Farrar wins second Challenge stage
The Denver Post
Vail, CO Colorado
COLORADO SPRINGS – It took nearly all of the 117.9 miles from Breckenridge to Colorado Springs, but the peloton finally reeled in a breakaway of riders in the final 1 1/2 laps around the city of Stage 5 of the USA Pro Challenge.
That set up Tyler Farrar of the Boulder-based Team Garmin-Sharp to win an all-out sprint finish against dozens of riders, his second stage win of the Pro Challenge. He finised Friday’s stage in 3 hours, 58 minutes, 27 seconds and also reclaimed the green jersey as the top sprinter.
“The team did a whole lot of work all through the stage to make it a sprint,” Farrar said. “There was a pretty strong group up front, and we had to burn a lot of our guys. And that’s putting a lot of faith in me because our team’s trying to win the (general classification) and we spent a lot of energy today that we could have conserved. I’m thankful they put their faith in me so I could win the stage.”
Boulder’s Taylor Phinney of BMC Racing, who crashed in Stage 1 and injured his right knee, finished second in the Stage 5. His teammate, Tejay van Garderen, kept the yellow jersey but remains tied in time with Garmin-Sharp’s Christian Vande Velde at 21:32:45.
“It was a little less stressful than other days,” van Garderen said. “It was a bunch sprint, so it was sort of a rest day for the (general classification) guys, but still hard to get through. It became a little stressful when the rains came down. You stay in front and try to stay safe.
“I wasn’t focused on keeping the yellow jersey (Friday). I was focused on staying at the front and staying head of the crashes, out of trouble, and ahead of the time gaps.”
Garmin-Sharp’s Tom Danielson remains in the King of the Mountains jersey as the top climber with 50 points, three ahead of Jorge Castiblanco of Team EPM-UNE.
Stage 5 left Breckenridge on Friday morning for the 117.9-mile race to downtown Colorado Springs. It included one climb, then was largely a downhill and flat stage into Colorado Springs, a situation set perfectly for sprinters.
Saturday figures to be one of the hardest and most important stages of the 683-mile race. It begins in Golden with two laps and travels up State Highway 93 before entering Boulder, climbing up Highway 119 in Boulder Canyon to Nederland, and then moving to the Peak to Peak Highway. The course descends int Lyons, then climbs up Left Hand Canyon and Lee Hill Road.
Finally, riders will climb 3.5 miles up Flagstaff Mountain to end the race’s only mountain top finish, where an estimated 30,000 people are expected to be lining the road. The tage, which travels 102.8 miles, begins at 11:10 a.m.
“(Saturday) is going to be hard,” van Garderen said. “People keep forgetting about Levi. I think that’s a mistake. Of Tom (Danielson) and Christian (Vande Velde), he’s a better time trailer and also a better climber. And he’s only 8 seconds down. He’s still very much in contention. … We’ll see how it plays out. I have a strong team so we’ll try to use them as much as possible.”
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