Saturday, August 25, 2012

UPCC Stage 6 - Golden to Boulder

Image of Rory Sutherland on Flagstaff from Jason Greene

Just got back from Boulder where we had an awesome day watching the race. If you watched the coverage on NBC the first look you got at the peloton was just meters after they passed us. We were at the corner of 17th & Spruce, 1 block after they raced passed the sprint point down 17th and they had to make a 90 degree turn onto Spruce, so we saw them coming and going. Then when they came back into town they made the corner going the opposite direction. I'm watching the coverage now and haven't seen it, but if they show a head on view of the first sprint that camera was located essentially right above my head.

The race itself was pretty good as well. ;)  An early break of 14 riders got free and stayed free until the Flagstaff Mountain final climb, which killed the final sprint competitions. The break included Rory Sutherland and Jens Voight! Once they hit the climb of Left Hand Canyon the break and the peloton started to splinter but a small group including those two stayed free as they came back through Boulder and hit Flagstaff. The big names of the race caught all but those two and Fabio Aru with United Healthcare's Rory Sutherland winning the stage and Jens finishing 3rd.  As you can see above, Sutherland was even smiling as he made the climb!

Meanwhile back with the race leaders Tejay van Garderen and Tommy D both somewhat bonked on the final climb. Levi Leipheimer and Christian Vande Velde took advantage. Levi attacked first with Christian having to wait until closer to the end of the climb. Levi finished 4th and picked up 29 seconds on Tejay, Christian finished 6th and got 8 seconds. Peter Stetina finished on the same time as Tejay, while Tommy D was 42 seconds behind Tejay.

Stage results:
1st: Rory Sutherland - Australia - United Healthcare
2nd: Fabio Aru - Italy - Astana
3rd: Jens Voight - Germany - Radio Shack-Nissan-TREK

As expected, today's stage caused some changes in the standings.  Defending champion Levi Leipheimer has moved into first overall with Christan Vande Velde 9 seconds back and Tejay van Garderen 21 seconds back.  In the final King of the Mountains competition, Jens Voight's attacks over the last couple of days finally took the jersey from Tommy D, who's had it since Stage 1.  With no more climbs Jens Voight is the winner.

EDIT: They do give sprinter points for the best times tomorrow, so the sprinter jersey competition is not complete.

Leader - Levi Leipheimer - USA - Omega Pharma-Quickstep
Sprinter - Tyler Farrar - USA - Garmin-SHARP
King of the Mountains - Jens Voight - Germany - Radio Shack-Nissan-TREK
Young Rider - Joe Dombrowski - USA - Bontrager-Livestrong
Most Agressive - Rory Sutherland - USA - United Healthcare
Team - Radio Shack-Nissan-TREK

The big loser today was Tommy D.  He finished almost 45 seconds behind Tejay van Garderen on a climb in his hometown that he holds the record on.  He also lost his King of the Mountains jersey on the final climb of the race.

Tomorrow's stage is a short time trial where each rider rides the course solo.  Garmin's Dave Zabriskie is the current National time trial champion, but Tejay van Garderen is very good at time trialing as well.  Levi Leipheimer and Christian Vande Velde essentially tied for first in last year's time trial, with Leipheimer getting the win by hundredths of a second so they're pretty good.

I would expect Tejay to win tomorrow, but the length of the time trial (9.5 miles) probably will prevent him from retaking the jersey.  The last time these 3 raced in a similar time trial was in the 2011 Tour of California.  Levi finished 2nd, Tejay 3rd, and Christian 10th.  That time trial was 15 miles long and Levi had 26 seconds over Tejay and 47 seconds over Christian.  Levi is still recovering from his fractured leg in April and Tejay and Christian have both gotten better, but I don't see Tejay picking up over 2 seconds a mile on Levi.  If Levi is off just a bit though, he could concede a second a mile to Christian.

Here's some pictures my wife took from our vantage point in Boulder:

Joey Rosskopf (Team Type 1) and Carter Jones (Bissell) try to catch the early breakaway ahead of the peloton

BMC including George Hincapie (5th) and Tejay van Garderen (in yellow) leads the peloton through the Boulder sprint point

Jens Voigt leads the break back into Boulder towards Flagstaff

BMC and Garmin are hunting down the breakaway before Flagstaff.  Taylor Phinney is 1st, Hincapie is 2nd and in the background Tejay van Garderen (Yellow) and Vincenzo Nibali (Orange)

No comments: