USA Pro Challenge: Acevedo agrees on the win, helping van Garderen into yellow
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Thursday, August 22, 2013

USA Pro Challenge: Acevedo agrees on the win, helping van Garderen into yellow

by Kyle Moore at 6:07 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
 
Danielson forces the gaps but then struggles in the finale

USA Pro ChallengeTheir jerseys are slightly different versions of red, but Janier Acevedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman) and Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) teamed up to get to the finish first in stage four of the USA Pro Challenge, with Acevedo taking the stage win and van Garderen grabbing the overall race lead.

The duo rode away from Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp) on the wet descent off Bachelor Gulch, the day’s primary climb. It was a moderate four kilometres uphill to the finish at Beaver Creek Resort, and Acevedo agreed to continue pulling with van Garderen, and was granted an uncontested stage win by the American.

Danielson finished fourth on the stage after Mathias Frank (BMC Racing) came back on him, losing 22 more seconds to van Garderen after already being stuck 18 ticks prior to the stage.

Previous overall leader Lachlan Morton (Garmin-Sharp) took a long pull for Danielson, Garmin’s designated leader, leading into the base of the Bachelor Gulch climb. Danielson continued to shed riders behind him, but he couldn’t shake van Garderen or Acevedo.

The Garmin rider led the two over the top, but van Garderen took Acevedo with him on the downhill, and Danielson was gradually distanced. He lost a little more time on the brief finishing climb to Beaver Creek.

Van Garderen takes the yellow jersey into the Vail time trial, just as he did a year ago. This time he will hope to keep it after the 16km test.

Acevedo had a great day, being the only rider to remain with van Garderen and working hard with the American to build their advantage before the line.

“I felt very good and confident. I had a tremendous day today and I felt good about it. For me to win today is just amazing,” he enthused at the finish.

He and the BMC Racing Team rider had been with Tom Danielson going over the summit of the penultimate climb, but distanced the Garmin-Sharp rider on the decent. They were clearly pushing hard, but Acevedo still felt that he showed caution. “I had to go as easy as I could going downhill, taking as little risk possible going around corners,” he said. “I’m glad it worked well and I made it across the finish line.

“I feel very proud of myself for the season I’ve had. It’s amazing for me to win in California and also here at the USA Pro Challenge where all the big names are. I couldn’t be happier to be here with the team – it’s a dream.”

Van Garderen was equally satisfied. He remained glued to Danielson’s wheel on the climb, then made the difference on the descent.

“If you have the skill set that Janier and I have on a wet descent, you really have to just take advantage of that,” he explained. “It’s just part of the game.”

How it played out:

Stage four was lumpy from the start, with three category-four climbs. The course went steadily uphill to the midway point, and the second of the lower rated climbs, on Route 131. The final cat-four climb, the second on Route 131, crested with just under 50km left to race. After diving downhill, the peloton took on Bachelor Gulch, and then the descent leading into the final climb to the finish in Beaver Creek.

The nonstarters as a result of the crash in the stage three finale were Kiel Reijnen (UnitedHealthcare), Fabio Sabatini (Cannondale), and Alex Candelario (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies). Tour of Utah King of the Mountains Michael Torckler (Bissell) did not take the start either, but Mike Friedman (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) was back in the saddle, albeit it quite banged up.

Chris Froome (Sky Procycling) and Andy Schleck (Radioshack-Leopard), both with Tour de France titles to their names, were the first two men to go on the attack. A few riders bridged, but they were brought back quickly, and more men spun up the road. After some mixing and matching, with a few riders dropping back and a few more coming up, the escape was created.

Danny Pate and Kanstantsin Siutsou (Sky Procycling), Timmy Duggan and Michael Rogers (Saxo-Tinkoff), Tony Gallopin (Radioshack-Leopard), King of the Mountains leader Matt Cooke (Jamis-Hagens Berman), Serghei Tvetcov (Jelly Belly-Kenda), Davide Villella (Cannondale), and Larry Warbasse (BMC Racing) got up the road quickly. Jason McCartney (Bissell) spent ample time in the gap trying to get across, and a mechanical problem didn’t speed up the process, but the American veteran eventually did make the escape number ten.

Cooke did what he was there to do at the first categorized climb, going over first ahead of Villella. With 50 kilometres gone, Garmin-Sharp policed the peloton as the break hovered around four minutes ahead. The gap was 4’40” as break and peloton rode through the feed zone. After lunch, the escapees were happy to let Cooke ride through the first of the highway 131 climbs, taking more points for his KOM jersey. A prolonged downhill cut into the gap to the leaders, as it dipped under four minutes halfway through the stage.

At the base of the final category four climb, the ten men out front saw their lead reduced to under three minutes. With 60km of road left, Siutsou got the next round of racing underway with an attack. His move split the break, with only Warbasse, Rogers, Villella, and Gallopin able to come across to him.

Pate and McCartney were the first men reabsorbed by the main bunch, pulled back by Garmin-Sharp, and the reduced break went over the top of the final category-four climb with Cooke unable to take maximum points, as the American was some 40 seconds off the leaders. With under 50km to go and the riders going slowly downhill, the five leaders had a small gap on Tvetcov and Cooke, and the peloton drifted back to four minutes again.

In the valley on the way to Bachelor Gulch, Cooke and Tvetcov were reeled in, with around 30km remaining. Jamis-Hagens Berman were riding tempo, as the peloton’s deficit continued to fall toward three minutes.

Garmin-Sharp came back, blazing into the base of the Bachelor Gulch climb, bringing the quintet out front back to near two minutes. As the climb bit in, BMC and Colombia began riding with Garmin, keeping the pace as high as possible, shattering the field and cutting further into the breakaway. Still on the lower slopes, the escapees had already been pulled back to 1’30”.

With the reduced gap, Rogers knew it was time to go, and the Australian veteran moved forward alone. Warbasse eventually crossed over to the Saxo-Tinkoff rider, while Gallopin was stuck pulling Villella behind. Warbasse had gone too deep and dropped back to the Gallopin group, and the Frenchman, 41 seconds back in the overall starting the day, nearly pulled Rogers back in as well.

But the climb would get too long, and the racing in the peloton too aggressive, for all the breakaway members. Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Sharp) pulled off after a hard turn, and then it was Morton who made it clear that Danielson was Garmin’s guy, understandably, after his Tour of Utah win.

Morton did his best to shred the main field even further, and when he pulled off to let Danielson fly, there were only seven men left in the leader’s group: Danielson, van Garderen, Frank, Acevedo, Damiano Caruso (Cannondale), Josh Edmonson (Sky Procycling), and Warbasse, who had dropped back. Warbasse pulled on the front until his legs could do no more, but his pacing had nearly caught back Rogers, and distanced Edmonson and Caruso.

With Danielson back on the front, Rogers was caught and dropped, and both Frank and Acevedo began to struggle under the pressure of the American. The Garmin-Sharp rider continued to poke at them, dancing away again and putting more pain to Frank. With 1km to the top of Bachelor Gulch, Frank was still dangling, and the damp roads threatened after intermittent thunderstorms had rolled through.

Danielson went over the top first, but van Garderen took control on the descent, and Danielson wasn’t as able on the twisty, wet road.

Inside the final ten kilometres, attention began to turn back to Morton, who was pedaling in a group just 40 seconds off the leaders. Ahead, Frank had come back to Danielson, a signal of further struggle from the American. The gap between he and the van Garderen group continued to go out, albeit it slowly. But Acevedo continued to help, and the 15-second lead became 25 with one kilometre left to race.

Thundershowers were pelting riders all over the road in the finale, but the rain had lessened as Acevedo rode over, and van Garderen offered a handshake, with both having held up their end of the bargain.

USA Pro Challenge Stage 4 Brief Results:

1, Janier Acevedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman)
2, Tejay Van Garderen (BMC Racing)
3, Mathias Frank (BMC Racing)
4, Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp)
5, Gregory Obando Brenes (Champion System)
6, Damiano Caruso (Cannondale) at 1’28”
7, Josh Edmonson (Sky Procycling)
8, Lachlan Morton (Garmin-Sharp)
9, Michael Schär (BMC Racing)
10, Darwin Atapuma (Colombia)

General Classification after stage 4:

1, Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) in 15hr44’59”
2, Mathias Frank (BMC Racing) at 4”
3, Janier Acevedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman) at 30”
4, Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp) at 40”
5, Lachlan Morton (Garmin-Sharp) at 1’17”
6, Gregory Obando Brenes (Champion System) at 1’37”
7, Darwin Atapuma (Colombia) at 1’52”
8, Damiano Caruso (Cannondale) at 1’58”
9, Rory Sutherland (Saxo-Tinkoff)
10, Lucas Euser (UnitedHealthcare)

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