Golden native Alex Howes wins final stage of the USA Pro Challenge

Race marred by serious crash involving Ian Crane

DENVER - Golden native Alex Howes won the final stage of the USA Pro Challenge in Denver on Sunday afternoon.

Tom Danielson came in second and Serghei Tvetcov came in third.

Tejay van Garderen of BMC took the overall win for the second year in a row.

Leaving Boulder on CO 93, the riders had several hilly and windswept miles before reaching Golden for the first of two passes. Through Golden, the riders tackled the four-mile climb of Lookout Mountain. Another quick pass of Golden and the race screamed through the suburbs en route to Downtown Denver. The riders then faced an abbreviated version of last year’s circuit for four fast laps through downtown, 17th Ave. and City Park. Over the years, the race has witnessed some incredible sprinting on Broadway in the heart of Denver and 2014 was no exception.

 

In a fast and furious sprint to the finish, Howes crossed the line just inches ahead of Kiel Reijnen (USA) of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team to take the final stage win of the race.

“We went past my house literally four times today on the opening circuits. I saw my entire family out there today,” said Howes. “The plan was to go over Lookout and drive it to the finish and I didn’t know if it was going to work. We got to talking on the team bus this morning and we all agreed we’d try. With my team riding up there today in my home state with all their hearts, I just couldn’t lose.”

These results wouldn’t change the overall general classification, putting van Garderen in first for the second consecutive year; Tom Danielson (USA) of Team Garmin-Sharp, who finished third last year, in second; and Serghei Tvetcov (ROM) of Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis in third.

One competitor suffered serious injuries earlier in Sunday's race.

Ian Crane, 24, riding for Jamis-Hagens Berman, crashed through the rear window of another team's vehicle around the 19-mile mark.  It happened about 1 p.m. on Highway 93 just north the old Rocky Flats plant.

Team officials called a news conference after the race ended to announce the accident.  Doctors don't believe his injuries are life-threating but he remained sedated Sunday night.

The crash occurred after he changed bicycles and was weaving between team cars when several team cars stopped suddenly in front of him.

Crane is in his first year as a professional cyclist.

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