USA Pro Challenge: Mathias Frank takes attacking stage two as Lachlan Morton claims yellow
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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

USA Pro Challenge: Mathias Frank takes attacking stage two as Lachlan Morton claims yellow

by Ben Atkins at 5:54 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
Breakaway stays away despite late effort from Peter Sagan to hold his lead

mathias frankMathias Frank’s (BMC Racing) best-ever season continued in the 2013 USA Pro Challenge as the Swiss rider took the second stage between Aspen and Breckenridge. As one of just three survivors of a 15-rider break that had escaped in the second half of the 202.9km, Frank attacked companions Lachlan Morton (Garmin-Sharp) and Lawson Craddock (Bontrager) over the top of the final, 3rd category climb to the Boreas Pass, and managed to hold off the chase on the four kilometre descent to the finish.

Morton chased hard on the descent, but could only get to within three seconds of the BMC Racing rider as he celebrated the stage victory. Craddock, however, was caught and passed by counterattacking yellow jersey Peter Sagan (Cannondale), in the company of Frank’s teammate Tejay van Garderen.

Despite taking third place 14 seconds behind Frank, however, the 11 seconds lost by Sagan to Morton saw the Australian take over the race lead.

Reactions to follow.

The first successful break of the day saw Michael Schär (BMC Racing) attack on the early slopes of the 1st category Independence Pass, and the Swiss rider was joined by Luis Lemus (Jelly Belly p/b Kenda) and mountains jersey leader Matt Cooke (Jamis-Hagens Berman). They were five minutes clear as Schär led over the top of the climb after 30.8km, and were joined by David Millar (Garmin-Sharp) and Kanstantsin Siutsou (Team Sky) on the descent, and the five riders managed to open their lead to almost six minutes at the 85km point.

Several teams began to work hard on the front of the bunch, however, cutting the lead to 3’55” through the sprint at Buena Vista after 99.7km.

With 80km to go, and with the peloton little more than a minute behind, Lemus attacked. The other four picked up soon afterwards but, as the Mexican was finally caught with 75km to go, a 14-rider group broke immediately formed around him. Included in the group were Lucas Euser and Jeffry Louder, Andy Schleck, Michael Rogers, Antoine Duchesne (Bontrager), Alessandro De Marchi (Cannondale); they were picked up soon afterwards, only for another, 15-man group to get clear.

In this group was Schleck again, with RadioShack-Leopard teammate Tiago Machado, Frank and second overall Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing), Morton and Rohan Dennis (Garmin-Sharp), Craddock, Jesse Anthony (Optum), Josh Edmondson (Team Sky), Chad Beyer (Champion System), Bruno Pires (Saxo-Tinkoff), Chris Jones (UnitedHealthcare), Phil Gaimon (Bissell), Tyler Wren (Jamis-Hagens Berman), and Davide Villella (Cannondale)

Jason McCartney (Bissell) spent some kilometres trying to join the group as it pulled clear of the peloton, before being forced to sit up with just under 50km to go.

The group was now four minutes clear but, with only Pires in the leading group, the Saxo-Tinkoff team was chasing and beginning to close it down. As Van Avermaet jumped clear to take the sprint in Fairplay with 42.1km to go, the gap was still 2’25” but, on the lower slopes of the 2nd category Hooiser Pass, Dennis was dropped and the group was down to 14.

With 30km to go the gap was still 1’40” and, with 27km to go - as the break was splitting up - Morton attacked and got away alone.

Over the top of the climb with 24.1km to go the Australian was 15 seconds ahead of Craddock and Frank, with many from the rest of the break being steadily swallowed up by the peloton some two minutes behind. The two chasers caught up with Morton with 17km to go, while Van Avermaet, Schleck, Machado, Pires, Beyer, Wren and Villella were now almost a minute behind as UnitedHealthcare took over the chase on the head of the peloton.

The gap was still 1’20” with ten kilometres as UnitedHealthcare now had the Schleck group in sight.

As the leaders hit the Boreas Pass with just over eight kilometres to go, the peloton was swallowing up the chase group, still 1’15” behind them. Colombia briefly came to the aid of UnitedHealthcare, but progress on the break was still very slow.

Morton tried to drop the others as the leading trio approached the top, but it was Frank that managed to attack and get away. Morton gave chase, and was just five seconds behind the Swiss rider over the top with four kilometres to go, but Craddock now seemed to be finished.

Forty seconds behind, Sagan himself attacked the peloton, and pulled a small group away as he passed over the top of the climb. Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) was stuck to the Slovakian’s wheel, with Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp) and Darwin Atapuma (Colombia) not far behind them.

Frank was ten seconds clear of Morton as he entered the final two kilometres, but the Australian was gaining as the road began to level out. The Swiss rider still had plenty of time to sit up and celebrate as he crossed the line, however, to take the victory. Morton took second place, three seconds behind him; Sagan led van Garderen over the line after just 14, but just too late to protect his yellow jersey from Morton.

Result stage 2
1. Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing Team
2. Lachlan Morton (Aus) Garmin-Sharp @ 3s
3. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale Pro Cycling @ 14s
4. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team
5. Lawson Craddock (USA) Bontrager Cycling Team @ 21s
6. Tom Danielson (USA) Garmin-Sharp @ 32s
7. Darwin Atapuma (Col) Colombia @ 33s
8. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling @ 44s
9. Michael Schär (Swi) BMC Racing Team
10. George Bennett (NZl) RadioShack-Leopard

Standings after stage 2
1. Lachlan Morton (Aus) Garmin-Sharp
2. Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing Team @ 2s
3. Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale Pro Cycling @ 11s


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