USA Pro Challenge 2014 – Stage 2 Preview – Ciclismo Internacional

USA Pro Challenge 2014 – Stage 2 Preview

By David Hunter

Stage 1 Recap

Cannondale spent all day controlling the peloton but lost it on the final climb. Voigt attacked and the peloton split in two. The remaining 5km saw a few attacks, with Mejias getting away. He looked to have a good gap, but two riders managed to bridge: Howes and Reijnen. It was Reijnen, who comfortable won the sprint. Attacking from the bunch for third was Ben Hermans, with Carter Jones and Matthew Busche, also claiming some seconds on the bunch. GC riders who lost a lot of time were Basso, Jaramillo, Konig and Rogers. Their campaign is over.

Stage 2 Aspen – Crested Butte 169km

After a year off, we return to Crested Butte!

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Levi Leipheimer won the stage in 2011 and Tejay Van Garderen was the winner in 2012. History shows us that time gaps will be small, on this stage.

The riders have to contend with two climbs in the final 16km of the stage: Kebler Pass and Mount Crested Butte. The final 1.6km of Kebler Pass is at an average of 6.4%. Crested Butte is 3.4km at 5%.

Neither climb is particularly hard, compared to World Tour races, but the altitude will make it difficult. In 2012, the first fifteen riders were only separated by 12 seconds. Expect a large group of GC contenders to be battling for this stage.

Before we get to these climbs, the riders will have to be attentive as crosswinds often play a big part in American races. The windy conditions and exposed roads are perfect to create echelons. GC riders beware!

The break doesn’t stand a chance, as we are only on stage 2 and there isn’t big enough time gaps.

The favourite for the stage, will be Van Garderen. He knows what it takes to win this stage and his uphill sprint is quick. Tom Danielson, isn’t as quick in a sprint, but should still be in the top 3.

Other riders will a chance of winning are: Edward Beltran, Frank Schleck, Riccardo Zoidl, Janier Acevedo, Matej Mohoric, Rafal Majka and Tiago Machado.

I’m discounting Rogers and Konig as they looked short of their best form.

Beltran is an interesting option for Tinkoff-Saxo, if Rogers and Majka aren’t there. The Colombian, has been in good form this season and deserves a chance to impress.

Zoidl has a great chance on this stage. He might be allowed some freedom, as the American riders will be marking each other. His uphill sprint is good and he’s now adjusted to the altitude.

Mohoric is only 19 years old and is the World under 23 Road Race Champion. He has a very quick sprint, but will find it hard to survive the climb.

Acevedo will probably have to work for Danielson.

From the smaller teams, Bolivar, Jones and Chevrier have the potential to go well and will be looking to finish in the top 10.

Prediction time…

Zoidl is slip away when Van Garderen and Danielson play games.

David Hunter

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