Montrose to Crested Butte 99.2 miles

General Classification Race Begins to Form
Nibali animates while Van Garderen takes the lead

Two days in to the USA Pro Cycling Challenge and the race has started to resemble the Tour de France. After a high-speed start, a big break formed and stayed away into the final few kilometers, with the race result in question until the end. This time, the stage was the 99.2-mile road from Montrose to Mount Crested Butte.

Another part of the recipe is Vincenzo Nibali. The Liquigas-Cannondale Italian again was an essential component of the day's breakaway. This time, the group was only twelve, with Nibali's teammate Valerio Agnoli among the escapees. With 66 miles remaining, the gap was over six minutes, the largest lead of the day. With only 25 miles remaining, the break was losing cooperation, and a series of attacks shook out the weaker riders, including Agnoli. The remaining nine looked like they could stay away to the finish until in the final miles, cooperation again broke down. It was going to be close.

On the climb into Mount Crested Butte, the break started attacking each other, while the oversize crowds lining the road narrowed the race space and increased confusion. Out of the chaos, the break, including Nibali, was absorbed and BMC's Tejay Van Garderen and Garmin-Sharp's Christian Vande Velde leapt away from everybody. The two rode uncontested to the finish with Van Garderen out kicking Vande Velde to take the stage victory and the race lead, though tied on time with Vande Velde

Behind, Damiano Caruso showed that his strong finish of yesterday was no fluke; finishing ninth on the day and dropping down to sixth, a good ride when you see that most everyone else who finished alongside him yesterday lost time on the uphill finish today. He's only twelve seconds off the leader's pace.

Nibali clearly has good legs and is intent on using them. "I tried to animate the stage in the break. We worked a lot today and I'm a little bit disappointed for the result because the group caught us only at the end. Anyway, everything is going well for me." Caruso is equally pleased with his form and marking the strong men of the race." My plan in the morning was to maintain a good position on GC. The condition is good, even if stages here in Colorado are really hard. In the finale, I decided to not force the pace on the climb and follow Van Garderen and Vande Velde also because their rhythm was really high." Both are looking ahead to continue making a difference on the road to Denver.

Tomorrow's ride, Stage Three, from Gunnison to Aspen, is the "Queen Stage" of the race. This is bike racing lingo for the longest stage, and at 130 miles over two 12,000-foot passes, and taking in 14 miles of dirt road, it will take several hours to complete. It presents opportunities to those riding well, and pain to those lacking form. The race will probably splinter on the second big climb of the day, Independence Pass, and the leaders over the summit will then face 20 miles of descending before finishing in downtown Aspen. This finish will probably produce the first breakaway of the race, and the winner will probably come from a small group. Perfect for Nibali, who climbs and descends incredibly well on his Cannodale SuperSix EVO.

Stage 2 Results-Montrose to Crested Butte—99.2mi
1, Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 3:52:24
2. Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin - Sharp Same Time
3. Ivan Rovny (Rus) RusVelo 0:00:06
4. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 0:00:08
5. Ramiro Rincon Diaz (Col) EPM - Une Same Time

Stage 2 Liquigas-Cannondale
9. Damiano Caruso (Ita) 0:00:12
22. Timothy Duggan (USA) 0:00:21
46. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) 0:01:23
49. Moreno Moser (Ita) 0:01:43
57. Edward King (USA) 0:02:12
61. Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita) 0:03:22
88. Ivan Basso (Ita) 0:04:58
106. Valerio Agnoli (Ita) Same Time

Overall Standings
1. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 8:35:12
2. Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin - Sharp Same Time
3. Ivan Rovny (Rus) RusVelo 0:00:06
4. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 0:00:08
5. Ramiro Rincon Diaz (Col) EPM - Une Same Time
6. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:12

Overall Liquigas-Cannondale
21. Timothy Duggan (USA) 0:00:21
46. Edward King (USA) 0:02:44
47. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) 0:03:09
51. Paolo Longo Borghini (Ita) 0:03:22
70. Moreno Moser (Ita) 0:14:26
79. Ivan Basso (Ita) 0:17:41
109. Valerio Agnoli (Ita) 0:20:20