Levi Leipheimer of Team RadioShack won the inaugural USA Pro Cycling Challenge yesterday, eking out an 11 second win over Christian VandeVelde of Garmin-Cervélo who came in second, while Tejay Van Garderen of HTC-Highroad took third, 17 seconds off the pace. Tom Danielson, also of Garmin-Cervélo and George Hincapie of Team BMC rounded out the all-American top five.
The race started last Monday and promised to be quite a mix of high altitude and grueling climbs. It seems it lived up to that billing, as it was a challenging week for all the riders. Pre-race marketing materials for the event were quick to point out that this was the highest altitude course ever designed, with some of the stages going well above 12,000 feet, with nearly the entire race taking place above 8000 feet.
Yesterday’s final stage was a bit of a relief however, as the course was 73.8 miles in length between Golden and Denver. There was just 3129 feet of climbing, and the sprinters seemed to enjoy having the opportunity to show off their skills, racing for the finish line in front of the Colorado state capitol building. It was Italians Daniel Oss and Elia Viviani, both of Team Liquigas-Cannondale, who finished one-two for the stage win, while American Freddie Rodriguez took third for Team Exergy.
All in all, it seems this was a very successful first outing for the Pro Cycling Challenge. Hopefully we’ll see the race well into the future as well. Colorado is a great setting for road cycling, with plenty of options to challenge all kinds of riders. It was great that cyclists like Cadel Evans and Frank Schleck showed up to ride as well, giving the event a lot of legitimacy in its first go.
Congrats to Levi on the great win!
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