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USA Pro Challenge “surprise favorites” update, with Matthew Busche

August 22, 2012

Matthew Busche after Stage 2 finish, 2012 USA Pro Challenge

Matthew Busche (Radioshack-Nissan-Trek) faced at least two firsts on Tuesday. He tackled the first of three uphill finishes in the USA Pro Challenge, Stage 2’s finale into Mt. Crested Butte. After crossing the line, leaning over his bike to find a bit of rest, he shared his thoughts on the finish he rode for the first time. Busche did not participate in the USA Pro Challenge last year.

“I didn’t know what to expect exactly,” he said. “I think I’ve been trying to find my legs again after Utah. It was a hard week in-between [Utah and Colorado]. I was definitely tired.”

Chris Horner after Stage 2 finish, 2012 USA Pro Challenge

Busche found at least one of his legs, if not nearly both, crossing the finish line with a handful of riders that included teammate Chris Horner and just 12 seconds behind stage winner Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing Team).

After losing his position when riders bunched up at the bottom of the final 3.4 kilometer climb he found his way “relatively easily” back to the front of the leading group.

“The climb, it just started fast and I think it just got faster and faster. I tried to stay within myself but I knew that I couldn’t lose too much time. I think I lost 10 or 11 seconds on the line, but I’m still pretty happy with the finish.”

Speaking about the legs that carried him to a second overall in the Tour of Utah, Busche said, “Hopefully they’re coming around here, in the next few stages I’ll be good and can stay with the guys in the front.”

His efforts on the first two stages keep Busche in the race as a “surprise favorite” for a podium finish in Denver. He sits 13th on GC twelve seconds off the lead with five days of racing still ahead.

View down course from Mt. Crested Butte USA Pro Challenge finish line

Assuming seconds and not minutes will again separate the leaders like last year’s edition of the race, another favorite, Rory Sutherland (UnitedHealthcare) fell out of contention today for a top three overall result when he gave up 53 seconds. Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team) lost contact with the top contenders when he finished 12:43 back into Telluride on Monday in the first stage, as did Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) who lost 1:46 there.

On the way to Crested Butte

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