Aspen (Aug. 22, 2012) - In an epic day of racing, Stage 3 of the 2012 USA Pro
Challenge<http://www.usaprocyclingchallenge.com/> came to a close with
Colorado-resident Tom Danielson (USA) of Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda taking a solo
breakaway to the finish line in Aspen. With the peloton following close behind,
Damiano Caruso (ITA) of Liquigas-Cannondale claimed second in the stage and Jakob
Fuglsang (DEN) of RadioShack-Nissan-Trek took third on a course packed with cheering
fans. And in a very close fight for the GC, Danielson's Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda
teammate Christian Vande Velde (USA) claimed the Exergy Leader Jersey.
"I'm incredibly proud of the team and what we did today, and every day," said Vande
Velde. "Especially with how aggressive we've been. If nothing else, it has been a
rewarding and fruitful experience."
Stage 3 took the riders on a 130.6 mile ride from Gunnison to downtown Aspen, facing
them with the two epic passes of Cottonwood and Independence Pass. After rolling out
of a neutral start in Gunnison, the riders showed they were ready to compete,
immediately reaching speeds of 35 mph. With a breakaway of about 18 riders forming
leading into the first Waste Management sprint in Almont, the results were Jesse
Anthony (USA) of Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies, Kiel Reijnen (USA)
of Team Type 1-SANOFI and Serghei Tvetcov (MOL) of Team Exergy, respectively.
The BMC Racing Team led the front of the field, riding hard and trying to make sure
the break didn't get too far up the road as the riders approached the first Nissan
KOM of the day - Cat. 3 Taylor Park (9,526 ft.). Camilo Castiblanco (COL) of EPM-UNE
took max points, followed by Team Exergy riders Serghei Tvetcov (MOL) and Matt Cooke
As the riders approached the second KOM of the day - Cat. 1 Cottonwood Pass (12,126
ft.) - there was some reshuffling in the break with Anthony trying to make a move,
getting caught and Tvetcov, Reijnen and Valerio Agnoli (ITA) of Liquigas-Cannondale
all dropping back to the peloton.
With 1 km to go until reaching Cottonwood Pass, the break dwindled to only five
riders, including Danielson, Fabio Aru (ITA) of Astana Pro Team, Dave Zabriskie
(USA) of Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda, Francisco Jarley Colorado Hernandez (COL) of
EPM-UNE and Jeffry Louder (USA) of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team. Colorado
Hernandez reached the top of the Pass first, followed by Danielson and Zabriskie.
And as things started to settle down after the KOM, Michael Friedman (USA) of Optum
Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies joined the break.
At the next Waste Management sprint in Buena Vista, Zabriskie crossed the line
first, followed by Louder and Danielson. Shortly after, riders started to fall off
the break and get absorbed back into the peloton. First it was Aru and Friedman.
Then, after doing a good part of the work all day, Zabriskie, followed quickly by
With only two riders left into the break heading toward the final KOM of the day -
Cat. 1 Independence Pass (12,095 ft.) - tensions started to grow, but Danielson
attacked in advance of the KOM setting him up to take max points and secure the
Nissan King of the Mountains Jersey for another day. He was followed by Colorado and
Freddy Orlando Piamonte Rodriguez (COL) of EPM-UNE as a wall of enthusiastic fans
cheered them on at the top of the climb.
"That was awesome! Since I'm a Colorado guy, there's a lot of responsibility there,"
said Danielson. "I've dreamed about going over Independence Pass and for it to come
true the way it did is something I'll never forget."
With Danielson now on a solo mission headed straight for the finish in Aspen, the
peloton took chase and narrowed the gap significantly to only a matter of seconds,
but it wasn't enough to catch the Colorado resident, and Danielson took the stage
"Today was as good as it gets when it comes to elite professional bike racing," said
Shawn Hunter, CEO of the Pro Challenge. "The riders kept us on the edge of our seats
and the massive crowds along the route and at the top of the passes really set the
stage for the race."
For the jerseys, Vande Velde took the Exergy Leader Jersey. Caruso claimed the Waste
Management Sprint Jersey. Danielson held onto the Nissan King of the Mountains
Jersey. Joseph Lloyd Dombrowski (USA) of Bontrager Livestrong Team kept the
Aquadraat Best Young Rider Jersey. Colorado Hernandez was awarded the Evolve Most
Aggressive Rider Jersey for his effort on the climbs.
STAGE 4 TOMORROW:
Thursday, Aug. 23 - Aspen to Beaver Creek (156.5 km/97.2 mi)
Start Time: 11:35 a.m. MT
Estimated Finish Time: 3:25-4:35 p.m. MT
Satellite Feed Time: 5 - 5:15 p.m. MT
Elevation is the main story for Stage 4 because with much of the course above 9,000
ft., it will be anything but easy. Those who conquered Independence Pass on Stage 3
will see it again very early in Stage 4, with the climb starting almost immediately
after several neutral start laps in downtown Aspen. Unlike the previous day, the
climb may not decide the winner, but will be an ideal launching point for a
breakaway or possibly an overall contender to lose time.
Anyone who is brave enough to attack over Independence Pass will be faced with more
than 75 miles of racing at altitude. Along the way they will compete for a sprint in
the historic town of Leadville, the highest incorporated city in the United States
at 10,152 ft. Next on the agenda will be the climb over the Continental Divide at
Tennessee Pass (10,424 ft.) before descending into Minturn and tackling the rolling
run toward the final climb to Beaver Creek. Passing through the 2011 start city of
Avon, the peloton will be faced by a stiff 2.5-mile climb that rises almost 1,000
ft. to the ski resort of Beaver Creek. Although not the fiercest climb on the route,
the finale is sure to produce exciting racing, especially among those fighting for
the overall lead.
How to Watch the 2012 USA Pro Challenge
Fans can view the race on the daily NBC Sports Network and NBC broadcasts. Stage 4
will air live on NBC Sports tomorrow at 2 p.m. MT.
In addition to the broadcast, fans can follow the 2012 USA Pro Challenge with the
RadioShack Tour Tracker. Available on the race website, as well as through a free
download on iTunes and Google Play, the Tour Tracker includes:
* Live video coverage of every stage
* Up-to-the-minute text updates during the race
* GPS tracking and interactive maps
* Daily results and overall standings
* Photo feed from the race
* Stage previews, including overviews, maps and profiles
* Team and rider listings
For full results, archived footage, GPS data, course information, race play-by-play
and more, please visit the official race website
About the USA Pro Challenge
For seven consecutive days, the world's top athletes race through the majestic
Colorado Rockies, reaching higher altitudes than they've ever had to endure as they
ascend over three mountain passes, each exceeding 12,000 ft. in elevation. After
attracting more than 1 million spectators in 2011, making it one of the largest
cycling events in U.S. history, the USA Pro Challenge is back for 2012. Featuring a
challenging, 683-mile course with more than 42,000 ft. of vertical climbing, the
second annual race will spotlight the best of the best in professional cycling and
some of America's most beautiful scenery.
Referred to as "America's Race," the USA Pro Challenge will take place August 20-26,
2012, a week proclaimed by Governor John Hickenlooper as "Colorado Cycling Holiday,"
and travel through 12 host cities from Durango to Denver. More information can be
found online at
www.USAProCyclingChallenge.com<http://www.usaprocyclingchallenge.com/> and on
Twitter at @USAProChallenge<http://twitter.com/#!/usaprochallenge>.