Wenatchee, Washington’s Tyler Farrar won the opening stage of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge on Monday, surviving a 10,222 mountain pass before rocketing over the finish line in Telluride.
Farrar’s Garmin-Sharp teammate Tom Danielson earned the king of the mountain jersey as the first cyclist over Lizard Head Pass.
The win marked Farrar’s first victory since a stage win at the Tour de France on July 4, 2011. He was shut-out at the Tour this year.
The 2nd annual USA Pro Cycling Challenge features an international cast of cyclists that includes last year’s winner of the Tour de France, Cadel Evans, and former Giro d’Italia winners Ivan Basso and Vincenzo Nibali.
Monday’s opening 125.6 mile stage started in Durango. Danielson dropped his rivals on the climb over Lizard Head Pass, then had a 15-mile downhill run to Telluride. Teammate Peter Stetina caught up with Danielson on the descent, and they were caught by the peloton before the finish.
Although many high profile teams have cyclists here, they had to split their squads to compete in the three-week Vuelta a Espana that started on Saturday.
The Colorado bike race continues on Tuesday with Stage 2 from Montrose to Crested Butte. The 99-mile stage begins at 11:25 a.m. Mountain Time, with an anticipated finish at 3:50 p.m. Coverage starts on NBCSports at 1:30 p.m. Mountain Standard Time; online cycling fans can watch the action on the USA Cycling Challenge RadioShack Tourtracker.
Top 10 overall (all finished with the same time)
1. Tyler Farrar (USA) Garmin
2. Alessandro Bazzana (Italy) Team Type 1
3. Damiano Caruso (Italy) Liquigas-Cannondale
4. Fred Rodriguez (USA) Team Exergy
5. Rory Sutherland (Australia) UnitedHealthcare
6. Gavin Mannion (USA) Bontrager-Livestrong
7. Kiel Reijnen (USA) Team Type 1
8. Aleander Candelario (USA) Team Optum
9. Chris Horner (USA) RadioShack-Nissan
10. Jorge Castiblanco (Columbia) EPN