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2012 USA Pro Challenge - Stage 1
 
By Heath Langle
Date: 8/20/2012
2012 USA Pro Challenge - Stage 1
 
The 2012 USA Pro Challenge kicked off today as Stage 1 took the riders from Durango to Telluride. This 125.6 mile course included a climb to the top of Lizard Head Pass at 10,222 feet.

Almost immediately, and quite unexpectedly, a group of all-star riders including Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda), David Zabriskie (Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda), Jens Voigt (Radio Shack-Nissan-Trek), and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) launched an early attack along with Peter Stetina (Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda) and Ivan Rovny (RusVelo). A chase group of 22 riders including additional all-stars George Hincapie (BMC), Peter Velits (Omega-Pharma-Quickstep), and Ben Jacques-Maynes (Bissell), along with Michael Creed (Optum-Kelly Benefits), and Matt Cooke (Exergy) were able to bridge the gap and form an incredibly powerful group that built a 5:30 lead over the peloton. As the rain began to drizzle on the course, the leading group’s numbers began to dwindle, until only eight were left including Danielson, who with 16 miles to go, and just short of the Lizard Head Pass summit, launched a solo attack as the peloton closed the gap to within 1:00.

Nibali and Stetina bridged the gap to Danielson with the help of Eduard Beltran (EMP-UNE) and the four-man group continued their effort to hold off the peloton for a chance to win the stage. Danielson and Stetina then managed to drop Nibali and Beltran seeking to claim victory for team Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda. When the duo passed over the summit at Alta they had a 35 second gap on the field. That lead evaporated as a hard-pedaling peloton caught both riders at the 3-mile mark setting up the stage for a field sprint finish.

After navigating two wicked turns just before the final kilometer, the teams attempted to organize themselves but appeared to be a bit scattered until the final 1000 meters. Screaming into the home stretch, the field surged towards the line and Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda) hit the pedals hard. Farrar hammered his way forward and across the line in first place claiming victory for his Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda team, which had a magnificent opening day. Farrar also claimed his first personal victory in well over a year.

Stage 2 will challenge the riders with an uphill finish at Mt. Crested Butte after a 99.2 mile trek from the starting city of Montrose. Farrar and his Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda team will have the responsibility of defending the race leader’s jersey.

RESULTS

1 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Sharp – 4:42:48
2 Alessandro Bazzana (Ita) Team Type 1 - Sanofi – 0:00:00
3 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale – 0:00:00
4 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Team Exergy – 0:00:00
5 Rory Sutherland (Aus) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team – 0:00:00
6 Gavin Mannion (USA) Bontrager Livestrong – 0:00:00
7 Kiel Reijnen (USA) Team Type 1 - Sanofi – 0:00:00
8 Alex Candelario (USA) Optum Pro Cycling – 0:00:00
9 Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack-Nissan – 0:00:00
10 Camilo Castiblanco (Col) EPM UNE – 0:00:00

General Classification after Stage 1

1 Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Sharp – 4:42:48
2 Alessandro Bazzana (Ita) Team Type 1 - Sanofi – 0:00:00
3 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale – 0:00:00
4 Fred Rodriguez (USA) Team Exergy – 0:00:00
5 Rory Sutherland (Aus) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team – 0:00:00
6 Gavin Mannion (USA) Bontrager Livestrong – 0:00:00
7 Kiel Reijnen (USA) Team Type 1 - Sanofi – 0:00:00
8 Alex Candelario (USA) Optum Pro Cycling – 0:00:00
9 Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack-Nissan – 0:00:00
10 Camilo Castiblanco (Col) EPM UNE – 0:00:00

About the author: A trial attorney by trade, Heath Langle returned to bicycle racing after a 12-year hiatus in order to achieve his lifetime goal of becoming a failed Masters category racer. He is a member of the Sacramento Golden Wheelmen Bicycle Racing Team, and a former college basketball player. He is a native Californian, who also earned a Masters Degree in Business, and is a freelance writer and contributor to The Daily Peloton.


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