Christian Vande Velde made up a 9-second deficit to win the USA Pro Cycling Challenge on the final stage individual time trial in Denver on Sunday.
By winning, he unseated Levi Leipheimer who usually excels at the ITT in crunch situations.
Quoted at CyclingNews.com, Vande Velde said:
“I actually had a lot of confidence in today. It was a feather in my cap that a lot of people didn’t know that I had. I felt good coming out of the Tour on my time trial bike – I don’t know why, the same thing happened last year.”
Vande Velde finished in second place in Colorado’s inaugural stage bike race in 2011. Leipheimer won that year.
The defending champion, riding for Omega Pharma-Lotto this year, finished in 9th place in the ITT on Sunday. That dropped him into 3rd place overall. Tejay Van Garderen (BMC) finished in 2nd place overall.
Vande Velde credited his Garmin-Sharp teammates for the win. The team’s sprinter, Tyler Farrar, who won stages and earned the sprint jersey in the race.
Taylor Phinney (BMC) won the individual time trial event.
Competing in his last professional race, George Hincapie, 39, finished Sunday’s time trial in 23rd place, 1:03 behind the winner. The BMC cyclist finished in 41st place overall.
Hincapie’s career spans three decades and includes a record 17 Tours de France. He told a Colorado newspaper before the race:
“I did consider stopping after the Tour de France and making that my last race. But I really wanted to have my last one be in the U.S. I felt like Colorado has become quite a big and important race on the calendar, so the opportunity was there to have the USA Pro Challenge be my last one. It’s certainly meaningful to end my career in the U.S.”