USA Pro Cycling Challenge 2013 Stage 6
Loveland to Fort Collins 185.4km


The sixth stage of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, on paper at least, offered up the last chance for a reshuffling at the top of the general classification leader board. The 185.4km race from Loveland to Fort Collins saw another day of heavy climbing, with the longest climb topping out halfway through the race and then leaving a series of rolling hills to the finish.

Cannondale Pro Cycling had two possibilities for the day. One was helping launch Damiano Caruso into an escape on a climb to see him shoot for a top ten finish. The other was controlling the pace to set up Peter Sagan for another sprint victory.

The terrain looked challenging on paper, but in reality, aided by a tailwind, made the stage fast. Like over 33mph fast for the opening miles. The obligatory day-long escape eventually formed with 158km remaining. Fifteen riders from several teams got in the move. None were threats to the overall lead of BMC's Tejay Van Garderen, none were threats to Sagan's Green Jersey as points leader, and none were threats to take over the King of the Mountain lead from Jamis/Hagens-Berman's Matt Cooke. So the break was given its freedom.

But not by much. The gap rarely went over two minutes, thanks to steady pace-making by Cannondale. And when Garmin-Sharp's Lachlan Morton attacked shortly after the halfway point, he brought out Sagan, and the danger man's move rippled through the peloton, which quickly chased them down.

As the kilometers ticked off, the gap slowly closed down. Finally, with the gap under 90 seconds, and 30km remaining, the breakaway started attacking to shed the dead weight. Four emerged. Thomas Dekker of Garmin-Sharp, Josh Edmondson of Sky, Javier Megias of Novo Nordisk, and Michael Rogers of Saxo-Tinkoff Bank.

The field, led by a hungry Cannondale squad, was splintering on the rises. The pace was still over 28mph. As Cannondale riders tired, they were replaced by BMC riders. Into the final five kilometers, only Megias and Rogers remained. With three kilometers, the two were done.

With Cannondale largely burned out by the fury of their chase, there was confusion at the front. Riders attacked only to be brought back. Argos-Shimano finally came to the front for their sprinter Luka Mezgec. And then Saxo's Rory Sutherland attacked just before the final turn. Argos surged. But Sagan capitalized on their effort and burst past their train, past Sutherland, and to another stage victory with Mezgec on his wheel.

Sagan, after the finish, thought of his teammates first. "I want to dedicate this victory to my teammate, Fabio Sabatini, who crashed the other day and is still in the hospital. I also want to give a 'thank you' for all my teammates. They did very good work all day. Everyone from my team did their best. It's hard bringing back fifteen riders. After we take back the breakaway, maybe in the last 10km, then for the sprint, I didn't have riders from my team. I was hoping for another team to ride for the finish. We were going so fast, it was hard for anyone to get away."

Tomorrow, the riders will tackle a circuit race in Denver for the seventh and final stage of the race. The flat 14.65km (9mi) will be covered eight times for 117.9km (73mi). It's a course that favors Cannondale Pro Cycling's Peter Sagan, and should give him an opportunity to close out the race with a stage win in the Green Jersey for his fourth win of the race.

USA Pro Cycling Challenge 2013
Stage 6 Loveland to Fort Collins


Stage Results

1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale Pro Cycling      in       4:01:33            
2. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team Argos-Shimano             at         same time       
3. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team                    same time
4. Edwin Avila (Col) Colombia                                               same time
5. Alessandro Bazzana (Ita) UnitedHealthcare                        same time


Stage Results Cannondale Pro Cycling

21. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling    same time
57. Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling       0:00:17           
85. Edward King (USA) Cannondale Pro Cycling      0:05:33
92.Juraj Sagan (Svk) Cannondale Pro Cycling                       0:07:13           
99. Nariyuki Masuda (Jpn) Cannondale Pro Cycling same time
105.Davide Villella (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling                   same time


General Classification

1. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team                  20:11:33           
2. Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing Team                            0:01:30             
3. Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin-Sharp                           0:01:42             
4. Janier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Jamis-Hagens Berman 0:02:43             
5. Lachlan David Morton (Aus) Garmin-Sharp                       0:03:07             


General Classification Cannondale Pro Cycling

14. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling                0:04:32           
39. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale Pro Cycling                      0:19:46           
46. Davide Villella (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling                    0:23:46
68. Edward King (USA) Cannondale Pro Cycling                  0:36:40           
78. Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling       0:39:15           
86. Juraj Sagan (Svk) Cannondale Pro Cycling                      0:42:18           
87. Nariyuki Masuda (Jpn) Cannondale Pro Cycling             same time


Points Competition

1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale Pro Cycling                 55         pts
2. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team                    34         
3. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team Argos-Shimano                          24         
4. Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing Team                            15         
5. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team                  13