Danielson, Vande Velde head powerful Garmin-Sharp lineup for USA Pro Challenge
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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Danielson, Vande Velde head powerful Garmin-Sharp lineup for USA Pro Challenge

by Kyle Moore at 9:05 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Vande Velde the returning champ, Danielson coming off Tour of Utah win

Tom DanielsonTom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp) enters the USA Pro Challenge beginning Monday as perhaps the top favourite, having recently finished off the overall victory in the Tour of Utah.

The American veteran was obviously a step ahead of the other leaders in the Utah peloton, and while the Colorado race brings a more talented field, Danielson could be the man to beat when the race concludes next Sunday.

He pointed to a strong team as the most important necessity for a rider to do well in the overall standings. Garmin-Sharp sends a talented squad to the USA Pro Challenge, and it will be returning champion Christian Vande Velde who pins on bib number one on Monday in Aspen.

Danielson won into Aspen a year ago, and while the course surrounding his hometown is of a different nature this year, the former Tour de France top ten finisher would be glad to feature in his city again.

“On Garmin-Sharp we always win as a team and lose as a team, and that one was really a team effort,” Danielson said of his Aspen win last year, speaking at the pre-race press conference. “The stage into Aspen from Gunnison was one of the top experiences I’ve had in the history of my professional career. I got to go over Independence pass by myself in my hometown, in front of tons of fans and then almost lost it all, but dug as deep as I could to pull out the win. The crowd really helped me through it. It was really a magical moment coming through the finish line. I couldn’t even raise my hands because it was so emotional.

“I feel good and I always love coming to this race. It’s my home race and I’m pumped for sure.”

On paper, Garmin-Sharp has one of the strongest teams it could assemble that will hit the line in Aspen for the USA Pro Challenge. Of the eight-man squad, four of them – Danielson, Rohan Dennis, Lachlan Morton, and Andrew Talansky – have worn leader’s jerseys at major races this season.

On top of that, Vande Velde is the returning champion, and veterans Thomas Dekker, David Millar, and Dave Zabriskie will be there to guide the squad’s younger members through the mountains.

“I think the key is a strong team,” Danielson continued. “As you saw last year, we were super aggressive. The course really favored an aggressive approach and this year is similar. You have to either control other people being aggressive or be aggressive yourself. It’s a very strong field this year with Sky Procycling and the Tour de France champion. You have to be careful - you can’t do crazy stuff. We’ll be as strong as we can be, and we’ll try to be as smart as possible as well.”

Stage one kicks off proceedings with three laps of a 32km circuit, starting and finishing in Aspen, taking on the smaller climbs of Snowmass and McLain Flats.

Garmin-Sharp for the USA Pro Challenge:
Christian Vande Velde, Tom Danielson, Thomas Dekker, Rohan Dennis, David Millar, Lachlan Morton, Andrew Talansky, David Millar


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