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2012 USA Pro Challenge - Stage 2
 
By Heath Langle
Date: 8/21/2012
2012 USA Pro Challenge - Stage 2
 
Winning Stage 2 of the 2012 USA Pro Challenge meant you had the best climbing legs at the end of a 99.2 mile route with an uphill finish. The peloton rolled out of Montrose this morning with Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) donning the race leaderís jersey, surrounded by his teammates ready to defend his lead. The riders were treated to a much warmer, much sunnier day, on their way to the top of Mt. Crested Butte.

The day was dominated by a breakaway group that consisted of Alex Howes (Garmin-Sharp), Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale), Julien El Fares (Team Type 1), Valerio Agnoli (Liquigas-Cannondale), Rafael Infantino (EPM-UNE), Mathias Frank (BMC), David Zabriskie (Garmin-Sharp), Christopher Baldwin (Bissell), Craig Lewis (Champion System), Jens Voigt (Radio Shack-Nissan), Matt Cooke (Exergy), and Camilo Castiblanco (EPM-UNE). Apparently Zabriskie recovered from his taxing effort of the previous day, and no one was surprised to see Voigt in the breakaway, again.

The breakaway enjoyed gaps as much as 5:30 over the main field but the riders in that group outsmarted themselves and blew a lead that would have allowed them a day of glory. Not wanting the dayís effort to go to waste Camilo Castiblanco (EPM-UNE) pulled away and gained a momentary lead before Mathias Frank (BMC) chased him down. Castiblanco dropped off, and then Frank bonked soon thereafter, as the peloton came from nowhere to surge past the two leaders. Inside the final kilometer, Tejay van Garderen (BMC) launched a huge attack with Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Sharp) immediately on his wheel. Vande Velde kicked for the line inside the last 150 meters but van Garderen would not be denied the win, and showed he had the best climbing legs, crossing the finish line for the win, and overtaking Farrar as the leader of the race.

Stage 3 from Gunnison to Aspen will take the riders 130.6 miles and over two epic climbs at Cottonwood Pass (elevation 12,126 feet) and Independence Pass (elevation 12,095 feet). Van Garderen may well use the lessons he learned in this yearís Tour de France to summit Independence Pass in a position that will allow him to take advantage of the screaming decent to the finish in Aspen in order to retain his overall lead.

RESULTS

1 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 3:52:24
2 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin - Sharp
3 Ivan Rovny (Rus) RusVelo 0:00:06
4 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 0:00:08
5 Ramiro Rincon Diaz (Col) EPM - Une
6 Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin - Sharp 0:00:12
7 Joseph Lloyd Dombrowski (USA) Bontrager Livestrong Team
8 Lucas Euser (USA) Spidertech Powered By C10
9 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
10 Johann Tschopp (Swi) BMC Racing Team

General Classification after Stage 2

1 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 8:35:12
2 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin - Sharp
3 Ivan Rovny (Rus) RusVelo 0:00:06
4 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 0:00:08
5 Ramiro Rincon Diaz (Col) EPM - Une
6 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:12
7 Alessandro Bazzana (Ita) Team Type 1 - Sanofi
8 Christopher Horner (USA) RadioShack-Nissan
9 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana Pro Team
10 Lucas Euser (USA) Spidertech Powered By C10

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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