BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. - Aspen's Tejay van Garderen of BMC Racing held his 20-second lead Friday over Rafal Majka of Tinkoff-Saxo following a 104-mile ride from Woodland Park into Breckenridge in the USA Pro Challenge.
Trek Factory rider Laurent Didier of Luxembourg won Stage 5 Friday with a burst into Breckenridge. He held off Janier Acevedo of Garmin-Sharp and Rob Britton of Team SmartStop at the end of the 104-mile stage.
His winning time was three hours, 50 minutes, 38 seconds. The race included rain and temperatures in the 40s over Hoosier Pass.
Van Garderen is favored to win Saturday's time trial on Vail Pass before the weeklong competition ends in downtown Denver on Sunday.
"It was definitely a tough day," said van Garderen. "The breakaway took a really long time to get along and my team had to control it the whole time. That, coupled with the cold and the rain, made it pretty hard, especially on my team because they had to pull all day."
"We visited two incredibly enthusiastic host cities today for Stage 5 of the Pro Challenge; as a first-year host, Woodland Park had a really impressive turnout and Breckenridge, a fourth-year host, had some of the biggest crowds we've seen thus far," said Shawn Hunter, CEO of the Pro Challenge. "These riders really put it all on the line, conquering some tough terrain in some pretty nasty weather. The fans and the cyclists really showed their dedication today."
STAGE 6 Saturday:
Vail Individual Time Trial (16.1 km/10 mi)
Start Time: 1:05 p.m. MT
Estimated Finish Time: 3:50 p.m. MT
Last year the USA Pro Challenge visited Vail, and the time trial was decided by four seconds. In three visits to the Vail individual time trial course, this was the largest margin of victory.
Competition will be equally fierce this time around, but the names may change a bit. The course’s roots are in Colorado racing lore and trace back to the Coors Classic.
Starting in Vail and climbing most of the way up Vail Pass the route is no easy proposition, even for the best riders on earth.
The gentle grades of the first half of the course give way to a steady climb for the last three miles.
It takes more than legs on this strategic course though; go too hard early and the climb may kill your chances, but conserve too much for the climb and the leaderboard may be out of reach.