Wednesday, August 22, 2012

UPCC Stage 3 - Gunnison to Aspen

Image from UPCC website

Stage 3 had a hell of a finish this afternoon.  The stage started about as expected, with a small group going off the front before the early climbs.  Tommy D decided to make it interesting though.  On the climb to 12,000 foot Cottonwood Pass Danielson jumped out of the pack and made a solo ride across the 1 minute gap to the break.  Then, over the course of the Cottonwood and 12,000 foot Independence Pass climbs he shed the break, eventually going over Independence Pass by himself with a 2:15 lead over the peloton.  A furious decent from the pass brought the peloton to within 20 seconds as they entered the final kilometer but Tommy D dug deep and held them off just long enough to win the stage by 2 seconds.

An interesting twist to the overall race standings after today's stage.  In the final push to catch Tommy D Christian Vande Velde got a jump on Teejay Van Garderen.  While they finished on the same time the fact that Christian finished ahead of Teejay and they remained tied on total time means the yellow jersey moved from Teejay to Christian.  A bit of a controversial decision, especially after the judges decided the two racers finished on the same time yesterday despite a noticeable gap between them.

Stage results:
1st: Tom Danielson - USA - BMC
2nd: Damiano Caruso - Italy - Liquigas-Cannondale
3rd: Jakob Fuglsang - Denmark - RadioShack - Nissan - TREK

Leader - Christian Vande Velde - USA - Garmin-SHARP
Sprinter - Damiano Caruso - Italy - Liquigas-Cannondale
King of the Mountains - Tom Danielson - USA - Garmin-SHARP
Young Rider - Joseph Lloyd Dombrowski - USA - Bontrager-Livestrong
Most Agressive - Francisco Colorado - Colombia - EPM-UNE
Team - Garmin-SHARP

Tommy D picked up 2 of the 12 seconds he was behind today, while Niabli lost another 16 seconds.  George Hincapie burned everything up to help Teejay up Independence Pass and lost over 12 minutes today, which ends his slim hopes.  Otherwise the favorites that still had a chance finished in the main group.  6 riders dropped out today for a total of 14 lost from the race so far.

Tomorrow's stage from Aspen to Beaver Creek includes climbing back over Independence Pass early in the stage before spending most of the day above 9000 feet.  They're also climb Tennessee Pass at over 10,000 feet before a final 2.5 mile climb to finish the stage in Beaver Creek.  The way Garmin, and particularly Tommy D, have been riding I expect another Garmin led breakaway to force BMC to keep working even though they no longer have the leader's jersey.

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