The serious stuff starts today.
They immediately start the climb of Independence Pass,the highest climb in pro cycling at 3687 metres.It has an average gradient of 4.2%,with a maximum of 7%.
The good news is that there is still a long way to go in the stage,so riders that have been distanced have a chance of re-joining the peloton.Although this will depend on who’s in the front group.If BMC get over with most of their riders,they will drive it along for TJ Van Garderen.
You can see the road rises for nearly the whole 2nd half of the stage,this will really hurt the riders.
The riders then have to deal with the short climb over Hossier Pass and then an incline of 15% up Moonstone Road,before a final descent into Breckenridge.
This promises to be an extremely demanding stage and one for the pure climbers.
The long list of potential winners was thinned out yesterday and the contenders are now:
TJ Van Garderen,Damiano Caruso,Tom Danielson,Janier Acevedo,Andreas Kloden,Andy Schleck.
If you lost time yesterday,even 5 seconds,then I think you’re not at the races!
This is good news for me as I have Caruso at 125/1 and Acevedo at 40/1 for the overall victory.
A big question for the stage is how will Peter Sagan cope with this stage?He won a very difficult mountain stage at the Tour de Suisse and it’ll be interesting to see if he wants to challenge himself today,I think not.Caruso is Cannondale’s man for the GC and Sagan might do some domestique work for the Italian.
- Sagan outkicks Van Avermaet in USA Pro Challenge opening stage (velonation.com)