Bookwalter Powers to Win in Stage 2 of USA Pro Challenge 2015
BMC Racing Team's Brent Bookwalter and Rohan Dennis go 1-2; Bookwalter Takes 2015 USA Pro Cycling Challenge lead.
Brent Bookwalter soloed to stage victory for Team BMC Racing in Tuesday's mountain-top finish at the USA Pro Challenge 2015 and teammate Rohan Dennis was runner-up as Bookwalter replaced teammate Taylor Phinney as the general classification leader of the race. Watch 2015 USA Pro Challenge video highlights in our videos section (viewable from within the USA).
Bookwalter, who won for the first time since February of 2013, said he did not immediately realize he was the winner of the 185.5-kilometer stage that finished at the Arapahoe Basin ski resort in Colorado, USA.
"The last time board we saw was to breakaway rider Nate Brown of Team Cannondale - Garmin and it read a minute, I think, with over a kilometer to go, maybe a kilometer-and-a-half," Bookwalter explained to Roadcycling.com. "Rohan had me cross-eyed, just biting my stem the whole time."
"I wasn't really aware of when Nate came back or who was going on. I was just concentrated on doing the best climb I could and holding Rohan's wheel. Then, with about 500 meters to go, I actually caught my breath and felt recovered. I chucked it in the big ring and gave it everything I had. Obviously I was going for seconds also, so there was no time to celebrate before crossing the finish line. It is a good feeling."
After being celebrated on the podium, Bookwalter credited his teammates for first helping bring back a 12-man breakaway and then for setting a hard tempo that reduced the front group to fewer than 10 with about five kilometers to go.
"These guys were riding like machines all day," he explained. "They were incredible. I had to keep telling them to slow down and not bring the break back too quickly. They were hurting me when they were surging over the climbs. I didn't really feel great all day, but I think a little bit of that was the attitude. It was actually nice to get to that last climb and have Rohan put the hammer down. Then the recipe was simple: hold the wheel, ride as hard as we can and it's done. There is no more conserving energy at that point."
Dennis, who previously raced for Team Garmin-Sharp, said he was surprised by his runner-up performance, his fourth on the year.
"I saw on the TV screen that Brent was sort of next to me, so I tried to get on him," he said. "But he went straight past me and got into position to win. It is great we went 1-2, and I sort of surprised myself. I rode pretty well from the bottom to the top, and I was expecting to blow with at least three kilometers to go when people started attacking."
In the USA Pro Challenge general classification, Bookwalter leads Dennis by six seconds. Jonathan Clarke (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team) is third and Hugh Carthy (Caja Rural - Seguros RGA), who finished third in today's stage, is fourth. Both riders are ten seconds behind the race leader.
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