Aug 22, 2015 – Roman Kreuziger of Tinkoff-Saxo proved the strongest of a small lead group and outsprinted four others to win Stage 6 from Loveland to Fort Collins in the USA Pro Challenge Saturday.
The 102-mile stage from Loveland to Fort Collins gave riders some respite from the high altitudes of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains allowing Kreuziger to push back breakaway companions Javier Megias and Lenoardo Basso down Mountain Avenue in downtown Fort Collins. Krueziger, a two-time top 10 finisher in the Tour de France, looked strong all day, driving the break clear of the field that contained overall race leader Rohan Dennis, an Australian racing for BMC Racing.
“We came with two goals and we missed one (the overall podium) in the beginning because BMC is really strong,” said Kreuziger. “We were not ready for the higher altitude. The other goal was to win the stage. Today was a good day to try. I started to feel a little bit better. After the Time Trial yesterday, my condition was better than other days so we had a plan to try. I’m really happy that it worked.”
Dennis enters the final day of racing with a chance to be the first non-American winner of the USA Pro Challenge. Americans Levi Leipheimer (2011), Christian Vande Velde (2012) and Tejay van Garderen (2013, 2014) are past winners.
High winds affected the race from start with Kreuziger’s group eventually going clear and building a lead of more than four minutes before the peloton began chipping away at the time gap. By the finish, the peloton was not able to catch Kreuziger, who proved he was the strongest man of the day.
The 2015 USA Pro Challenge will wrap up with a re-make of the closing stage from Golden to Denver from the inaugural race. The stage will feature one final King of the Mountains point and one sprint with closing circuits in the center city of Denver at Civic Park. Dennis has a comfortable lead over BMC Racing teammate Brent Bookwalter by 44 seconds, and 1 minute and 31 seconds over Team SmartStop’s Rob Britton of Canada.
Smashburger Leader Jersey stays with Rohan Dennis (AUS) BMC Racing Team and the Lexus Sprint Jersey switches hands to Kiel Reijen (USA) UnitedHealthcare Team. Sierra Nevada King of the Mountains Jersey also remains with Rohan Dennis (AUS) BMC Racing Team and Colorado State University Best Young Rider Jersey is Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBR) Axeon Cycling Team once again.
The FirstBank Most Aggressive Rider Jersey goes to Roman Kreuziger (CZE) of Tinkoff-Saxo and Edward Jones Best Colorado Rider Jersey stays with Alexandr Braico (MDA) of Jelly Belly P/B Maxxis.
Final kilometers of Stage 6
Stage 6 Results
First – Roman Kreuziger (CZE) of Tinkoff-Saxo
Second – Javier Leal Megias (ESP) of Team Novo Nordisk
Third – Leonado Basso (ITA) of Trek Factory Racing
1. Rohan Dennis
2. Brent Bookwalter
3. Rob Britton
4. Gavin Mannion
5. David Lachlan Morton
Smashburger Leader Jersey – Rohan Dennis (AUS) BMC Racing Team
Lexus Sprint Jersey – Kiel Reijen (USA) UnitedHealthcare Team
Sierra Nevada King of the Mountains Jersey – Rohan Dennis (AUS) BMC Racing Team
Colorado State University Best Young Rider Jersey – Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBR) Axeon Cycling Team
FirstBank Most Aggressive Rider Jersey – Roman Kreuziger (CZE) of Tinkoff-Saxo
Edward Jones Best Colorado Rider Jersey – Alexandr Braico (MDA) of Jelly Belly P/B Maxxis
STAGE 7 TOMORROW:
Sunday, August 23rd 2015 – Golden to Denver
Start Time: 1:10 p.m. MT
Estimated Finish Time: 2:03 p.m. MT
Satellite Feed Time: 5 p.m. – 5:15 p.m MT / 7 p.m. – 7:15 p.m. EST
For a finale, the Pro Challenge goes back to its roots. This route was the final stage of the first Pro Challenge in 2011 and introduced the world to the cycling crowds on the Front Range.
After a short loop north of Golden the race will tackle its main obstacle of the day, the 4-mile climb of Lookout Mtn. Another quick pass of Golden and the race is screaming through Wheat Ridge and Lakewood en route to downtown Denver. Four laps of the familiar Denver circuit await and Civic Center Park, City Park, and 17th street will be treated to blazing speeds as the last prizes of the week are fought over tooth and nail.