USA Pro Challenge Preview

The 3rd running of this event begins on Monday 19th August.

It features a stellar line-up of riders,including TJ Van Garderen,Peter Sagan,Damiano Caruso,Andy Schleck,Chris Froome,Richie Porte,Christan Vande Velde,Tom Danielson,Andrew Talansky,Tim Duggan,Mick Rogers,John Darwin Atapuma,Philip Deignan and Javier Acevedo.

Vande Velde won the event in 2012,beating Van Garderen by 21 seconds.

There are 7 stages and a good mix for the riders.

Screen Shot 2013-08-16 at 14.11.38Stage 1 is only 102.7km and 3 laps of a circuit.It’s quite lumpy but should end in a bunch sprint.

There aren’t many sprinters here and it looks like being a win for Peter Sagan,who has been in America since 5th August,preparing at altitude for this event and the World Championships.

Screen Shot 2013-08-16 at 14.16.44Stage 2 looks hard!The riders climb to Independence Pass,which is the highest point on any professional race at 3657 metres.Extreme altitude can do strange things to athletes and I would look to riders that are used to this,particularly Colombians!

The final climb is 15%,so it’ll be a small group of riders that reach the end of the stage.

Screen Shot 2013-08-16 at 14.21.07Stage 3 features the brilliantly named Rabbit Ears Pass.It is a hard climb but one that some sprinters should be able to get over,before the descent down to the finish.

Screen Shot 2013-08-16 at 14.23.52Stage 4(The Queen Stage) is another for the climbers.Again,the riders have to cope with high altitude and it’ll be a hard day in the saddle.The Bachelor Gulch climb is very hard with a maximum gradient of 18% and the final climb of 2km is also tough.

Screen Shot 2013-08-16 at 14.26.51Stage 5 is the indivdual time-trial.It’s 16.1km long and should provide some time gaps.There are a number of riders that are very strong in this discipline and the stage will be very closely fought.

Screen Shot 2013-08-16 at 14.29.27Stage 6 has a big climb in the middle of it but it’s too far out to make an impact on the day.The GC should be settled by now and this will be another day for the sprinters,or maybe a breakaway will succeed.

Screen Shot 2013-08-16 at 14.32.48The final stage is another short one at just 75.8km,so it’ll be another sprint finish.

Stages 2,4 and 5 will be the most important for the GC riders and the rest will be for the sprinters.

Watch it live on Eurosport!

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