22 August 2014

Pro Challenge reports from the road Stage 5 - Breckenridge

Racing through National Forest Lands in Colorado

Today the USA Pro Challenge crossed the valleys and rivers in the land of the fourteeners. Those high mountains that reach above 14,000 feet in elevation. It can make a pack of even the best pro riders feel small in comparison. Today many of those high peaks were also shrouded in clouds. It rained again in Colorado today (although very lightly in Breckenridge), it is going to rain more tomorrow - on the individual time trial. For some but not for all riders, which should make finish times inconsistent, which means luck is a big factor for tomorrow. .

The local Colorado rule of off the summit by 1pm should apply to a bike race if they want to avoid the typical weather patterns all Rocky Mountain cyclists know all too well. It rains in the afternoon here (very rarely all day). But television broadcasting schedules rule the roost and determine start and finish times, and then the storms come and television is unable to broadcast due to the weather and the world doesn't get to see our spectacular landscape - darn it.

Stage 5 crossed magnificent Rocky Mountain Colorado scenery from Woodland Park, west of Colorado Springs, across the newly pave Terryall Rd and Hoosier Pass (highest point in this stage race at 11,550ft and a low 49 degrees when the peloton hit the summit) into beautiful Breckenridge, Colorado.

It is tough to begin a race in the rain but today the riders had to do just that. The break took three attempts to finally stick. Thirteen rider were let go with BMC controlling the pace for much of the day. The lead pack began to break apart over Hoosier Pass when Laurent Didier was able to break free on the descent in a solo effort. Soon Britton, King and Acevedo joined him as these four entered Breckenridge. Didier attacked on the climb toward Boreas Pass and was able to hold his lead to the finish line. Ben King earned most aggressive rider jersey for the day, the other jerseys remained the same.


Stage 5 Results
First - Laurent Didier (LUX) of Trek Factory Racing
Second - Janier Acevedo (COL) of Team Garmin-Sharp
Third - Rob Britton (CAN) of Team SmartStop

Laurent Didier
Janier Acevedo (bottom) and Rob Britton (top)

GC Standings
First - Tejay van Garderen (USA) of BMC Racing Team
Second - Rafał Majka (POL) of Tinkoff-Saxo
Third - Serghei Tvetcov (ROM) of Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis

Jersey Winners
Leader Jersey – Tejay van Garderen (USA) of BMC Racing Team
Sprint Jersey – Kiel Reijnen (USA) of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team
King of the Mountains Jersey – Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA) of Jamis-Hagens Berman
Best Young Rider Jersey – Clement Chevrier (FRA) of Bissell Development Team
Most Aggressive Rider Jersey – Ben King (USA) of Team Garmin-Sharp
Best Colorado Rider Jersey – Tejay van Garderen (USA) of BMC Racing Team

Ben King today in orange
Yes Tejay is again in yellow, but I like this photo today - the Colorado National Guard Best Colorado Rider Jersey
Kiel Reijnen, Clement Chevrier, Tejay van Garderen, Ben Jacques-Maynes, Ben King
General Classification after Stage 5 (via Steephill.TV)
USA  1  VAN GARDEREN, Tejay (BMC RACING)                           16:55:56
POL  2  MAJKA, Rafal (TINKOFF-SAXO)                                 +    20
MDA  3  TVETCOV, Serghei (JELLY BELLY P/B MAXXIS)                   +    37
USA  4  DANIELSON, Thomas (GARMIN SHARP)                            +    39
USA  5  BUSCHE, Matthew (TREK FACTORY RACING)                       +    51

A nice photo of podium girl Heidi Golznig today


Today was a different kind of day, I got delayed leaving my home in Denver and was late arriving into Breckenridge which meant I hit traffic. I relearned why it is I always advise to go early to a stage, ugh. Lots of people were gathering in Breckenridge and the city looked colorful and lively.

Water games in the river in Breckenridge before the race arrived in town
The town waits

I walked by the VIP tent and noticed the mayor of Breckenridge, calling out to him, I introduced myself and asked if I could take his photo

Mayor John Warner has been Mayor of Breckenridge since 2008, he is a Dentist serving the small-town community since 1981.
Happy VIP people in Breckenridge where I heard they served Filet Mignon

I met more friendly fans in the festival area and up the first section of the climb in the town of Breckenridge.

I am hoping they were watching Tour Tracker!
Jens everywhere you look
Friendly Fans on Wellington Rd
Then a bike race came by ...

The breakaway finally climbs Wellington Rd, with a gorilla
The race Leaders in Breckenridge
The peloton hits the climb

Did you know that Marcel van Garderen's Dad drives the Medical Moto in this race? Yes that is Marcel driving (with a big smile!).

Marcel van Garderen

The area just after the finish line is a really interesting routine, where soigneurs wait to great their riders after a hard race. Today it was to offer clean dry warm clothing.

This BMC Soigneur happens to be Kate Ochowicz-Hogan, the team's Marketing Director
Here UHC staff Soigneurs rush to help Kiel Reijnen change and get warm immediately after the finish
The hectic area after the finish line where riders, soigneurs and fans merge into one mass
After getting in the way of an approaching moto in the extended finish line area, and feeling like an idiot, I had a horrible experience trying to struggle through (and feeling awful for trying to push my way through) the jam-packed crowd to get to the photographers designated pen in front of the podium stage to take photos. Ugh.

But it was worth getting there to see The Jensie's new look. The town of Breckenridge gifted him with a free vacation to Tiger Run Resort for he and his large family, presented by the town Mayor (featured above).

Could be a new trend
The rain meant lots of washing of bikes and buses after the stage
The BMC bus gets washed
Every bike had to be washed by the mechanics post race

I visited with the Mavic Men. Did you know that between these 9 men they have 100 years of experience in support service.
The Mavic Men working to clean and store their wheels for the next day
They do this every day


Start order (start list) of riders for the time trial in Vail, Stage 6 USA Pro Challenge, Saturday
2014 Pro Challenge Stage 6 Time Trial Start Order.pdf

The riders go off at 1 minute intervals until the final 20 riders, who will go off at 2 minute intervals.
The course record from 2013 was Tejay's with a time of 25:01

Trek TT bikes waiting to be built. There will be no special custom painted time trial bike for Jensie tomorrow

Stage 6 activities and schedule for the day: 
Saturday, August 23, 2014, Vail ass Individual Time Trial!

SATURDAY, STAGE 6 : 10 miles Stage 6 Map PDF  Stage 6 Profile PDF
Individual Time Trial up Vail Pass bike path (same route as previous years).

Stage 6 Start time: 1:05pm
Stage 6 Finish time: 3:50pm
Stage 6 Timetable.pdf

State Highways Impacted: I-70,  USA Pro Challenge Road Closures 2014

VAIL - Saturday, Stage 6
Recommended road rides near Vail, Colorado
Saturday: 11:00-5:00pm - Festival in Vail Village 
Saturday: 11:30am - Road Closures
Saturday: 1:05pm - first racer, 3:50pm - last racer finishes
Saturday: 4:15pm - podium presentation in Vail Village
Best Viewing: Starting ramp in Vail Village, from the gate on Vail Pass bike path to the finish line near the top.

My tips on where and how to see the stage On the path of the 2014 USA Pro Challenge - Vail by Pedal Dancer®
2014 USA Pro Challenge - Stage 6 route map

USA PRO CHALLENGE  Race, travel and fan guide by Pedal Dancer®.