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Lucas Euser faces a showdown with his ambitions on Flagstaff Mountain

August 25, 2012

Lucas Euser before Stage 4 in Aspen in the SpiderTech p/b C10 bus

Some athletes prefer not to set expectations going into events; it puts too much pressure on them. Pressure has the opposite effect on Lucas Euser (SpiderTech p/b C10). “It fuels me,” he said in Aspen on Thursday morning. “I’ve always been able to handle pressure really well in my whole life. I’m just now figuring out how to do it in cycling.”

Pressure is good, Euser said, because it provides a carrot to produce that extra push of effort. He arrived in Durango for the USA Pro Challenge this year with big ambitions: a stage win and standing on the overall podium in Denver this Sunday.

Euser has ridden aggressively in Colorado. It’s yielded a high GC result but so far no stage win. After summiting Independence Pass and speeding into Aspen for 15th place on Stage 3, he felt frustrated. “I’ve been so close in the last two races, getting closer and closer,” he said on Thursday morning. “And that’s a good thing. I’m happy that I’m frustrated – I could be frustrated for completely other reasons. I’m riding really well and I like that, it feels good. But I want to win a bike race.”

Euser’s climbing skills outshine his time trial. To realize his ambitions he must master the Flagstaff uphill finish today. As each day in the race has brought Flagstaff closer, Euser’s excitement has been building. He loves that climb. He knows it by heart.

At the Stage 4 arrival into Beaver Creek where riders clutched barricades after the finish line to stay upright and catch their breath, Euser once again finished with the leaders.

“This is one of the hardest races I’ve ever done – the combination of the course, all the guys that brought the big-boy pants, and the altitude,” he said in Beaver Creek.  “It will be hard on Flagstaff and everyone will try. It might not be as explosive as people want, but we’re going to go. We’re going to try to win this race.”

Going into Stage 6 Euser holds 11th place on GC. Despite the frustration and the difficulty of the race, he appears to be enjoying every minute. Two hundred meters from the top of Hoosier Pass yesterday he glimpsed the thick rows of fans that lined both sides of the road up to the KOM arch. An enormous smile lit up his face.

Lucas Euser (center) on Hoosier Pass, Stage 5 of USA Pro Challenge

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