The 2013 USA Pro Challenge started stage 1 included 128 riders, originating in Aspen for the 20 mile, 3 lap circuit race. The loop delivered quite a challenge with 9, 240 feet of climbing, 4 king of the mountain awards and 2 sprint awards. In the end, Peter Sagan of Cannondale Pro Cycling secured the stage win with Greg Van Avermaet of BMC Racing Team taking second in the stage and Kiel Reijnen of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team claiming third.
Starting off with two short, neutral laps through Aspen, the race immediately saw a seven-man breakaway. But the break couldn’t last, and was caught within the first three miles of the race. This followed with an attack from Craig Lewis of Champion System Pro Cycling Team, Matt Cooke of Jamis-Hagens Berman and Ian Burnett of Jelly Belly later on lap 1 while ascending to Snowmass Village.
The first sprint in downtown Aspen, was snagged by Burnett followed by Lewis and Cooke. As the race continued the gap with the peloton widened with the breakaway group of 3 crossing the first king of the mountain points with Cooke leading. The second king of the mountain at McLain Flats achieved the same order of points.
Entering the final lap, the breakaway of 3 continued their gap from the peloton. Lewis secured the sprint, followed by Burnett and Cooke. However, with Cannondale Pro Cycling setting the pace, the gap began to narrow. After the third king of the mountain, the leadership of the peloton switched to Team Radio Shack which finally caught the breakaway after the final king of the mountain.
Including the stage win, Sagan won a number of jerseys including sprint and best young rider. Cooke was awarded king of the mountain. Most courageous rider Jersey went to Lewis for his role in the breakaway.
Photos by Peter Wayne