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Cannondale’s Elia Viviani sprinted to victory in Colorado Springs in stage 4 of the USA Pro Challenge.
But that wasn’t the day’s big story. Instead, aging breakaway artist Jens Voigt (Trek Factory Racing) stole the spotlight with a 27-mile solo attack that lasted nearly long enough for him to survive for a win.
As the peloton waffled in their efforts to chase the 42-year-old leader, the gap grew.
After the final circuit in the Garden of the Gods, it looked like Voigt might have hung on to win a stage in his farewell race.
The gap slowly began to drop from 1:25, to down below one minute, to 20 seconds with a couple miles remaining. But as Voigt tackled the final rise before the final kilometer, the peloton had him in its grasp.
The lone leader was overtaken in the last kilometer of racing, Viviani showed his sprinting class, sprinting to his first major win since June’s Tour of Slovenia.
“Oh it’s difficult to close with Jens,” said Viviani. “He’s a strong man, he’s a legend man. It’s ever difficult to close [him down when he is away].”
Another big break goes early
A breakaway of 12 riders made their move only moments after the stage officially began.
Their gap grew as large as four minutes.
Along the way, Ben Jacques-Maynes (Jamis-Hagens Berman) reclaimed the king of the mountains (KOM) jersey, winning three intermediate climbs in the Garden of the Gods.
As for the intermediate sprints, UnitedHealthcare’s Danny Summerhill took charge. A fixture in this Pro Challenge’s breakaways, the Coloradan earned maximum points on the first and second trips through Colorado Springs. With that, he momentarily surpassed his teammate Kiel Reijnen, who led the green jersey competition at the start of the day.
Heading into the final half of the race, a combination of Garmin-Sharp and UnitedHealthcare rode at the front of the peloton to keep the gap manageable, around 2:20.
With 27 miles to go, just before the third KOM sprint, Voigt attacked as his teammate Laurent Didier sat on the front. Jacques-Maynes followed, won the KOM sprint, then drifted back to the chasers, who were about 20 seconds behind.
Voigt pressed on alone through the punchy, curvy roads in the Garden of the Gods.
A nail-biting pursuit
With 20 miles to go, the 42-year-old had a one minute gap over the chase group. The peloton was 2:45 behind the lead.
The field caught the remainder of the chase with about 11 miles to go, at the base of the steep climb up Ridge Road to the KOM line. At that point, Voigt’s lead had fallen to 1:25.
Robbie Squire attacked the field after the KOM, with 9.5 miles to go. But he only dangled off the front, eventually being brought back by a peloton driven by Tinkoff-Saxo, Garmin-Sharp, and Cannondale.
With around five miles left, Frank Schleck and Laurent Didier moved to the front, disrupting the chase for their teammate in the lead. The gap was 55 seconds.
BMC moved to the front in the final miles, likely protecting Tejay van Garderen from danger.
However, most of the pacemaking was left to Cannondale in the finale.
For a few minutes, in the closing miles, it looked like Voigt would pull it off.
His gap dropped, but eventually it held steady around 20 seconds
On the final rise into the right-hand bend that introduced the last kilometer of racing, the peloton had the leader in its sights.
With 750 meters left, the peloton pushed past the intrepid German, led by SmartStop.
The sprint’s impetus came from a leadout by Hincapie Sportswear Development’s Tyler Magner. Elia Viviani (Cannondale) was tight on his wheel and made a decisive jump, not to be challenged as he rode to his first win at this year’s USA Pro Challenge.
“After these three stages … it’s very difficult with the altitude,” said Viviani. “The first stage we worked all day, and we got nothing. Today, we did the perfect tactic, and in the last lap made strong work for the first victory for Cannondale.
“This is the last race for Jens, but I think he is the same as a young rider, same as a first [year] pro rider. Always he [is] the dangerous man. … Every day he go to the breakaway and attack. I [am] proud for Jens.”
Martin Kohler (BMC) finished second, and Serghei Tvetcov (Jelly Belly) sprinted to third, a surprising result from a rider who rode to the same placing in Wednesday’s mountain stage.
The GC standings remained unchanged, with van Garderen holding his lead over Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Ben Hermans (BMC).
Friday’s stage 5 will take the riders on a 104-mile ride from Woodland Park to Breckenridge.
The post Viviani wins Pro Challenge stage 4, thwarting Voigt’s solo heroics appeared first on VeloNews.com.
- I meant to post this earlier in the week, sorry it is long overdue.
During the Cat 3 race on Saturday night, I flatted with about 18 laps to go. I had left my spare wheels in the car, and the flat was not fixable (large sidewall blowout). To help me keep racing, one of the pit mechanics (whose name I forgot because I'm kind of a jerk I guess) loaned me his personal Zipp so I could keep racing. On a technical course. In the dark. While it was starting to rain.
That was totally above and beyond and I just wanted to add a public thanks for your generosity. I of course crashed out 10 laps later because I suck at riding my bike, but c'est la vie. You're a solid guy.
- In our interview last year with Rachel Lloyd, just before the 2014 National Championships in Boulder, she recounted memories of her biggest challenges in her ... The post Throwback Thursday: Alison Dunlap’s 1999 Nationals Victory appeared first on Cyclocross Magazine - Cyclocross News, Races,...
...view the full story & post your comments at our site: http://cxmagazine.com
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Editor’s Note: This video is courtesy of Global Cycling Network. The opinions expressed in this video do not necessarily represent the opinions of VeloNews.com, Velo magazine or the editors and staff of Competitor Group, Inc.
- Santa Cruz Demo at Castle Wood State park. Saturday August 23rd 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Pavilion #1
Santacruzbicycles.com/en/us/demo-tour for more details or call 636 534 8080.
- Jack Maddux (Fresno, Calif./Hot Tubes Development Cycling Team) continued his hot streak in Belgian kermesses with the USA Cycling National Development Program (NDP), taking a win and a second-place finish at the Hoelenden-Kortenaken and Herentals, respectively.