Colorado Classic: Tvetcov wins Stage 3 from Denver and back along Peak-to-Peak Highway |

Colorado Classic: Tvetcov wins Stage 3 from Denver and back along Peak-to-Peak Highway

Spectators cheer on the cyclists during the Colorado Classic's Stage 2 race on Boreas Pass Road, Friday, in Breckenridge.
Hugh Carey / |

Serghei Tvetcov (Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis) bridged a gap on the second King of the Mountain point of the day and, along with with Manuel Senni (BMC), built a lead of more than one minute on a chase group before pulling away to finish first and second, respectively, in the third stage of the Colorado Classic on Saturday.

“At the top I was like, ‘OK let’s just keep going,’ I knew the descent and it was still wet and dangerous but when we both descended it looked like we both trained there,” said Tvetcov, of Romania. “At the bottom we knew to run left, and right, and left, so we knew it would be a good descent for us but also for the group, so ultimately the gap was going to hold the same.”

Senni, who finished in second, donned the Gates General Classification leader’s jersey. With a flat circuit in the final stage on Sunday, the Italian is in a position for his first major professional win.

“In my DNA I have ‘attack, attack, attack,’ so it ended up being a good day,” Senni said. “What helped also was that I found another strong guy and we helped each other a lot — he helped me a lot. I’m happy for him as well and I’m glad I got this (jersey).”

Stage 3 took the men’s field on an extensive lap around Denver and to Peak-to-Peak Highway. This stage tested the male cyclists’ endurance with a three-plus hour race covering more than 81 miles. The race started on Walnut Street, with the cyclists continuing onto 44th Avenue as they traveled to Coal Creek Canyon. The ride up to Gap Road was the first of two elevation gains; the second elevation gain proved to be a challenge for the cyclists as they rode on to Golden Gate Canyon Road. The cyclists had an overall elevation gain greater than 6,733 feet.

Several riders tried to make breaks early on in Saturday’s race, but the field quickly swallowed up any attacks. Rain that fell on the course in front of the riders also limited aggressive riding on the day, said Travis McCabe (Unitedhealthcare) who finished third in Saturday’s stage.

“We hit the dirt and right then it started to rain. And coming back in after the final KOM it was just wet the whole way back which made it hard to chase, but fortunately no one I think went down and no one got struck by lightning,” said McCabe.

Tvetcov and Senni held off the chase group for more than 31 miles into the finish in the RiNo District in Denver.

Tvetcov pulled away from Senni less than 500 feet from the line to win by about two bike lengths.

Tvetcov is a two-time Romanian Time Trial National Champion, a superb roller and crowd favorite. After a breakout spell with Jelly Belly, which included a third place finish in the 2014 USA Pro Challenge and first in stage 3 of the 2014 Tour of the Gila, Tvetcov went to Italy to race with Pro Continental. His return to Jelly Belly Cycling presented by Maxxis has brought a top five finish at this year’s Cascade Cycling Classic and second place finish in the GC of this year’s Tour of the Gila.

Stage 4 will put the men’s teams to the test again in Denver, as this stage consists of 10 laps of pure agility and tight turns.

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