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Colorado UPCC Stage 4 Podium Predictions

August 19, 2011

This podium predictions piece will curate points of view from riders, the media, and other experts on how this stage might shake out.

Embedded here is a profile of the course: 2011 UPCC stage 4 Profile

Cyclingnews, Bruce Hildenbrand: “Stage 4 from Avon to Steamboat Springs offers 83 miles of rolling terrain with no significant climbs and looks to be a day for stage hunters or the sprinters.” This story includes commentary from Peter Stetina, Chris Horner, and veteran Andy Hampsten.

Bicycling, Joe Lindsey: “There are still five KOMs on today’s stage, but it’s billed as one of the few sprint finishes in the race. Expect an early break of KOM contenders who are far enough down in the overall standings after the TT that the pack will let them go. With the last summit at 38.8 miles in and a long, downhill coast to Steamboat via the flatter back way that avoids Rabbit Ears Pass, this one’s all coming back together.” [note: this was written earlier in the summer. The spectator timetable shows no KOMs on this stage, despite 5,000 feet of climbing.] “the rolling terrain of Stage 4, with a net elevation change of 5000 feet from start to finish [note: this means feet climbed], will provide spectators with one of the more interesting and dramatic days of racing.  Without significant climbs or high-speed descents, cyclists have numerous opportunities for breakaways, fighting for every mile of pavement and risking everything for King of the Mountain and sprint line points.” Hmm, this sounds a bit over-dramatic to me, but OK.

The Velo boys: “Stage 4 may be the best opportunity for a bunch sprint. After undulating roads to Steamboat Springs, the run into town is all downhill.” (from 2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge Official Guide)

None of these folks suggested names of riders who could win; of course, who would be so nutty as to make a prediction in bike races when so many things could happen. There could be crosswinds on the way down to the finish from the highest point of the day, 8,500 feet, which could make it a combined GC / sprinter’s finish. There could be a thunderstorm at the finish that would disrupt the sprinters’ teams.

UPCC Steamboat Springs Finish Map (mapmyride)

Using the spectator timetable and street detail from mapmy ride, it looks to be a 2.1 mile straight run into the finish, a more pure sprinter’s finish. If there are any break-away guys, assuming no crosswinds break-up the field, the straight finish favors catching them with a sprinter’s win.

From the preliminary roster so far we have these sprinters who are or close to pure sprinters:

  • Fast Freddie Rodriguez (Exergy)
  • Daniel Oss (Liquigas-Cannondale)
  • Robert Forster (UnitedHealthcare)
  • Kenny van Hummel (Skil-Shimano)

In addition, Carlos Alzate (Exergy) just won the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix, and Elia Viviani (Liquigas) sprinted well in stage 2 of the Tour of Utah. Other sprinters slated to race include Javier Megias Leal (Team Type 1) who won a hard second place on stage 4 of the Tour of Utah, Frank Pipp (Bissell), and Ken Hanson (Jelly Belly).

The Liquigas men have been strong recently, as have the Exergy boys. Carlos is having a good season. Here is the ProVéloPassion stage 4 podium prediction:

Carlos Edurardo Alzate Escobar (Exergy website)

1. Carlos Alzate (Exergy)

2. Elia Viviani (Liquigas)

3. Robert Forster (UnitedHealthcare)

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