USA Pro Challenge 2014 – Stage 1 Preview – Ciclismo Internacional

USA Pro Challenge 2014 – Stage 1 Preview

By David Hunter

Stage 1 Aspen – Aspen 98km

up1Don’t be impressed with the jaggy profile, the horizontal axis, over-emphasising the vertical gain. We do have some climbing, but nothing too serious. The racing will be very fast as the stage is very short, so don’t be surprised to see many riders getting dropped but the World Tour riders shouldn’t be in any difficulty. The climb to Snowmass is around 3.6km at 4%, not difficult by WT proportions.

Most of the teams will be happy to see a sprint finish. Cannondale don’t have Peter Sagan, but they do have Elia Viviani. He is the fastest rider here and has to be the big favourite for the stage.

Tinkoff-Saxo have Michael Morkov. He’s not a classic sprinter but is capable of finishing fast. He doesn’t have the top speed of Viviani, but will be in the mix.

BMC, Trek, Garmin and NetApp don’t have a sprinter. They will look to try and attack near the end of the stage, especially Jens Voigt!

Most of the smaller teams have sprinters and will want to help set up the big finish. Team SmartStop have Jure Kocjan, fresh from three, second places in Utah and the points jersey.

UnitedHealthcare have Kiel Reijnen, who had three, top 5 finishes in Utah.

Other riders, who are capable of challenging for the top 5 are Skujins, Briggs, Anderson, Tvetcov and Putt. It would be a massive shock if any of these riders won.

The GC riders need to be on their toes, as the finish contains a few corners and we could get some time gaps. It happened last year, with 5 seconds between 17th and 18th. Van Garderen was so concerned, he actually sprinted and finished 5th!

Prediction time…

It should be a straight fight between Viviani and Morkov, with Viviani winning. I think Kocjan should have enough to grab 3rd place.

David Hunter

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