By David Hunter
Stage 2 Recap
The break escaped and Robin Carpenter decided to go solo, over Monarch Pass. He was 45 seconds ahead, with 7km to go, when the race officials stopped the race. They thought it was too dangerous but the peloton were furious and they decided to continue with the race. Carpenter increased his lead, as the peloton didn’t look too bothered. With 1.5km to go, Van Garderen attacked and Danielson couldn’t follow. His teammate, Alex Howes, was the rider who went with Tejay. Carpenter took a great win, Howes was second and Tejay was third.
Stage 3 Gunnison – Monarch Mountain 155km
The GC battle continues.
Another fairly short stage, but a hard one. We have two major climbs in the Monarch Mountains and a mountaintop finish. This is the only such finish, in the race, and will be crucial in shaping the overall picture.
Monarch Pass is 13.6km at 5.9%. The mountain crests at 3452 metres, so altitude will play it’s part.
Monarch Mountain goes up in stages, with different gradients. The final 5km, rises at an average of 6%.
This is a new climb for the race and it will be interesting to see how the riders cope with it. The profile of the stage is suited to a successful breakaway, but only if the WT teams are in it. Without some big name riders, the breaks can often be weak in American cycling. This makes it very easy for the peloton to bring them back and the GC boys battle out for victory.
The stage is very important for the GC. That means Van Garderen, Danielson, Majka, Howes, Carpenter and Hermans will all be shaping up for a big day. I would expect to see most of these riders together, with 5km to go. At that point, we should get some attacks. Both BMC and Garmin have very strong teams and they will control the race and attack the other teams.
Like in Utah, BMC have multiple cards to play. Van Garderen is their leader but Hermans and Schaar will be allowed to attack, to slim down the peloton and make Garmin work. Garmin are very good in these races and rarely get their tactics wrong. I look forward to seeing how the two big teams tackle the stage and try to put each other, under pressure.
Time for Van Garderen to take the stage and overall lead.
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