MOUNT CRESTED BUTTE — The USA Pro Challenge took a bizarre turn Tuesday afternoon when officials halted Stage 2 from Aspen to Mount Crested Butte for about five minutes after heavy rain created dangerous road conditions just outside of Crested Butte on the descent from Kebler Pass.
American Robin Carpenter had a lead of 45 seconds when the race was halted, a decision that aroused bitter criticism from riders who screamed at race officials.
The decision allowed team cars to deliver much-need rain gear and jackets to their riders on a bone-chilling descent. Garmin-Sharp sports director Robbie Hunter, driving the lead support vehicle, felt the decision was warranted for the safety of riders.
Carpenter, who races for Hincapie Sportswear Development, got a 45-second head start when racers were released and won the 105-mile race for his first career win. Boulder’s Alex Howes of Garmin-Sharp, who finished second Monday in the opening stage, finished second again, six seconds behind Carpenter, to claim the tour leader’s yellow jersey.