Americans Share Lead In USA Pro Cycling Challenge

It has been an eventful week on the roads of Colorado where the USA Pro Cycling has been a fast and furious affair thus far. After three stages, the top of the leaderboard is dominated by American riders, while 25 cyclists sit less than one minute off the lead.

The race got off to a good start on Monday with a long 126-mile leg. That stage was won by Tyler Farrar of Team Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda, who was happy to ride well following a crash-prone outing in the Tour de France last month. Tuesday’s Stage 2 went to Tejay Van Garderen of BMC Racing while yesterday’s win went to Tom Danielson, also of Garmin-Sharp. That means during all three days of racing, American riders have crossed the finish line in front.

The overall standings have Christian Vandevelde and Garderen in a virtual tie atop the leaderboard with Ivan Rovny of RusVelo. RusVelo is a new Russian squad that was created last year and are starting to show some promise out on the road. Defending champ Levi Leiphimer, who now rides for Omega Pharma-Quick-Step is sitting in fourth place just eight seconds off the lead.

Today’s Stage 4 is a 97.2-mile ride (156.4km) ride from beautiful Aspen to Beaver Creek that includes a climb as high as 12,095 feet (3686 meters) on Independence Pass early on in the race. Over the first three days the pace has been fast, despite plenty of climbing and altitude, and today is likely to be no different. Considering how many riders are within striking distance of the lead, the race remains a wide open affair that will probably be decided in the individual time trial scheduled for Sunday in Denver.

I’m glad to see the race is living up to the legacy that was set down last year. The course is tough, but still allows riders to be aggressive and it remains very competitive as we head into the second half. I’m sure that a number of the American riders are hoping to once again take the win on home soil but we’ll have to wait to see how it all plays out.

Kraig Becker