Stage winners extend leads halfway through Breck Epic 6-day mountain bike race
Breckenridge rookie Lasse Konecny 11th after Tuesday’s circumnavigation of Mount Guyot
After a big second stage Monday, Aug. 16, reigning Breck Epic champion Keegan Swenson of Heber City, Utah, added to his lead by 50 seconds with a third-straight stage victory at the 2021 Breck Epic on Tuesday, Aug. 17.
Swenson completed the 40.5-mile Guyot stage in 3 hours, 18 minutes and 46 seconds for a total time of 9:11:46 halfway through the six-day race.
Swenson’s pace is about eight minutes ahead of second-place rider and Breck Epic veteran Luis Mejia (9:19:33) of Colombia. Mejia raced to his third consecutive runner-up stage finish with a time of 3:19:39 on the stage that circumnavigates Mount Guyot while totaling 7,100 feet of elevation gain — the most of any singular stage.
Entering Wednesday’s 42.3-mile Aqueduct stage, Mejia is a dozen minutes ahead of third-place rider Lachlan Morton (9:31:20) of Australia, while Swenson is nearly 20 minutes ahead.
With a third-place time of 3:20:23 on Tuesday, Diyer Rincon of Colombia surged to seventh-place position through three stages.
In the pro-open women’s race, Alexis Skarda of Grand Junction added six minutes onto her first-place position with a Stage 3 time of 3:56:22. Evelyn Dong (4:02:28) of Park City, Utah, was the runner-up for the third consecutive day, and Dong’s total time of 11:13:44 is the only one within 40 minutes of Skarda entering Wednesday, Aug. 18. Rose Grant of Kalispell, Montana, retained her third-place position overall with a third-place time Tuesday of 4:07:33 for a total time of 11:49:25.
Breckenridge local and Breck Epic rookie Lasse Konecny, 17, raced to a ninth-place time of 3:39:35 on Tuesday despite a lingering mechanical issue. That followed a Monday stage where he rode to 10th overall (3:37:00) on the 42.5-mile, 6,565-foot elevation gain Colorado Trail stage and ninth overall (2:59:31) on the 35.7-mile, 5,700-foot elevation gain Pennsylvania Creek opening stage Sunday, Aug. 15.
Konecny said Tuesday that he rode with Tobin Ortenblad of Santa Cruz Bicycles, who finished eighth on the day and sits at eighth overall. Konecny said they started on a good pace and were picking off riders before he got a nail in his tire’s sidewall at the Great Flume. Konecny repaired the tire as best he could, riding across the finish line on a flat to sit in 11th place with a total time of 10:16:05 entering Wednesday. Konecny is part of a group of four riders all within 3.5 minutes of one another.
“I’m optimistic,” Konecny said. “You can’t tell how each day will go, but I’m hoping to stay on top of my food, ride clean and have no more mechanicals. Aqueduct is long but fast, and Day 5 is Wheeler, so the next two days will be pretty hard.”
After Wednesday’s Aqueduct stage features 6,473 feet of elevation gain, Thursday’s humbling Wheeler stage will take riders up and over Tenmile Range mountain passes twice to highlight 24.6 miles and 5,227 feet of total elevation gain. Friday’s sixth and final Gold Dust stage will feature 3,740 feet of climbing across 30.2 miles.
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