19 August 2014

ProChallenge reports from the road Stage 2 - Aspen to Crested Butte

Aspen to Mt Crested Butte Road Race (Mud Race)

Stage 2 of the 2014 USA Pro Challenge departed Aspen through Carbondale over McClure Pass to take on the dirt road of Kebler Pass. Finally descending through the town of Crested Butte the peloton climbed to Mt Crested Butte for a short mountain top finish.

But a lot happened in between!

News from Steephill.TV about the mayhem of Stage 2:
Confusion in Coloradocyclingnews
Race is neutralized with just 11 Km remaining in Stage 2 (05:06 English)nbcsports
Alex Howes upset about the neutralization Post-Stage 2 (01:51 English) nbcsports

I feel terrible for what the pro riders went through today. Strange thing is I was speaking with the Race Radio official next to her car this morning in Aspen, we started chatting about the weather and she said they would neutralize the race on the pass if the weather was bad as expected, then begin the riders again at their time gaps. My response was, "Well, either the rain will make it less dusty or really muddy, but these are pro riders with really good bike handling skills." I doubted it was necessary.

It is a pretty amazing sight to watch the video clips above and see the large pack of riders begin to "argue their point" with the race official who held the race up AFTER they had descended. They simply wanted to race. We can only imagine how awful it must have been to wait 5 to 7 minutes, soaked and freezing on the open road, for the officials to recreate the race and allow them to proceed a short 8+km, 5km down to seal in the cold, then a sharp uphill to the finish. Just take a look of Tejay van Garderen shivering on the podium after the stage, it'll break your heart.

Race Organizers printed in their post race media release recap, "No. 1 priority is the riders’ safety." I believe the problem was the poor orchestration of their intention for safety.

I suppose we can find some happiness in these quotes by Robin Carpenter, "This win is huge for us and for me personally it’s massive – the best ride I’ve had in my short career so far," and by Alex Howes, "This is my second yellow jersey ever. First was Estes Park Stage Race. Cat 4," (via @PhilGaimon).

And Phil's own tweet after the day ...


Stage 2 Results

First - Robin Carpenter (USA) of Hincapie Sportswear Development Team
Second - Alex Howes (USA) of Team Garmin-Sharp
Third - Tejay van Garderen (USA) of BMC Racing Team

GC Standings

First - Alex Howes (USA) of Team Garmin-Sharp
Second - Ben Hermans (BEL) of BMC Racing Team
Third - Tejay van Garderen (USA) of BMC Racing Team

Jersey Winners

Yellow Jersey – Alex Howes (USA) of Team Garmin-Sharp
Green Jersey – Kiel Reijnen (USA) of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team
Polka Dot Mountains Jersey – Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA) of Jamis-Hagens Berman
Blue Best Young Rider Jersey – Clement Chevrier (FRA) of BissellDT FirstBank
Orange Most Aggressive Jersey – Robin Carpenter (USA) of Hincapie Sportswear DT
Colorado National Guard Best Colorado Rider Jersey – Alex Howes (USA) of Team Garmin-Sharp
General Classification after Stage 2 (courtesy of Steephill.TV)
USA  1  HOWES, Alex (GARMIN SHARP)                           6:44:00
BEL  2  HERMANS, Ben (BMC RACING)                             +   11
USA  3  VAN GARDEREN, Tejay (BMC RACING)                      +   12
USA  4  BUSCHE, Matthew (TREK FACTORY RACING)                
USA  5  DANIELSON, Thomas (GARMIN SHARP)                      +   21
USA  6  KYER, Julian (TEAM SMARTSTOP)                         +   25
MDA  8  TVETCOV, Serghei (JELLY BELLY P/B MAXXIS)             +   29
CAN  10 BRITTON, Rob (TEAM SMARTSTOP)                        
POL  11 HUZARSKI, Bartosz (NETAPP - ENDURA)                  
POL  13 MAJKA, Rafal (TINKOFF-SAXO)                           +   32
GER  14 VOIGT, Jens (TREK FACTORY RACING)                     +   39
USA  15 BOOKWALTER, Brent (BMC RACING)                        +   52
ESP  16 MEGIAS LEAL, Javier (NOVO NORDISK)                    + 1:22
POR  17 PIRES, Bruno (TINKOFF-SAXO)                          
USA  18 PUTT, Tanner (BISSELL DEVELOPMENT TEAM)              
AUS  19 NORRIS, Lachlan (DRAPAC)                              + 1:23
USA  21 GAIMON, Phillip (GARMIN SHARP)                        + 1:31
USA  22 STETINA, Peter (BMC RACING)                           + 1:34
GER  23 ZEPUNTKE, Ruben (BISSELL DEVELOPMENT TEAM)            + 1:36
AUT  24 ZOIDL, Riccardo (TREK FACTORY RACING)                 + 1:38
COL  25 ACEVEDO COLLE, Janier Alexis (GARMIN SHARP)           + 1:54
USA  26 REIJNEN, Kiel (UNITEDHEALTHCARE)                      + 2:11

Riders dropping out
82 BEL 19910724 DE MESMAEKER Kevin (Team Novo Nordisk)
94 USA 19901201 BERRY Joshua (Team SmartStop)
118 NZL 19950112 WHITEHOUSE Daniel (Team Rapha Condor JLT)


This morning was a cool calm cloudy morning in Aspen. It drizzled rain for a bit, but the Tuesday morning weather seemed to quiet the mood at the Stage Start on Main St in Aspen. It put me in the mood to grab a latte and say hello to friends I know inside the race network of staff and support.

This morning, I also carried my "small camera", a Pentax K5 with a Pentax SMCP-FA 43mm f/1.9 Limited Series lens. This lens allows me to move around quickly and not feel like my big long lens is in the way of the riders or other photogs. I like it for stage starts and cyclocross, when subjects are up close and personal. Its fixed focal range also removes almost all need for editing, saving tons of time.

This evening I had fun tweeting a bunch of photos from my day in Aspen. You can see them on Twitter at @karenrake or I will simply add them right here for your enjoyment ...

Phil Gaimon and Manual for Speed - selfie
Tejay all smiles and warm in the morning
James Oram and Ruben Zepuntke of Bissell Development Team
Lots of sign language going on at call ups
Jens Voigt
Clement Chevrier
The one and only - Danny Summerhill!
Kiel Reijnen being interviewed by Dave Towle
Jens Voigt and his Farewell Fans jersey
Ted King and Alex Howes scouted out the Press Tent pre race
Whitney Rogers and Rafal Majka
Ted King waiting for the start
poser Thomas Dekker
A clean Alex Howes in the morning, before he traded in his green jersey for a yellow one.
And this photo from yesterday - the legs of Eric Marcotte and Fränk Schleck

The peloton rolls out of Aspen to begin Stage 2
That moment of great unknown when any rider could win the stage. Today's winner was tucked in over on the right side.


Stage 3 activities and schedule for the day:
Wednesday, August 20, 2014, Gunnison to Monarch Mountain

WEDNESDAY, STAGE 3 : 96 miles Stage 3 Map PDF  Stage 3 Profile PDF
Gunnison to Monarch Mountain (climbing both sides) with 2 loops near Salida; mountain top finish on Monarch Pass from the east side.

Stage 3 Start time: 11:25am
Stage 3 Finish time: 3:50pm
State Highways Impacted: SH 135, US 50, US28,  USA Pro Challenge Road Closures 2014
Stage 3 Timetable.pdf 

GUNNISON - SALIDA - MONARCH MTN - Wednesday, Stage 3
Wednesday: 9:30-12:30pm - Festival in Gunnison
Wednesday: 11:30-5:00pm - Big Festival on Monarch Mountain Pass
Wednesday: 11:25am - Stage 3 Start in Gunnison
Wednesday: 3:50pm - Stage 3 Finish (mountain top finish on Monarch Pass!)
Best viewing: Start line in Gunnison, Monarch Pass, sprint in Salida

Weather: scattered rain showers 12pm-6pm

2014 USA Pro Challenge - Stage 3 route map

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