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Stage 5 of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge speeds out of Woodland Park

Riders in Stage 5 of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge pull away from Pikes Peak
Riders in Stage 5 of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge pull away from Pikes Peak
Steve Krull / S. W. Krull Imaging

Late in the morning on August 22, 2014, dark clouds and rain greeted the USA Pro Cycling Challenge as cyclists headed out of the historic mountain town of Woodland Park to the Stage 5 finish line in the beautiful ski town of Breckenridge, Colorado. Bike racing fans lined the streets of the City Above the Clouds to cheer their favorite racers on their way through town and up the steep climb over Ute Pass to Divide Colorado and then north through the Pike National Forest on rugged Tarryall Road. Riders then faced the highest climb of Stage 5 on 11,500 foot Hoosier Pass before descending into the finish area at Breckenridge.

Stage 5 remained a close race all the way with several riders making a push for the lead. The race was finally decided in the cold thin air of 10,087 foot Boreas Pass with Didier cresting first, followed by Acevedo and Britton. According to the official USA Pro Cycling Challenge web site, with 1K to go, "Didier was holding his lead, but Britton and Acevedo weren’t far behind. Pushing it and giving his all through the final moments of the race, Didier was able to hold his lead and take the stage. Crossing right behind him were Acevedo in second and Britton in third.".

At this point in the series, Tejay van Garderen is emerging as the most relentless and consistent competitor of the field and favorite to win the overall championship. According to the official web site, "Overall leader and defending champion Tejay van Garderen (USA) of BMC Racing Team held onto his 20 second lead and will wear the yellow jersey leading into the individual time trial tomorrow in Vail.".

The race has been a roller coaster ride from the beginning with Kiel Reijnen winning the Stage 1 Aspen / Snowmass circuit race. Robin Carpenter won Stage 2 crossing the finish line in the ride from Aspen to Crested Butte with Alex Howes taking over the overall lead. Stage 3 from Gunnison to Monarch Mountain was conquered by Tejay van Garderen (USA) with a victory as he took the overall lead for the BMC Racing Team. Elia Viviani (CAN) crossed the finish line first to take Stage 4 in Colorado Springs while Tejay van Garderen retained the overall lead position.

Stage 6 in Vail is the next segment in the race, followed by Stage 7, a tour of Boulder and Denver and the finish line for the 2014 series where the overall champion will be determined.