USA Pro Challenge: Danielson attacks into Aspen and Vande Velde takes yellow
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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

USA Pro Challenge: Danielson attacks into Aspen and Vande Velde takes yellow

by Ben Atkins at 5:40 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
Garmin-Barracuda on the attack again as the race crosses Independence Pass

Tom DanielsonTom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp) put high pressure on the yellow jersey of Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) as he attacked to take a lone stage victory in the third stage of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge between Gunnison and Aspen. The 34-year-old Colorado resident rode away from a small breakaway group on the long climb to Independence Pass, and managed to hold off the BMC Racing-led chase all the way down the descent to the finish line.

A lead of 1’49” proved to be just enough for Danielson as the yellow jersey group closed in on him in the final, flatter kilometres, as he crossed the line just two seconds ahead of a sprinting Damiano Caruso (Liquigas-Cannondale), who beat Jakob Fuglsang (RadioShack-Nissan) to second place.

“That was awesome! Since I’m a Colorado guy, there’s a lot of responsibility there,” said Danielson. “I’ve dreamed about going over Independence Pass and for it to come true the way it did is something I’ll never forget.”

Since Danielson started the 210km stage 12 seconds behind van Garderen - and since there were no time bonuses available on the line - his victory was not enough for him to take the overall race lead. Danielson’s Garmin-Sharp teammate Christian Vande Velde - the overnight second place - finished three places ahead of the 24-year-old however and, although both riders still shared the same time, Vande Velde took over the yellow jersey.

“I’m incredibly proud of the team and what we did today, and every day,” said Vande Velde. “Especially with how aggressive we’ve been. If nothing else, it has been a rewarding and fruitful experience.”

Danielson had been part of a seven-rider group, which formed on the climb to the 3696 metre unsurfaced Cottonwood pass. With the 34-year-old were Garmin-Sharp teammate Dave Zabriskie - who was in the break for the third straight day - Francisco Colorado (EPM-UNE), Jeff Louder (UnitedHealthcare), Fabio Aru (Astana), Jiao Pengda (Champion System) and Mike Friedman (Optum).

One by one the break fell back, until only Danielson and Colorado were left as they climbed Independence Pass; the American attacked with less that three kilometres to go, and managed to hold off the chase to the finish.

The USA Pro Cycling Challenge hits the big mountains again

The first attacks on the stage came in the very first kilometres as an 18-man group escaped, which included Friedman, Jiao, Aru and Louder. Also present was Francisco Colorado (EPM-UNE), who took the 3rd category climb of Taylor Park after 49.6km, three minutes ahead of the peloton.

On the long climb to Cottonwood Pass however, Danielson, Zabriskie and Colorado bridged across to the shifting break, and the seven-man group was formed as it neared the top. Jiao and Friedman were dropped on the climb, but Friedman managed to get back on the descent, after Colorado had sprinted for the points over the top.

Friedman was dropped again after the descent however, along with Aru, leaving Danielson, Zabriskie, Colorado and Louder. The group then shrank to just two as Zabriskie dropped as the climb to 3687 metre Independence Pass began and, with 55km Danielson pushed on, which soon got rid of Louder.

BMC Racing still leading the peloton, in steadily reducing numbers, but the gap to the two leaders was gradually closing. 6km from the top, as the climb began to get steeper, Vande Velde punctured, but got a spare wheel from Garmin-Sharp teammate Alex Howes and was able to get back up to the peloton without too many problems.

Lucas Euser (Spidertech p/b C10) attacked from the yellow jersey group, and was joined by Freddy Piamonte (EPM-UNE), which provoked no reaction from the peloton. While 2.5km from the top Danielson dropped Colorado and set off for the top alone.

Danielson crested the summit alone and began the long descent to the finish, just as Euser and Piamonte were picked up by what was left of the peloton behind him. First over the line meant that Danielson extended his lead in the red and white mountains jersey, but he was still very much on target to exchange it for the yellow one by the time he reached Aspen.

Van Garderen himself was now leading a very select group, and crossed the top of the climb 1’49” behind. The group began to re-expand as riders joined from behind, but was making very slow progress in closing in on Danielson up ahead. Colorado had been just 15 seconds behind the Garmin-Sharp rider over the climb, but he was picked up by the lead group with just under 20km to go.

Gradually, the gap was closing however, with the lone Danielson fighting to hold off a group that now numbered around 30 riders.

With 16km remaining it dropped under a minute, but the chase group was leaving the pursuit to van Garderen and BMC Racing teammate Mathias Frank to do all the work.

As the road began to level out with six kilometres to go Danielson’s lead was down to just 40 seconds, and it was closing steadily. At four kilometres this had dropped to 30 seconds, and it was just 15 as he entered the outskirts of Aspen.

Through the city streets the Garmin-Sharp rider was struggling to hold on, as Liquigas-Cannondale was now leading the charge behind him, but he had just a handful of seconds at the final kilometre banner. This was less than 100 metres as he hit the finishing straight but he just held out to take the victory, as Caruso sprinted to second behind him.

Although Vande Velde and van Garderen were still tied on time, the Garmin-Sharp rider’s better finishing positions overall gave him the yellow jersey as the two riders switched places.

Result stage 3
1, Thomas Danielson (Garmin - Sharp) 5 hours 2 mins 6 secs
2, Damiano Caruso (Liquigas-Cannondale) at 2 secs
3, Jakob Fuglsang (RadioShack-Nissan)
4, Gavin Mannion (Bontrager Livestrong Team)
5, Janez Brajkovic (Astana Pro Team)
6, Andreas Klöden (RadioShack-Nissan)
7, Javier Eduardo Gomez Pineda (EPM – Une)
8, Ivan Rovny (RusVelo)
9, Christian Vande Velde (Garmin – Sharp)
10, Christopher Baldwin (Bissell Cycling)
11, Roman Kreuziger (Astana Pro Team)
12, Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing Team)
13, George Bennett (RadioShack-Nissan)
14, Freddy Orlando Piamonte Rodriguez (EPM - Une)
15, Lucas Euser (Spidertech Powered By C10)
16, Ramiro Rincon Diaz (EPM - Une)
17, Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma-Quickstep)
18, Christopher Horner (RadioShack-Nissan)
19, Timothy Duggan (Liquigas-Cannondale)
20, Peter Stetina (Garmin - Sharp)
21, Matthew Busche (RadioShack-Nissan)
22, Mathias Frank (BMC Racing Team)
23, Joseph Lloyd Dombrowski (Bontrager Livestrong Team)
24, Rafael Infantino Abreu (EPM - Une)
25, Benjamin Day (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team)
26, Michael Creed (Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies)
27, Chris Butler (Champion System Pro Cycling Team) all same time
28, Eduard Alexander Beltran Suarez (EPM - Une) at 8 secs
29, Francisco Jarley Colorado Hernandez (EPM - Une) at 10 secs
30, Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) at 18 secs


1, Christian Vande Velde (Garmin – Sharp) 13 hours 37 mins 20 secs
2, Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing Team)
3, Ivan Rovny (RusVelo) at 6 secs
4, Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) at 8 secs
5, Ramiro Rincon Diaz (EPM - Une)
6, Thomas Danielson (Garmin - Sharp) at 10 secs
7, Damiano Caruso (Liquigas-Cannondale) at 12 secs
8, Janez Brajkovic (Astana Pro Team)
9, Christopher Horner (RadioShack-Nissan)
10, Lucas Euser (Spidertech Powered By C10
11, Matthew Busche (RadioShack-Nissan)
12, Peter Stetina (Garmin - Sharp)
13, Joseph Lloyd Dombrowski (Bontrager Livestrong Team)
14, Andreas Klöden (RadioShack-Nissan) at 17 secs
15, Jakob Fuglsang (RadioShack-Nissan) at mins 19 secs
16, Gavin Mannion (Bontrager Livestrong Team) at 21 secs
17, Freddy Orlando Piamonte Rodriguez (EPM - Une)
18, Timothy Duggan (Liquigas-Cannondale)
19, Francisco Jarley Colorado Hernandez (EPM - Une) at 29 secs
20, Mathias Frank (BMC Racing Team) at 33 secs
21, George Bennett (RadioShack-Nissan)
22, Chris Butler (Champion System Pro Cycling Team) at 43 secs
23, Javier Eduardo Gomez Pineda (EPM - Une) at 49 secs
24, Michael Creed (Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) at 51 secs
25, Rafael Infantino Abreu (EPM - Une) at 57 secs
26, Christopher Baldwin (Bissell Cycling) at 1 min 45 secs
27, Johann Tschopp (BMC Racing Team) at 2 mins 24 secs
28, Dmitry Kozontchuk (RusVelo) at 2 mins 33 secs
29, Kiel Reijnen (Team Type 1 - Sanofi) at 2 mins 38 secs
30, Alex Howes (Garmin - Sharp)


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