Viviani Blasts to Victory in Stage 4 of USA Pro Challenge
Tejay van Garderen of BMC Racing Team Hangs on to overall race lead.
In a hectic circuit race through Colorado Springs that included everything from flat sprints through the city streets to challenging climbs in the picturesque Garden of the Gods, Italy's Elia Viviani of Cannondale Pro Cycling emerged victorious in stage 4 of the 2014 USA Pro Challenge after catching German veteran Jens Voigt of Trek Factory Racing following a solo breakaway. American defending champion Tejay van Garderen of BMC Racing Team held onto the overall lead and has a twenty second advantage leading into tomorrow's fifth day of racing.
Van Garderen said he enjoyed a surprisingly stress-free stage in his first day as race leader. "Today worked out better than we could have imagined," van Garderen commented after being celebrated on the podium in Colorado Springs. “With such a short stage, we thought there could be attacks all day. Thankfully we were able to keep it controlled. We got to sit on wheels all day, so it was a perfect scenario for us."
A third year host city, Colorado Springs featured a challenging 70-mile circuit race today that included four Sierra Nevada KOM competitions and three Lexus sprint lines. After a ceremonial start at the world-famous Broadmoor, the race headed into town and joined up with a 16-mile circuit that would be raced four times. In addition to some flat sections, the stage featured climbs through Garden of the Gods, Mesa Rd. and the infamous Ridge Rd., which hits grades of nearly 17 percent.
“The crowds were absolutely incredible,” added van Garderen. “Every year the crowds rival any race we do, including the Tour de France. It’s hard to beat crowds like this anywhere.”
The hostilities started early in today's stage. Almost immediately after the peloton was released, 11 riders broke away in a durable attack. The group included Voigt and Laurent Didier (LUX) of Trek Factory Racing, Gregor Mühlberger (AUT) of Team NetApp-Endura, Adam Phelan (AUS) of Drapac Professional Cycling, Danny Summerhill (USA) of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team, Martijn Verschoor (NED) of Team Novo Nordisk, Rob Britton (CAN) of Team SmartStop, Oscar Clark (USA) and Tims Skujins (LAT) of Hincapie Sportswear Development Team, Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA) of Jamis-Hagens Berman, Steve Fisher (USA) of Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis and Ruben Zepuntke (GER) of Bissell Development Team.
Approaching the first of three KOM competitions in the stage at Garden of the Gods, a picturesque national landmark, Jacques-Maynes hit the top first, followed by Voigt and Summerhill. Traveling at 40 mph, the gap increased to four minutes.
Heading into the second lap and just 5 kilometers from the second KOM of the day at Garden of the Gods, Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies took the lead on the chase and cut the gap down to three and a half minutes. At the first Lexus Sprint Line of the day, Summerhill sped off to cross the line first, followed by Zepuntke and Britton.
With UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team and Team Garmin-Sharp-POC taking the lead on the chase, the gap continued to drop leading into the second KOM of the day. Jacques-Maynes pushed it to hit the