USA Pro Cycling Challenge 2013 Stage 7
Denver Circuit Race 117.6km
Not that a breakaway had much chance. With Cannondale Pro Cycling believing in Green Jersey Peter Sagan's chances, they had little reason to let a breakaway go. Likewise, the BMC team of race leader Tejay Van Garderen wanted a safe ride as well as the chance to set up their sprinter Greg Van Avermaet up for a run at a stage victory. And the Argos-Shimano team fancied the chances of their sprinter Luka Mezgec.
But nothing is inevitable in bike racing. As soon as the race got underway, Ben King of RadioShack attacked. He drew out six other riders: Christopher Juul Jensen (Saxo-Tinkoff Bank), Chun Kai Feng (Champion-System), David Riba (Novo Nordisk), Lucas Euser (UnitedHealthcare), Tyler Wren (Jamis/Hagens-Berman), and Carson Miller (Jamis/Hagens-Berman). They quickly raced to a one-minute lead.
That one minute might not seem like much, but for Lucas Euser, it was the difference between fifteenth place, where he started today, and finishing in the top ten overall. But every rider in the break had reason to ride; stage glory would make the season for each rider.
But one minute was all the Cannondale-led field wanted to give. The entire team, save Sagan, rode a team time trial to insure the gap didn't grow. And as the kilometers ticked off, Argos, BMC, and Team Colombia, contributed to the chase.
With 32km remaining and the gap down to 45 seconds, Wren attacked. Euser countered and rode right by the Jamis rider. Euser, a small climber, cranked out impressive power, soloing ahead of two chasers for nine kilometers (5.6mi) while the rest of the break disintegrated. Then Miller and King joined up. But the three only had 30 seconds on the field.
As the leading three came into the finishing straight ending their penultimate circuit, the field caught the escape. The four teams that had contributed to the chase down also kept at the front to keep the pace high for the final lap. The pace was so high, no one tried attacking.
Going into the final kilometer, Van Garderen picked up the pace on behalf of his teammate Van Avermaet. But into the final corner, Sagan was in third position, sitting behind two of his teammates. Just as the sprint was looking like a formality, Ryan Anderson of Optum jumped early. Sagan kept his composure, launched his sprint when he was ready, and blew past the Canadian with 50 meters remaining for an easy victory.
The win, his fourth of the race, gave him a huge 30-point gap in the points competition over second-placed Van Avermaet. Great results. But not expected. After the finish, Sagan reported, "I am surprised and also very happy. I thank my teammates for their very good work on the front every day."
The third USA Pro Cycling Challenge is complete. Cannondale Pro Cycling's Peter Sagan put in a dominating performance, with four stage victories, a record for the young race. He and his teammates will take a break before resuming racing. They'll be back soon. They have teammates racing at the Vuelta a España, and many from the Colorado squad will be back in action in Canada shortly, first in Alberta, then in Quebec. The pro road season continues to November and Cannondale Pro Cycling will be wherever people are racing bikes fast.
USA Pro Cycling Challenge 2013
Stage 7 Denver Circuit Race
1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale Pro Cycling 2:27:15
2. Ryan Anderson (Can) Optum p/b KBS same time
3. Alessandro Bazzana (Ita) UnitedHealthcare same time
4. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team Argos-Shimano same time
5. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team same time
Stage Results Cannondale Pro Cycling
12. Damiano Caruso (Ita) same time
38. Davide Villella (Ita) same time
46. Juraj Sagan (Svk) same time
63. Edward King (USA) 0:00:26
83. Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) 0:00:50
87. Nariyuki Masuda (Jpn) 0:01:29
Final General Classification
1.Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 22:38:48
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 0:02:10
5. Lachlan David Morton (Aus) Garmin-Sharp 0:02:34
Final General Classification Cannondale Pro Cycling
14. Damiano Caruso (Ita) 0:04:32
38. Peter Sagan (Svk) 0:19:46
44. Davide Villella (Ita) 0:23:46
64. Edward King (USA) 0:37:06
73. Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) 0:40:05
78. Juraj Sagan (Svk) 0:42:18
84. Nariyuki Masuda (Jpn) 0:43:47
Final Points Competition
1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale Pro Cycling 70 pts
2. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 40
3. Luka Mezgec (Slo) Team Argos-Shimano 31
4. Alessandro Bazzana (Ita) UnitedHealthcare 22
5. Ryan Anderson (Can) Optum p/b KBS 22