Golden to Boulder-103 miles
Sutherland Takes Stage, Overall Shaken Up
As Timmy Duggan shines before his hometown crowd
With the final road stage ahead of them, including a few passes through cycling-mad Boulder, home to Timmy Duggan and many in the race, and finishing atop Flagstaff Mountain, there was no chance anyone would let the Golden to Boulder stage go down easy. And at 103 miles with 13,000 feet of climbing in this sixth stage of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, everyone who finished would have seriously tenderized legs by the end.
Liquigas-Cannondale's Timmy Duggan is a Boulder native. He's been riding with good legs throughout the race, but deliberately sat up before yesterday's stage finish in order to lose some time. This choice was made because he didn't see himself winning the overall, and the time lost would allow him to attack early without drawing the attention of the field. His goal was to win atop Flagstaff, a climb he's ridden for years.
Attack early he did. He got into a 13-rider move with teammate Paolo Longo Borghini and the field let them go. This meant the team was sacrificing Damiano Caruso's chance to win back the points jersey, as that jersey would be decided today, but Caruso was still a threat for the overall. The move gained five minutes in the first 40 miles before the BMC team of overall leader Tejay Van Garderen started to bring them back.
The break shrunk in size and the lead dwindled until they hit the final climb where attacking riders blew the breakaway to pieces. German Jens Voigt of RadioShack-Nissan began the festivities while Rory Sutherland of UnitedHealthcare, an Australian who calls Boulder home, rode past everyone into the lead. Behind them, the best climbers in the race came to the fore and started attacking each other.
Vincenzo Nibali, an animator all race, was lurking with the top climbers, and put in a vicious attack, hoping he'd finally get the stage win he's been seeking all week. Brought back: and Levi Leipheimer of Omega-Pharma Quickstep took his chances. Leipheimer, the race's defending champion has been only a handful of seconds behind the race lead all week even though most experts had written off his chances for overall victory.
Leipheimer piled on the pressure, making his way through most of the day's remaining breakaway riders. Sutherland took the win. Leipheimer passed Duggan in the final few hundred meters, crossing the line 45 seconds behind Sutherland in fourth place and seven seconds ahead of Duggan. Ten seconds behind Duggan came Garmin-Sharp's Christian Vande Velde, who led in four riders, with Nibali taking ninth on the day.
Duggan, a professional since 2005, was ecstatic over not just his result, but also the entire day. "Ever since they announced this route for USAPCC going through boulder, I was looking forward to this stage. These are the roads I train on. I had an idea in my head as to how the race would play out. I got into the break today. I had my teammate there to help me out. It was an incredible day. Definitely one of the highlights of my career and ending up on top five on the day--I was happy with that. I rode a great race with help from my teammate Paolo, and at the end, only a few guys were stronger."
The finish shook up the race. Leipheimer pulled on the race leader's jersey, with a nine-second lead over Vande Velde. Van Garderen is now in third 21 seconds down on Leipheimer. Caruso lost 1:28 on the day and dropped one place from ninth to tenth overall.
Tomorrow, a time trial in downtown Denver makes up the race's final stage. It's relatively short at 9.5 miles, fairly flat, and not terribly technical. It probably favors a larger rider who can get into an aero position on his time trial bike and can pour out the watts. At the same time, several of the racers in the top ten are strong time trialists, and if they have good legs, have the opportunity to both win the final stage and take the overall race lead. The top thirteen riders in the standings are all within a minute of the Yellow Jersey, so chances are we'll see another reshuffling by the day's end. Caruso is 52 second down, so he's in with a shot, but he'll need a great ride to win. Nibali is a top time trialist, but at 5:40 down, even if he wins the stage, he still can't win the race.
Stage 6 Results-Golden to Boulder-103miles
1. Rory Sutherland (Aus) UnitedHealthcare 4:06:12
2. Fabio Aru (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:20
3. Jens Voigt (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan 0:00:26
4. Levi Leipheimer (USA) OmegaPharma-Quickstep 0:00:45
5. Timothy Duggan(USA)Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:52
Stage 6 Liquigas-Cannondale
9. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) 0:01:02
16. Damiano Caruso (Ita) 0:01:16
54. Moreno Moser (Ita) 0:06:19
56. Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita) 0:06:56
72. Valerio Agnoli (Ita) 0:13:41
73. Ivan Basso (Ita) Same Time
1.Levi Leipheimer (USA) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 25:39:50
2. Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin - Sharp 0:00:09
3. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:21
4. Joseph Lloyd Dombrowski (USA) Bontrager Livestrong Same Time
5. Ramiro Rincon Diaz (Col) EPM - Une 0:00:22
10. Damiano Caruso (Ita) 0:00:52
22. Timothy Duggan (USA) 0:02:37
29. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) 0:05:40
41. Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita) 0:20:01
58. Moreno Moser (Ita) 0:35:50
72. Valerio Agnoli (Ita) 0:54:33
77. Ivan Basso (Ita) 1:01:13
1. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin - Sharp 33pts
2. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 25
3. Alessandro Bazzana (Ita) Team Type 1 - Sanofi 22
4. Serghei Tvetcov (Mda) Team Exergy 19
5. Jens Voigt (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan 18