Pro cyclists face toughest, longest Stage 3 today |

Pro cyclists face toughest, longest Stage 3 today

Daniel Petty
the denver post

MOUNT CRESTED BUTTE – Tejay van Garderen of BMC Racing won the uphill sprint to the finish Tuesday to claim the USA Pro Cycling Challenge Stage 2 win and also the overall lead.

Van Garderen finished the 99-mile stage in 3 hours, 52 minutes, 24 seconds and beat Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Sharp) to the line as the pair sprinted ahead of the pack on the uphill finish.

“There are two more summit finishes to go and the Aspen stage, which is not easy, so this is far from over,” Van Garderen said. “I think with the layout of the course, it’s not going to calm down at all.”

Ivan Rovny (RusVelo) was third at six seconds back, and defending champion Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) was fourth two seconds behind Rvovny.

“(Wednesday) is a really hard stage,” Van Garderen said. “The dirt road climb – we kind of rode it easy last year, but there could be some big drama if they go up that thing hard. Then, Independence Pass, we get up to 12,000 feet, and then a hairy run into the finish.”

Van Garderen leads the overall with 8:35:12 and is eight seconds ahead of Leipheimer, who is in fourth overall.

Tom Danielson of Boulder-based Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda retained the King of the Mountains jersey with 23 points, reserved for the best climber in the race. American Matt Cooke of Team Exergy is second with 20 points.

“I really felt strong today especially after (Monday’s) performance,” he said in a statement from his team. “I always suffer on this climb, so I’m happy to have it past me (so I can) move on to the parts of the race I like the most.”

Tyler Farrar of Garmin-Sharp, who lost the yellow leader’s jersey as expected, held on to the sprint leader jersey.

With fewer than 50 miles to go in Stage 2, a break of 11 riders held about a 5 minute, 10 second lead over the peloton. The breakaway included German Jens Voigt of Team EPM-UNE and Americans David Zabriskie and Alex Howes of Garmin-Sharp. The stage’s finish, a two-mile climb up Mount Crested Butte, mirrored last year’s finish, which was won by Levi Leipheimer.

Wednesday’s 131-mile Queen Stage from Gunnison to Aspen – also a repeat of a 2011 stage – will be one of the Pro Challenge’s hardest and the longest of the week.

1. Tejay van Garderen (BMC), United States, 3 hours, 52 minutes, 24 seconds.

2. Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Sharp), United States, same time.

3. Ivan Rovny (RusVelo), Russia, 3:52:30 .

4. Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma-Quickstep), United States, 3:52:32.

5. Ramiro Rincon Diaz (EPM-Une), Colombia, same time.

6. Thomas Danielson (Garmin-Sharp), United States, 3:52:36.

7. Joseph Lloyd Dombrowski (Bontrager Livestrong), same time.

8. Lucas Euser (Spidertech), same time.

9. Damiano Caruso (Liquigas-Cannondale), same time.

10. Johann Tschopp (BMC), Switzerland, same time.

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