Celebrating the first USA Pro Cycling Challenge

Facebook Twitter More...

A German cyclist riding for the soon-to-be defunct HTC-Highroad team earned a host of firsts racing in Colorado Springs on Monday.

Patrick Gretsch, 24, finished in first place on the first day of the first USA Pro Cycling Challenge. The victory marked his first-ever win on US soil.

The German covered the ever-so slightly downhill course in Colorado Springs in 8-minutes-27, 2 seconds ahead of Christian Vande Velde of Team Garmin Cervelo.

Gretsch will wear the leader's jersey on Tuesday, although it's doubtful he'll wear it for long. Stage 1 is a 99-mile uphill slog between Salida and Crested Butte that gains 8,000 feet along the way.

Welcome to the Rockies.


In spite of this being its first year, the USA Pro Cycling Challenge boasts a roster of big names in cycling.

One of them, Tour de France winner Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) of Australia, finished in 9th place, just 9 seconds behind the stage winner.

The two cyclists who shared the podium in Paris, Andy and Frank Schleck (Leopard Trek) of Luxembourg, are notoriously mediocre time-trial cyclists and lived up to their reputations, finishing 37 and 38 seconds respectively behind Gretsch. (Does anyone think it's odd that they finished within a second of each other's time in the prologue? Could they be clones instead of brothers?)

Two of the “senior citizens” of the Colorado stage race, Jens Voight, 39 (Leopard Trek), and George Hincapie, 38 (BMC), each finished 7 seconds behind, and Tour of Utah winner Levi Leipheimer (Team Radio Shack) and Tejay Van Garderen (HTC Highroad) each finished 8 seconds back.

Stage 1

Surprisingly, none of the cyclists for Colombian cycling team Gobernacion de Antioquia finished in the top 10 of the prologue. In the Tour of Utah two weeks ago, the team's Sergio Henao won the prologue and held on most of the week, challenging Leipheimer's repeat championship.

That team is expected to be heard in the mountains, which is the cycling locale for the next days until the race ends Sunday in Denver.

Stage 1 starts at 11:45 a.m. (MT) Tuesday and is expected to end between 3:15 and 4:15. It will be available online at TourTracker and will be televised beginning at 4 p.m. (ET) on Versus.

Gretsch, pictured at top
in the Tour of Romandie prologue, is a time trial specialist for HTC
Highroad. He won the prologue at the Ster ZLM Toer this year. HTC
Highroad announced that it would disband at the end of the season after
being unable to find a sponsor for 2012.

Top 10 overall

1. Patrick Gretsch (Ger) HTC-Highroad
2. Christian Vande Velde (USA) Garmin Cervelo – 2 seconds
3. Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing – 4 seconds
4. Robert Forster (Ger) UnitedHealthCare – 6 seconds
5. Jens Voight (Ger) Leopard Trek – 7 seconds
6. George Hincapie (USA) BMC – 7 seconds
7. Levi Leipheimer (USA) RadioShack – 8 seconds
8. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) HTC Highroad – 8 seconds
9. Cadel Evans (Australia) BMC – 9 seconds
10. Ryan Roth (Can) – Spidertech – 11 seconds

Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2011/08/22/celebrating-the-first-usa-pro-cycling-challenge/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.