometre ascent to the finish wasn't suited to overnight leader Patrick Gretsch (HTC-Highroad) who finished one minute down and dropped to 17th place overall.

The peloton entered Crested Butte together with a full head of steam, having picked up the remaining two members of the early break, Bradley White (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling) and Jay Thomson (Bissell Cycling), 14.5km from the finish line.

Elia Viviani (Liquigas-Cannondale) won a hotly contested intermediate sprint in downtown Crested Butte five kilometres from the finish, and soon afterwards the finishing kick to Mt. Crested Butte began, the cue for Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek) to attack.

"We caught Andy with just over a kilometre to go. I can't say enough about my teammate Ivan [Rovny] who did a fantastic job today," said Leipheimer. "Ivan started to pull really hard and he wanted to stop but I kept pushing him and he was giving it everything.

"With 500 to go Frank [Schleck] made an acceleration and I got on his wheel and there was no one on my wheel. I wanted to race from the front because we are at altitude, not a lot of draft and guys are coming unglued. I am acclimated and there was no reason for me no to go. I jumped with 400 metres to go and when I saw the 300 metre to go sign I thought, 'Oh boy that is a long way to go,’ but you gotta go for it."

While Leipheimer and Henao have proved their mettle in rarified air at the recently completed Tour of Utah, third place finisher Fränk Schleck hadn't expected to perform so well.

"To be honest I am very surprised about my third place today because it was the first time that I experienced the altitude," said the elder Schleck brother. "I've never tried altitude training because so far it is working really good so why should I change the way it already works? The only time I have gone as high or higher was on the flight here."

The Schleck brothers rode together into the finale, where Fränk urged his sibling to attack. "Andy and I raced the way we are used to racing and that is together. As soon as the last helper from Rabo swapped up, I said, ‘Andy if you can go now would be a good moment’, and I got a really angry hate look from him.

"He went anyway and he did his job, he tried for himself and that could have been a good one. He made the race harder and as soon as I caught him back, I went. Levi counter-attacked me and I just couldn't hold on to his wheel. He was the strongest today so hats off to him."

The early bird gets the KOM

The USA Pro Cycling Challenge peloton had its first taste of Colorado's high elevations with the 11,315-foot tall Monarch Pass situated 42.6km after the start in Salida. Monarch Pass offered the only mountains classification points for stage 1, which meant whoever crested the pass first would don the mountains jersey at the finish.

It proved to the perfect scenario for an early break, and four riders took the bait and launched an attack moments into the 159.9km stage. Bradley White (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling), Jay Thomson (Bissell Cycling), William Dickeson (Jelly Belly p/b Kenda) and Eduard Beltran (EPM-UNE) quickly found themselves four minutes up on the peloton after only 12 kilometres of racing.

Will Dugan (Team Type 1-Sanofi) jumped from the peloton in pursuit of the escapees when the break's lead had reached one minute and he came tantalizingly close to bridging to the front quartet on the technical roads of Weldon Creek. The 24-year-old American closed the gap to 20 seconds and had the break in sight, but could not make the junction on the steep rollers within the gated community. He would be absorbed by the peloton at kilometre 24, just shy of the start of Monarch Pass.

The lead quartet worked smoothly together and maintained their four-minute advantage over the peloton for nearly the entire 16.5km ascent of Monarch Pass. The cooperation ended, however, as the break passed the one kilometre to go flag for the summit. Dickeson started to falter and slowly drifted back and with 800 metres to the summit Colombia's Eduard Beltran surged away from White and Thomson amidst raucous applause from the spectators lining the roadside.

Beltran crested the summit alone to take maximum KOM points and the mountains classification jersey, while White and Thomson crossed together approximately 20 seconds later, followed by Dickeson at 50 seconds.

The race lead re-shuffled on the lengthy, high-speed descent as White and Thomson caught and dropped Beltran. Once the road flattened out in advance of entering Gunnison County, White and Thomson held a 20-second lead over Beltran and Dickeson while the field trailed at 3:15.

Dickeson had a moment of back luck as he rode onto the gravel shoulder and lost contact with Beltran as he sought mechanical assistance from his team car. Beltran didn't let up and pressed on in a solo chase of White and Thomson.

"We dropped the two guys and weren't sure if we should wait for them," said White. "We decided to ride within ourselves and see if they came back, but they didn't so we just kept going. With just two guys we were on the pedals all day. We went over Monarch Pass, descended 10 minutes, but pedaled all day after that."

Now on predominantly flat ground on the run-in to Gunnison and the first intermediate sprint, the riders faced an extremely stiff headwind through the desolate terrain. White and Thomson chugged along in the lead, while Beltran and Dickeson each rode alone, steadily losing time. Dickeson rejoined the peloton after approximately 80 kilometres, while Beltran finally succumbed to the chase 11 kilometres later.

"The headwind was tough," continued White. "I didn't get to see the peloton but I imagine it was across the road all day. [Jay] Thomson was a good guy to be in the break with. He works well in the flats, like myself, when it comes to big hills I'm not great so it was a good day for us."

With Thomson motivated for a stage win and White eager to make a bid for victory on the stage sponsored by UnitedHealthcare, his squad's title sponsor, the duo continued their lengthy stint off the front. The intrepid pair would ultimately prove to be no match for a motivated peloton in the stage's endgame, and their escape came to an end outside of Crested Butte as the teams of the GC contenders ramped up the pace in advance of Mt Crested Butte.

Full Results

Swipe to scroll horizontally
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Levi Leipheimer (USA) Team RadioShack4:29:22
2Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Gobernacion De Antioquia - Indeportes Antiquia0:00:04
3Fränk Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek0:00:07
4Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing TeamRow 3 - Cell 2
5Christian Vande Velde (USA) Team Garmin-CerveloRow 4 - Cell 2
6Tejay Van Garderen (USA) HTC-HighroadRow 5 - Cell 2
7Janier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Gobernacion De Antioquia - Indeportes Antiquia0:00:10
8Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 7 - Cell 2
9Oscar Sevilla Ribera (Spa) Gobernacion De Antioquia - Indeportes AntiquiaRow 8 - Cell 2
10Thomas Danielson (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo0:00:18
11Rory Sutherland (Aus) UnitedHealthcare Pro CyclingRow 10 - Cell 2
12Bruno Pires (Por) Leopard Trek0:00:23
13Carlos Alberto Ospina Hernandes (Col) Gobernacion De Antioquia - Indeportes AntiquiaRow 12 - Cell 2
14Jaime Alberto Castaneda Ortega (Col) EPM - UNE0:00:28
15Rafael Montiel (Col) Gobernacion De Antioquia - Indeportes AntiquiaRow 14 - Cell 2
16Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 15 - Cell 2
17Laurent Didier (Lux) Saxo Bank SungardRow 16 - Cell 2
18Lucas Euser (USA) Team Spidertech Powered By C10Row 17 - Cell 2
19Jonathan Patrick McCarty (USA) Team Spidertech Powered By C10Row 18 - Cell 2
20Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Team Garmin-CerveloRow 19 - Cell 2
21George Hincapie (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 20 - Cell 2
22Jeffry Louder (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 21 - Cell 2
23Ivan Rovny (Rus) Team RadioShackRow 22 - Cell 2
24Juan Pablo Suarez Suarez (Col) EPM - UNERow 23 - Cell 2
25Rafael Infantino Abreu (Col) EPM - UNERow 24 - Cell 2
26Flavio De Luna (Mex) Team Spidertech Powered By C10Row 25 - Cell 2
27Giovany Manuel Baez Alvarez (Col) EPM - UNERow 26 - Cell 2
28Cristhian Montoya Giraldo (Col) Gobernacion De Antioquia - Indeportes AntiquiaRow 27 - Cell 2
29Anders Lund (Den) Leopard TrekRow 28 - Cell 2
30Chris Baldwin (USA) Bissell CyclingRow 29 - Cell 2
31Stefan Denifl (Aut) Leopard TrekRow 30 - Cell 2
32Timothy Duggan (USA) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 31 - Cell 2
33Alex Hagman (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Kenda0:00:40
34Stef Clement (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team0:00:44
35Rubens Bertogliati (Swi) Team Type 1 - SanofiRow 34 - Cell 2
36Gustav Larsson (Swe) Saxo Bank SungardRow 35 - Cell 2
37Peter Stetina (USA) Team Garmin-CerveloRow 36 - Cell 2
38Eduard Alexander Beltran Suarez (Col) EPM - UNERow 37 - Cell 2
39Andrès Miguel Diaz Corrales (Col) Team ExergyRow 38 - Cell 2
40Benjamin King (USA) Team RadioShackRow 39 - Cell 2
41George Bennett (NZl) Team RadioShackRow 40 - Cell 2
42Alexander Efimkin (Rus) Team Type 1 - Sanofi0:00:55
43Patrick Gretsch (Ger) HTC-Highroad0:01:00
44Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 43 - Cell 2
45Andy Schleck (Lux) Leopard TrekRow 44 - Cell 2
46Walter Pedraza (Col) EPM - UNERow 45 - Cell 2
47Jens Voigt (Ger) Leopard Trek0:01:11
48Danny Pate (USA) HTC-Highroad0:01:13
49Christopher Jones (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling0:01:20
50Edward Stiver Ortiz Caro (Col) EPM - UNE0:01:26
51Juraj Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 50 - Cell 2
52André Steensen (Den) Saxo Bank SungardRow 51 - Cell 2
53Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 52 - Cell 2
54Alejandro Ramirez Calderon (Col) Gobernacion De Antioquia - Indeportes Antiquia0:01:37
55Oscar Alvarez (Col) Gobernacion De Antioquia - Indeportes AntiquiaRow 54 - Cell 2
56Edward King (USA) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 55 - Cell 2
57Chris Butler (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 56 - Cell 2
58Sergio Hernandez (USA) Jelly Belly p/b KendaRow 57 - Cell 2
59Chad Beyer (USA) BMC Racing TeamRow 58 - Cell 2
60Valeriy Kobzarenko (Ukr) Team Type 1 - SanofiRow 59 - Cell 2
61Javier Megias Leal (Spa) Team Type 1 - SanofiRow 60 - Cell 2
62Carlos Fernando Piamonte Rodriguez (Col) EPM - UNERow 61 - Cell 2
63Hayden Roulston (NZl) HTC-HighroadRow 62 - Cell 2
64Tobias Ludvigsson (Swe) Skil - ShimanoRow 63 - Cell 2
65Philipp Ries (Ger) Skil - ShimanoRow 64 - Cell 2
66Matt Cooke (USA) Team Exergy0:01:46
67Rob Britton (Can) Bissell Cycling0:02:03
68Sébastien Salas (Can) Team ExergyRow 67 - Cell 2
69Thomas Bonnin (Fra) Skil - ShimanoRow 68 - Cell 2
70David Boily (Can) Team Spidertech Powered By C10Row 69 - Cell 2
71Ben Hermans (Bel) Team RadioShackRow 70 - Cell 2
72Craig Lewis (USA) HTC-HighroadRow 71 - Cell 2
73Sander Oostlander (Ned) Skil - Shimano0:02:12
74Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 73 - Cell 2
75Vladimir Efimkin (Rus) Team Type 1 - SanofiRow 74 - Cell 2
76Daniel Summerhill (USA) Team Garmin-CerveloRow 75 - Cell 2
77Jeremy Powers (USA) Jelly Belly p/b KendaRow 76 - Cell 2
78Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA) Bissell CyclingRow 77 - Cell 2
79Philip Deignan (Irl) Team RadioShackRow 78 - Cell 2
80Thimothy Roe (Aus) BMC Racing TeamRow 79 - Cell 2
81Grischa Niermann (Ger) Rabobank Cycling Team0:02:34
82Daniele Callegarin (Ita) Team Type 1 - Sanofi0:02:51
83Fabio Calabria (Aus) Team Type 1 - SanofiRow 82 - Cell 2
84Pieter Weening (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team0:03:15
85Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 84 - Cell 2
86Daniel Lloyd (GBr) Team Garmin-Cervelo0:03:22
87Carlos Eduardo Alzate Escobar (Col) Team Exergy0:03:45
88Nic Hamlton (Can) Jelly Belly p/b KendaRow 87 - Cell 2
89Fred Rodriguez (USA) Team ExergyRow 88 - Cell 2
90Frank Pipp (USA) Bissell CyclingRow 89 - Cell 2
91Alastair Loutit (Aus) Jelly Belly p/b KendaRow 90 - Cell 2
92Jason McCartney (USA) Team RadioShackRow 91 - Cell 2
93Paul Mach (USA) Bissell CyclingRow 92 - Cell 2
94Andrew Dahlheim (USA) Bissell CyclingRow 93 - Cell 2
95Andrew Randell (Can) Team Spidertech Powered By C10Row 94 - Cell 2
96Adrian Hegyvary (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro CyclingRow 95 - Cell 2
97Martin Reimer (Ger) Skil - ShimanoRow 96 - Cell 2
98Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Saxo Bank SungardRow 97 - Cell 2
99Bruno Langlois (Can) Team Spidertech Powered By C10Row 98 - Cell 2
100Bernard Van Ulden (USA) Jelly Belly p/b KendaRow 99 - Cell 2
101Francois Parisien (Can) Team Spidertech Powered By C10Row 100 - Cell 2
102Peter Velits (Svk) HTC-HighroadRow 101 - Cell 2
103Thierry Hupond (Fra) Skil - ShimanoRow 102 - Cell 2
104William Dugan (USA) Team Type 1 - SanofiRow 103 - Cell 2
105Davide Frattini (Ita) UnitedHealthcare Pro CyclingRow 104 - Cell 2
106Davide Cimolai (Ita) Liquigas-CannondaleRow 105 - Cell 2
107Thomas Peterson (USA) Team Garmin-CerveloRow 106 - Cell 2
108Martin Mortensen (Den) Leopard TrekRow 107 - Cell 2
109Brian Vandborg (Den) Saxo Bank SungardRow 108 - Cell 2
110Jeremy Vennell (NZl) Bissell CyclingRow 109 - Cell 2
111Lachlan Norris (Aus) HTC-HighroadRow 110 - Cell 2
112Dennis Van Winden (Ned) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 111 - Cell 2
113Scott Zwizanski (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro CyclingRow 112 - Cell 2
114Michael Mørkøv (Den) Saxo Bank SungardRow 113 - Cell 2
115Elia Viviani (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale0:04:20
116Sam Johnson (USA) Team Exergy0:04:25
117Jonathan Clarke (Aus) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling0:05:16
118Kenny Robert Van Hummel (Ned) Skil - ShimanoRow 117 - Cell 2
119Kai Applequist (USA) Team ExergyRow 118 - Cell 2
120Ryan Roth (Can) Team Spidertech Powered By C10Row 119 - Cell 2
121William Dickeson (Aus) Jelly Belly p/b KendaRow 120 - Cell 2
122David Zabriskie (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo0:05:20
123Ken Hanson (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Kenda0:05:58
124Robert Förster (Ger) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling0:06:06
125Jay Robert Thomson (RSA) Bissell Cycling0:07:25
126Caleb Fairly (USA) HTC-HighroadRow 125 - Cell 2
127Bradley White (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro CyclingRow 126 - Cell 2
128Dmitriy Muravyev (Kaz) Team RadioShackRow 127 - Cell 2
129Erik Slack (USA) Team ExergyRow 128 - Cell 2
HDChris Barton (USA) BMC Racing Team0:30:38
Swipe to scroll horizontally
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Levi Leipheimer (USA) Team RadioShack15pts
2Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Gobernacion De Antioquia - Indeportes Antiquia12Row 1 - Cell 3
3Fränk Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek10Row 2 - Cell 3
4Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team7Row 3 - Cell 3
5Christian Vande Velde (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo6Row 4 - Cell 3
6Tejay Van Garderen (USA) HTC-Highroad5Row 5 - Cell 3
7Janier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Gobernacion De Antioquia - Indeportes Antiquia4Row 6 - Cell 3
8Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team3Row 7 - Cell 3
9Oscar Sevilla Ribera (Spa) Gobernacion De Antioquia - Indeportes Antiquia2Row 8 - Cell 3
10Thomas Danielson (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo1Row 9 - Cell 3
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Sprint 1 - Gunnison
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Bradley White (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling5pts
2Jay Robert Thomson (RSA) Bissell Cycling3Row 1 - Cell 3
3Robert Förster (Ger) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling1Row 2 - Cell 3
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Sprint 2 - Crested Butte
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Elia Viviani (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale5pts
2Robert Förster (Ger) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling3Row 1 - Cell 3
3Fred Rodriguez (USA) Team Exergy1Row 2 - Cell 3
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Mountain 1 - Monarch Pass
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Eduard Alexander Beltran Suarez (Col) EPM - UNE10pts
2Bradley White (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling9Row 1 - Cell 3
3Jay Robert Thomson (RSA) Bissell Cycling7Row 2 - Cell 3
4William Dickeson (Aus) Jelly Belly p/b Kenda6Row 3 - Cell 3
5Walter Pedraza (Col) EPM - UNE5Row 4 - Cell 3
6Peter Stetina (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo4Row 5 - Cell 3
7Laurent Didier (Lux) Saxo Bank Sungard2Row 6 - Cell 3
Swipe to scroll horizontally
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Gobernacion De Antioquia - Indeportes Antiquia13:28:30
2Team Garmin-Cervelo0:00:29
3Leopard Trek0:00:34
4BMC Racing Team0:00:39
5Team RadioShack0:00:48
6EPM - UNE0:01:00
7Team Spidertech Powered By C10Row 6 - Cell 2
9Saxo Bank Sungard0:02:14
11Team Type 1 - Sanofi Aventis0:02:52
12Rabobank Cycling Team0:03:04
13Jelly Belly p/b Kenda0:04:05
14Team Exergy0:04:09
15Bissell Cycling0:04:19
16Skil - Shimano0:04:53
17UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling0:04:59
Swipe to scroll horizontally
General classification after stage 1
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Levi Leipheimer (USA) Team RadioShack4:37:47
2Christian Vande Velde (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo0:00:11
3Tejay Van Garderen (USA) HTC-Highroad0:00:17
4Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing TeamRow 3 - Cell 2
5Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team0:00:30
6Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team0:00:34
7Rory Sutherland (Aus) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling0:00:35
8George Hincapie (USA) BMC Racing Team0:00:37
9Thomas Danielson (USA) Team Garmin-CerveloRow 8 - Cell 2
10Jeffry Louder (USA) BMC Racing Team0:00:41
11Fränk Schleck (Lux) Leopard Trek0:00:42
12Oscar Sevilla Ribera (Spa) Gobernacion De Antioquia - Indeportes Antiquia0:00:44
13Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) Gobernacion De Antioquia - Indeportes Antiquia0:00:45
14Ivan Rovny (Rus) Team RadioShack0:00:52
15Carlos Alberto Ospina Hernandes (Col) Gobernacion De Antioquia - Indeportes Antiquia0:00:53
16Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Team Garmin-CerveloRow 15 - Cell 2
17Patrick Gretsch (Ger) HTC-Highroad0:01:02
18Benjamin King (USA) Team RadioShackRow 17 - Cell 2
19Stef Clement (Ned) Rabobank Cycling TeamRow 18 - Cell 2
20Giovany Manuel Baez Alvarez (Col) EPM - UNE0:01:03
21Stefan Denifl (Aut) Leopard TrekRow 20 - Cell 2
22Juan Pablo Suarez Suarez (Col) EPM - UNERow 21 - Cell 2
23Janier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Gobernacion De Antioquia - Indeportes AntiquiaRow 22 - Cell 2
24Gustav Larsson (Swe) Saxo Bank Sungard0:01:07
25Peter Stetina (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo0:01:08