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Stage 1 Surprises and Confirmations

August 24, 2011

Stage 1 of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge delivered a very exciting finish. Surprises and confirmed expectations defined the day.

Surprises

  • Levi Leipheimer attacking uphill in an explosive finish
  • Frank Schleck finishing third, 53 seconds ahead of brother Andy who spent more time than Frank at altitude
  • Sergio Henao unable to catch Leipheimer at the finish. Perhaps not unexpected when remembering the grade up to the finish is 4% — perhaps not steep enough to suit Henao.
  • The “slower” pace; I expected more attacks from the Colombians to intensify the pace. Is everybody saving something up for stages 2 and 3?

Confirmations

(l to r) Beltran, Suarez, staff, Pedraza of EPM-UNE, UPCC Prologue (Mary Topping)

  • The Colombian teams want to do well. Beltran captured the polka dot jersey.
  • A strong finish by Robert Gesink at 10 seconds behind Leipheimer confirms Gesink is here to win.
  • Crossing the line 28 seconds behind the winner reveals Timmy Duggan and Lucas Euser are on good form; one can say the same of Alex Hagman who finished just behind these TIAA-Cref alums.
  • Three Team Exergy men lead the peloton about 20 miles from the finish; they believe they are a strong team and they proved it today.

Prediction Score

The ProVéloPassion Podium Prediction for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge UPCC stage 1:

  1. Jens Voigt
  2. Tom Danielson
  3. Matt Goss (if he comes)

The actual placings:

    1. Levi Leipheimer, (RSH) in 4:29:22
    2. Sergio Henao Montoya (GOB) +04″
    3. Frank Schleck (LEO) +07″

This looks like a worse performance than yesterday. The prediction was for one guy out of the break-away to survive, which was Jens. He didn’t get into the day’s break and placed #47, one minute eleven seconds behind Levi. Tom placed #10, 18 seconds behind. Matt Goss is not riding the UPCC. With hindsight what happened is probably pretty much how Levi described the stage at the finish: most were taking it kind of easy to gauge their reaction to altitude and how they were feeling.

Favorites

Favorite quote of the day: Levi Leipheimer just after he won the stage, “I guess in my old age I’m learning some new tricks.”

Favorite image of the day: Riders after the finish, breathing. (for this photo in a larger size, click here.)

Barely upright at finish of UPCC stage 1 (Jonathan Devich, cyclingnews.com

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