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BRECKENRIDGE, Colorado (VN) — The sky spit rain down in Woodland Park Friday morning. Of course it did, with the tall Hoosier Pass on tap, via Alma, North America’s highest incorporated town.
The peloton steeled itself for a cold day through the central Colorado mountains. It was time to suffer, and suffer they did. Tom Danielson in particular. The Garmin-Sharp rider lost five seconds on the day to race leader Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing), and shivered his way through it. He now sits in fourth overall, 39 seconds down, heading into Saturday’s 16km Vail time trial.
“Just a real bike race out there. It was — we wanted guys in the break to go for the stage win. We missed the break a couple times and had to bring it back … then it became really cold and rainy. And sleeting or whatever,” Danielson said. “I was pretty much hypothermic the whole day. Just shivering. I was lucky I even rode all right in the final. I really suffered a lot today with the cold. And the last climb, you know, I didn’t want it to come down to the jump that it did, and it did, and those guys pulled away from me. I think they got a few seconds on me.
Danielson has another crack in Vail Saturday, in the short but rough uphill time trial. He’s close, but perhaps not close enough to van Garderen, a very good time trialist.
“I’m still right there. Tomorrow’s the time trial. I’m going to give it my all. Obviously Tejay’s super strong, and there’s nothing you can say about that. Fantastic performance by him, every day. So you can’t, I can’t really see too many people in the world, anyone in the world, beating him on a course like this,” Danielson said. “Just being there and trying to win every day is what I’m doing. You know, he’s fantastic. He’s riding so strong… He’s just so, so, so good, what are you doing to do?
Time is scarce now for opportunities. Garmin, notoriously aggressive, sees two more stages to claim its home race. “We’re obviously running pretty low on options here. We’ll see what Tom can do in the time trial. You never know in that situation. Tejay’s a pretty good time trialist. Tom’s no slouch,” Garmin’s Alex Howes said. “We’ll see what he can do there. That last day, it’s not hard enough to be a GC day, but it’s certainly hard enough to piss people off.”
The USA Pro Challenge may come at the tail end of a long season, but it’s hotly contested regardless.
“It’s always a hard race. We race every day. Obviously our team is pretty motivated. BMC is pretty motivated. Anybody with American interests like Cannondale and Trek, everybody shows up to race,” Howes said. “You could make the course easy every day and we’d still beat each other up.”
Danielson knows that much. He’s been trying to win this one for years, finishing third overall, behind van Garderen, last year.
“I love it. I mean it’s just, I just wish I could win,” he said, laughing. “But it’s a tough route for me every year. I just give it my all and I love doing it in front of these fans. They’re the best fans in the world and I’m going to continue to do it until maybe some day I win.”
The post Danielson tips cap to a flying van Garderen, but no white flag yet appeared first on VeloNews.com.
WOODLAND PARK, Colorado (VN) — A man leans into the road. Doper, he yells. You suck, he yells.
Doper. You suck.
Tom Danielson rides closer during a stage of the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado Springs, flips him the bird.
The moment catches a bit of social media fire, and, at once, perfectly crystalizes the gifts and curses of a sport that is struggling to find a grey area in a culture demanding black and white, and one that’s played out on open roads with fans close enough to be heard, loudly.
Danielson, an American rider for Garmin-Sharp, admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs as part of the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s investigation into Lance Armstrong.
Since then, riders who contributed to the investigation have been both lauded and lamented.
For one fan, and Colorado professional mountain biker, the fact Danielson is in the peloton at all is an insult. The fact that Danielson reacted is somewhat rare, though at this summer’s Tour de France Europcar’s Thomas Voeckler got off his bike to lambast a heckling fan, who then apologized. Incidents in years past have extended beyond words — Mark Cavendish has had urine thrown at him, and Lance Armstrong was spit upon on the open roads of France.
The issue raises a central question for a sport played out on open roads with thousands of fans, some of them feeling jilted. Is there such a thing as too much? Is it all part of the big show? Predictably, answers may vary.
“Professional athletes get heckled day in and day out…. I wasn’t telling him his momma was fat or anything,” said Kalan Beisel, who harangued Danielson on Thursday in Colorado Springs, to the point of prompting Danielson to extend a middle finger, mid-race. “I just called him a doper and told him he sucks. It was really simple … I don’t think it’s harsh at all. Personally I think he shouldn’t be racing in the peloton.”
Draconian? Maybe. But there isn’t much middle ground these days.
“Some guys will like you. Some guys will dislike you. Obviously Tommy D ran into some guy yesterday who wasn’t a major fan of his,” Garmin-Sharp director and former pro Robbie Hunter said. “I think, you know, he reacted in the wrong way. I think one of the biggest attractions to fans, and why they love the sport so much, is because they can be so close to the athletes. That obviously brings along the problem that the people who don’t like you can get in your face. Unfortunately the athletes themselves need to rise above the one or two bad apples on the side of road screaming at you, shouting at you, whatever. I know it’s difficult because nobody likes being told off, especially when they’re giving their maximum.”
Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies soigneur Jonathan Garcia, also a former pro rider, said that in Colorado, regarding Colorado riders such as Danielson, a number of things could prompt such an interaction.
“People have opinions on certain riders, and maybe that’s where it comes from. Some guys get more of that than other guys. I think you’re going to get that in any sport … it could stem from some of the doping stuff, it could be — who knows,” Garcia said. “I just don’t think it’s going to help his cause to react to someone like that. It’s part of the gig of being an athlete. You’re going to have people like you, people not like you … I know it sucks to hear stuff on the road, but they’re just making an assumption, usually. You just need to let it go.”
For his part, Danielson engaged in a bit of Twitter debate, but also apologized. “I apologize I lost my cool out there today. I appreciate all the incredible fan support out there which makes this race so incredible!” he said.
The sport rolled on the next day, its collective memory shortened by a drizzle and a stage over Hoosier Pass, into the ski town of Breckenridge. It was another day, and something else is always bound to happen in professional cycling. And it may be too much to expect perfection of men in an imperfect sport. At least SmartStop’s Michael Creed thought so.
“Tommy’s human, right? Your heart rate’s 180, 190. You react. What are you going to do, you know,” he wondered.
A day after the event, Danielson was brief on the matter. One tough moment, he said, didn’t outshine the other fans along the road.
“He’s not a fan. He’s a person — I don’t want to talk too much about it, but it’s a guy that’s devoted three years of internet hate toward me,” Danielson said.
The post In cycling’s open arena, harsh words — and reactions appeared first on VeloNews.com.
BRECKENRIDGE, Colorado (VN) — For the third time in four days, Rafal Majka crossed the finish line at the USA Pro Challenge frustrated over an inability to seize the race lead.
Though he’s sitting second overall, and is poised to reach the final podium with two stages remaining, the Tinkoff-Saxo rider is fresh off an overall win at the Tour of Poland, and is growing accustomed to his new status among the best racers in pro cycling.
Though he finished sixth at the Giro d’Italia, in May, and won two mountain stages and the KOM jersey at the Tour de France, in July, the effects of a long season, as well as the effects of high altitude, have taken a cumulative toll on the Polish rider.
The inclement high-mountain weather that has marred several stages of this race hasn’t helped, either.
Majka lost 20 seconds to overall leader Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) on the cold, wet, muddy stage into Crested Butte on stage 2, won by Robin Carpenter (Hincapie Sportswear).
On stage 3, Majka crossed the finish line with van Garderen, the stage winner, at Monarch Mountain, but was unable to come around the American for the stage win. Though he was quick to congratulate the BMC rider, Majka was clearly disappointed to have missed out on the victory.
In Breckenridge on Friday, Majka was again able to finish with van Garderen after a cold and wet mountain stage that featured two categorized climbs, including near-freezing temperatures and rain on Hoosier Pass with 23km remaining.
When van Garderen upped the pace on Boreas Pass, 5km from the finish, Majka was able to follow, finishing alongside the race leader, but he was unable to take time heading into Saturday’s 16km uphill time trial in Vail, where van Garderen, the stage winner last year, is the favorite.
Majka’s last uphill time trial came at the Giro d’Italia, where he placed seventh on the 26.8km stage, 3:28 behind Nairo Quintana (Movistar), at Bassano del Grappa. Majka also finished fourth at the Giro’s stage 12 time trial, a 41.9km TT from Barbaresco to Barolo.
Majka spoke with VeloNews following the stage about the challenges he’s faced this year, including fatigue, acclimatization, and adverse weather conditions.
“I don’t feel so good, because it was so, so cold,” Majka said. “It was like [40 degrees Fahrenheit] at the top. It was really difficult for me. My team was working on the front for me, helping me when I wasn’t feeling good, and when Tejay attacked, I was able to follow. I tried to take some time in the last few hundred meters, but he was on my wheel. I think I’ll finish this race second, or third. Tejay is so strong, and I’m a bit tired after the Tour, and after Poland.”
Majka heads into Saturday’s time trial 20 seconds behind van Garderen, 17 seconds ahead of Serghei Tvetcov (Jelly Belly), and 19 seconds ahead of Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp).
Majka said he has not seen the Vail TT course, and wasn’t overly concerned about its legendary difficulty; the course climbs 1,513 feet in 10 miles, finishing at 9,663 feet.
“When it’s a hard time trial, for me, it’s okay,” Majka said. “The first five or six kilometers are flat, and then it climbs to almost 3,000 meters. For me that’s okay, but I think it’s difficult to win this race. I don’t have the same condition as before Poland and after the Tour. I was stronger then, and it’s difficult to hold the condition. When I woke up this morning, I could feel my legs, they were tired.”
Majka arrived in Colorado four days before the Pro Challenge started, seemingly at a disadvantage to riders like van Garderen and Danielson, who had been training or racing at high altitude for weeks before the race began.
Asked if he feels it is possible to win the Pro Challenge without a longer period of acclimatization, Majka said he wasn’t sure.
“Maybe, if I come here next year, I’ll try coming two weeks before,” he said. “I was suffering for the first three days at this very high altitude. But two weeks before this race is the Tour of Poland… I don’t know.”
The post Majka’s Colorado roller coaster: ‘I don’t think I can win’ appeared first on VeloNews.com.
- 1. Laurent Didier, Trek Factory Racing, in 3:50:38
- 2. Janier Alexis Acevedo Colle, Team Garmin-Sharp
- 3. Rob Britton, Team SmartStop
- 4. Benjamin King, Team Garmin-Sharp, at :00:15
- 5. Jose Joao Pimenta Costa Mendes, Team Netapp-Endura, at :01:11
- 6. Daniel Eaton, Bissell Development Team, at :01:26
- 7. Serghei Tvetcov, Jelly Belly, at :01:33
- 8. Richard Handley, Rapha Condor Jlt
- 9. Tejay van Garderen, BMC Racing Team
- 10. Rafal Majka, Tinkoff-Saxo
- 11. Cristiano Salerno, Cannondale
- 12. Thomas Danielson, Team Garmin-Sharp, at :01:38
- 13. Matthew Busche, Trek Factory Racing
- 14. Chris Butler, Hincapie Sportswear Development
- 15. Ruben Zepuntke, Bissell Development Team, at :01:52
- 16. Joseph Rosskopf, Hincapie Sportswear Development
- 17. Bartosz Huzarski, Team Netapp-Endura
- 18. Lucas Euser, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling, at :02:06
- 19. Michael Schär, BMC Racing Team
- 20. Bruno Pires, Tinkoff-Saxo
- 21. Carter Jones, Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies
- 22. Julian Kyer, Team SmartStop
- 23. Michael Rogers, Tinkoff-Saxo
- 24. Pawel Poljanski, Tinkoff-Saxo, at :02:23
- 25. Ben Hermans, BMC Racing Team, at :02:49
- 26. Alex Howes, Team Garmin-Sharp
- 27. Dion Smith, Hincapie Sportswear Development, at :03:05
- 28. David de la Cruz Melgarejo, Team Netapp-Endura
- 29. Frank Schleck, Trek Factory Racing
- 30. Calvin Watson, Trek Factory Racing, at :03:24
- 31. Phillip Gaimon, Team Garmin-Sharp
- 32. Riccardo Zoidl, Trek Factory Racing, at :03:34
- 33. Clement Chevrier, Bissell Development Team
- 34. Scott Zwizanski, Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies
- 35. Peter Stetina, BMC Racing Team, at :03:48
- 36. Luis Enrique Davila, Jelly Belly, at :04:38
- 37. Daniel Alexander Jaramillo Diez, Jamis-Hagens Berman, at :04:42
- 38. Jai Crawford, Drapac Professional Cycling, at :04:44
- 39. Edward Beltran Suarez, Tinkoff-Saxo, at :05:32
- 40. Thomas Dekker, Team Garmin-Sharp
- 41. Hayden Roulston, Trek Factory Racing
- 42. Patrick Konrad, Team Netapp-Endura
- 43. Kirk Carlsen, Jelly Belly
- 44. Gavin Mannion, Team Garmin-Sharp
- 45. Joonas Henttala, Team Novo Nordisk, at :06:21
- 46. Zachary Bell, Team SmartStop
- 47. Robbie Squire, Jamis-Hagens Berman, at :07:03
- 48. Elliott Porter, Rapha Condor Jlt, at :08:23
- 49. Matej Mohoric, Cannondale, at :08:50
- 50. Tom Zirbel, Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies
- 51. Rick Zabel, BMC Racing Team
- 52. Rasmus Guldhammer, Tinkoff-Saxo
- 53. Bjorn Selander, Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies
- 54. Jens Voigt, Trek Factory Racing
- 55. Ryan Anderson, Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies
- 56. Christopher Jones, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
- 57. Tiago Machado, Team Netapp-Endura
- 58. Gregor Muhlberger, Team Netapp-Endura
- 59. Martin Kohler, BMC Racing Team
- 60. Jesper Hansen, Tinkoff-Saxo
- 61. Scott Ambrose, Team Novo Nordisk
- 62. Kiel Reijnen, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
- 63. Wesley Sulzberger, Drapac Professional Cycling
- 64. Tanner Putt, Bissell Development Team
- 65. Markel Irizar Aranburu, Trek Factory Racing
- 66. Ian Crane, Jamis-Hagens Berman
- 67. Caleb Fairly, Team Garmin-Sharp
- 68. Jonathan Clarke, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
- 69. Toms Skujins, Hincapie Sportswear Development
- 70. Darren Lapthorne, Drapac Professional Cycling
- 71. Matt Cooke, Jamis-Hagens Berman
- 72. Javier Megias Leal, Team Novo Nordisk
- 73. Joseph Lewis, Hincapie Sportswear Development, at :10:01
- 74. Edward King, Cannondale, at :11:33
- 75. Ben Jacques-Maynes, Jamis-Hagens Berman
- 76. Daniel Summerhill, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
- 77. Aaron Perry, Team Novo Nordisk
- 78. Charles Planet, Team Novo Nordisk
- 79. Gregory Daniel, Bissell Development Team
- 80. Brent Bookwalter, BMC Racing Team
- 81. Kristian House, Rapha Condor Jlt
- 82. Alan Marangoni, Cannondale
- 83. Benjamin Day, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
- 84. Robin Carpenter, Hincapie Sportswear Development
- 85. Jure Kocjan, Team SmartStop
- 86. Steve Fisher, Jelly Belly
- 87. Stephen Leece, Jamis-Hagens Berman
- 88. Mike Friedman, Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies
- 89. Alexander Candelario, Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies
- 90. Jeffry Louder, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
- 91. Johnathan Freter, Jelly Belly
- 92. Ivan Basso, Cannondale
- 93. Elia Viviani, Cannondale
- 94. Yannick Eijssen, BMC Racing Team
- 95. Michel Koch, Cannondale
- 96. Tyler Magner, Hincapie Sportswear Development
- 97. Oscar Clark, Hincapie Sportswear Development
- 98. Nathan Van Hooydonck, Bissell Development Team
- 99. Leopold König, Team Netapp-Endura
- 100. Jonathan Cantwell, Drapac Professional Cycling
- 101. Ian Burnett, Jelly Belly
- 102. Carson Miller, Jamis-Hagens Berman
- 103. Adam Phelan, Drapac Professional Cycling
- 104. James Oram, Bissell Development Team
- 105. Jacob Rathe, Jelly Belly
- 106. Michael Schwarzmann, Team Netapp-Endura
- 107. Cameron Wurf, Cannondale
- 108. Luis Romero Amaran, Jamis-Hagens Berman
- 109. Hugh Carthy, Rapha Condor Jlt
- 110. Bernard Sulzberger, Drapac Professional Cycling
- 111. Tom Moses, Rapha Condor Jlt
- 112. Keegan Swirbul, Bissell Development Team
- 113. Lachlan Norris, Drapac Professional Cycling
- 114. Jesse Anthony, Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies, at :17:06
- 115. Jordan Kerby, Drapac Professional Cycling
- 116. Michael Torckler, Team SmartStop, at :17:29
- 117. Martijn Verschoor, Team Novo Nordisk
- 118. Michael Cuming, Rapha Condor Jlt
- DNF David Lozano Riba, Team Novo Nordisk
- DNF Eric Marcotte, Team SmartStop
- DNF Travis McCabe, Team SmartStop
- DNS Michael Mørkøv, Tinkoff-Saxo
Laurent Didier (Trek Factory Racing) won USA Pro Challenge stage 5 in Breckenridge with a decisive attack on the final climb.
Picking up where his teammate Jens Voigt left off on Thursday, Didier rode an aggressive race, attacking early, alone, on the day’s category two climb up Hoosier Pass.
His first attempt was not to be, as three of his early breakaway companions chased him down on the long, wet, cold descent into Breckenridge.
However, the Trek Factory rider had one more chance, and he took it on Boreas Pass, attacking Janier Acevedo (Garmin-Sharp), Ben King (Garmin-Sharp), and Rob Britton (Team SmartStop). The three others could not respond to his effort on the steep pitch above Breckenridge.
Britton and Acevedo chased valiantly on the descent. On the final drag through town, it looked for a moment that Didier would suffer the same indignity that Voigt did — to be caught in the final kilometer — but not this time.
The Luxembourger put his head down, grasped the drops and powered to the win, mere seconds ahead of the two chasers.
Behind the leaders, the GC group also saw some fireworks on the final climb.
Tejay van Garderen (BMC) attacked on Boreas Pass, and Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) followed. Both solidified their first and second GC placings, respectively.
On the other hand, Ben Hermans (BMC) was knocked out of his podium position. Serghei Tvetcov (Jelly Belly) now sits third, 37 seconds back. Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp) remains fourth, while Matthew Busche (Trek Factory Racing) moved up to fifth overall.
A breakaway of 12 riders got away from the field early in the day.
The group included a few notables, such as Acevedo, who won the USA Pro Challenge stage in Beaver Creek last year.
The peloton showed little initiative, allowing the gap to stretch to over four minutes, as the riders faced a cool, rainy day in the Colorado high country.
Jelly Belly’s Luis Lemus won the only intermediate points sprint of the day in Fairplay. Jai Crawford (Drapac) was second, and Richard Handley (Rapha Condor-JLT) was third.
Out of the front group, three leaders forged ahead on Hoosier Pass: King, Didier, and Britton.
As they reached the top of the course, Didier got a small gap and won the king of the mountains sprint.
Acevedo followed close behind the two chasers and caught them shortly into the descent.
Back in the main field, Hoosier Pass took its toll, splitting a small group of 11 riders off the front. Race leader Tejay van Garderen (BMC) safely made the front group, and they were 2:45 behind the leaders at the crest of the climb.
Didier’s advantage over the chasing trio was a mere 10 seconds with nine miles to go, as the descent leveled out on the approach to Breckenridge.
With 8.5 miles remaining, the leader was caught.
Entering Breckenridge, the four frontrunners had 45 seconds over the eight chasers remaining from the early breakaway.
Final test on Boreas Pass
After 100 miles of racing, the leaders faced the day’s final test, a steep, short climb up Boreas Pass.
King attacked on the run-in to the last climb, forcing Didier to chase with Acevedo on his wheel.
As the road pitched up, King had a small gap of 10 seconds.
However, his move didn’t stick, and Didier countered, quickly gapping his three companions.
The Trek Factory rider crested the climb alone, but not out of sight.
After the blazing fast final descent to the finish, Didier had a six-second advantage over Britton and Acevedo with one kilometer to go.
Britton chased hard on the final straight in Breckenridge, but it wasn’t enough to catch Didier, the Luxembourg national time trial champion, who held them off by a few bike lengths.
The drama on Boreas Pass wasn’t exclusive to the leaders. On the final climb, van Garderen attacked the group of GC favorites that had survived the wet, cold ride over Hoosier Pass.
Serghei Tvetcov (Jelly Belly), and Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) were able to respond, and rode to the finish with the race leader.
Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp) missed the split, but held on to finish only five seconds behind the van Garderen group.
Saturday will see the USA Pro Challenge tackle the storied Vail Pass hill climb time trial, a 10 mile test that finishes at 9,600 feet above sea level.
The post Laurent Didier’s tenacious climbing wins a wet stage 5 at USA Pro Challenge appeared first on VeloNews.com.
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