Boulder resident Taylor Phinney shines in the opening stage of the USA Pro Challenge, featuring huge crowds and some of the best cyclists in the world.
Denver, CO. (August 17, 2015) – The crowds in Steamboat Springs were some of the largest in USA Pro Challenge history when local Boulder resident Taylor Phinney sprinted to the finish and win the opening stage of the USA Pro Challenge. For the 25-year-old Phinney it was an emotional return to cycling in his home state after a devastating crash almost ended his cycling career 15 months ago.
“I was pretty much blown away crossing the finish line and it’s going to take awhile to fully process the whole day,” said Taylor Phinney. “I can tell you crossing the finish line and the roar of the crowd was really special and it was really emotional and was the electric moment that we all live for.”
Phinney outsprinted training partner Kiel Reijnen of the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling team and BMC Racing teammate Brent Bookwalter of BMC Racing, who took second and third, respectively.
“It was an incredible day in Steamboat Springs and we had the biggest crowds we’ve seen at the start of any of our races,” said Shawn Hunter, CEO of USA Pro Challenge. “The impact on the community is tremendous with 100% occupancy in the hotels, and that’s a wonderful thing besides seeing the best cyclists in the world.”
The race featured an early breakaway of six riders that were caught on the second of two 49-mile circuits around Routt County in and around Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The breakaway eventually got caught about 25 miles to the finish while a series of counter breakaways, including one by Phinney’s teammate Rohan Dennis, followed. Eventually, the peloton caught the final breakaway and re-grouped before the flat run-in to the finish on Main Street in Steamboat Springs. Bookwalter helped lead out Phinney, who propelled himself to the win.
Tuesday’s Stage 2 from Steamboat Springs to Arapahoe Ski Base outside of Keystone, Colo., will be one of the most critical stage of the race. The finish features a five-mile climb to the finish at more than 10,000 feet.
Phinney said, half joking: “I will just kinda prance around in yellow a couple of hours tomorrow,” Phinney said. “It will be a difficult prance, but, that’s how this race goes, and that’s how we like it.”
For the jerseys, Taylor Phinney (USA) of BMC Racing Team takes the Smashburger Race Leader Jersey. While Kiel Reijnen (USA) of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team gets his hands on the Lexus Sprint Jersey and Jonathan Clarke (AUS) of United Healthcare Team takes home the Sierra Nevada King of the Mountain Jersey. The Colorado State University Best Young Rider Jersey is Logan Owen (USA) of Axeon Cycling Team. Today’s FirstBank Most Aggressive Rider Jersey was awarded to Guillaume Boivin (MDA) of Jelly Belly P/B Maxxis for his tremendous ride.
STAGE 2 TOMORROW:
Tuesday, Aug. 18 – Steamboat Springs to A-Basin
Start Time: 10:55 a.m. MT
Estimated Finish Time: 3:35 p.m. MT
Satellite Feed Time: 5 p.m. – 5:15 p.m MT / 7 p.m. – 7:15 p.m. EST
Fans can view the race on the daily NBC Sports Group broadcasts. The Stage 2 schedule is as follows:
In addition to the broadcast, fans can follow the 2015 USA Pro Challenge with the Tour Tracker. Available on the race website, as well as through a free download on iTunes and Google Play, the Tour Tracker includes:
To watch live race coverage, go to www.prochallenge.com/tourtracker
For a complete roster listing, go to: http://prochallenge.com/the-competition/mens-teams
Referred to as “America’s Race,” the USA Pro Challenge will take place August 17-23, 2015. For seven consecutive days, the world’s top athletes race through the majestic Colorado Rockies, reaching higher altitudes than they’ve ever had to endure. The inaugural Women’s USA Pro Challenge is a three-day invitation-only event and will kick off in Breckenridge on August 21st and conclude in Golden on August 23rd. One of the largest cycling events in U.S. history and the largest spectator event in the history of the state, the USA Pro Challenge is back for 2015. Featuring a challenging course, the fifth annual race will spotlight the best of the best in professional cycling and some of America’s most beautiful scenery.