|Today’s stage from Golden to Boulder provided 102.8 opportunities for every rider not named van Garderen, to gain time on the race’s leader headed into the final day’s individual time trial. Early and late climbs, especially the steep uphill finish at Flagstaff Mountain, presented attack points, and the question was when would Garmin-Sharp make a move in their effort to put their man Christian Vande Velde in the best possible position to win the overall race.
Early in the race, Jens Voigt (RadioShack-Nissan) apparently not done having his way with this race, lead an early break of fourteen riders including Alex Howes (Garmin-Sharp), George Bennett (RadioShack-Nissan), Paolo Longo Borghini (Liquigas-Cannondale), Timothy Duggan (Liquigas-Cannondale), Fabio Aru (Astana), Rory Sutherland (UnitedHealthcare), Christopher Jones (UnitedHealthcare), Rubens Bertogliati (Team Type 1), Biao Liu (Champion System), Christopher Baldwin (Bissell), Serghei Tvetcov (Exergy), Francisco Colorado (EPM-UNE), Robigzon Oyola (EPM-UNE).
Van Garderen and his BMC team, not keen on allowing the break to gain too much time, went straight to the front of the peloton and pushed up the pace. That pace along with the efforts of the past five days took their toll on 2011 Tour de France winner Cadel Evans (BMC) who abandoned the race. Voigt then attacked on Lee Hill Road taking teammate George Bennett (RadioShack-Nissan) with him. The attack turned out to be an effort to launch Bennett up the hill. However, Rory Sutherland (UnitedHealthcare), a Boulder transplant, managed to claim the day on the final climb to the finish at Flagstaff Mountain. Sutherland gave UnitedHealthcare their first stage win of the race.
Another first was about to happen as Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) attacked on Flagstaff Mountain, from the yellow jersey group, finishing fourth and making up enough time to put himself into the leader’s yellow jersey for the first time this race.
Tomorrow’s 9.5-mile time trial will decide the race winner. Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Sharp) who finished sixth today, is nine seconds down to Leipheimer with former race leader van Garderen, the eleventh place finisher today down twenty-one seconds to Leipheimer. Both Vande Velde and van Garderen have skills with time trials, but so does Leipheimer.
1 Rory Sutherland (Aus) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team 4:06:12|
2 Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:20
3 Jens Voigt (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan 0:00:26
4 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 0:00:45
5 Timothy Duggan (USA) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:52
6 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin - Sharp 0:01:02
7 Joseph Lloyd Dombrowski (USA) Bontrager Livestrong Team
8 Andreas Klöden (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan
9 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
10 Ramiro Rincon Diaz (Col) EPM - Une
General Classification after Stage 6
1 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 25:39:50
2 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin - Sharp 0:00:09
3 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:21
4 Joseph Lloyd Dombrowski (USA) Bontrager Livestrong Team
5 Ramiro Rincon Diaz (Col) EPM - Une 0:00:22
6 Andreas Klöden (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan 0:00:26
7 Peter Stetina (USA) Garmin - Sharp 0:00:38
8 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana Pro Team 0:00:41
9 Ivan Rovny (Rus) RusVelo
10 Damiano Caruso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:52
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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