The Tour Ends and the Pro Cycling Challenge Begins!
As the 99th Tour de France came to a conclusion it was quite clear that the Brits had taken control of the cycling world. Even though Fabian Cancellara (RNT) came out in true form and dominated the prologue stage in Liege. He conceded almost 2 minutes to Bradley Wiggins (Sky) on Stage 7, which finished on top of a Category 1 climb leading to La Planche des Belles Filles. The yellow jersey was in British hands, and that’s where it would stay. This is the first time since 1977 that the yellow jersey has had only 2 owners. With stellar performance after stellar performance, British domination became clear as Wiggins and Froome (Sky) quickly bubbled to the top of the general classifications. In fact after stage 11 the Brits locked into place the first and second position in general classification all the way to the Champs-Elysees. After Wiggins secured his victory during the final time trial, the final day on the Champs-Elysees was strictly a formality. Wiggins however showed true class when he helped lead out fellow teammate (and fellow Brit) Mark Cavendish for a fourth successive victory on the Champs-Elysees. The Brits took first and second overall (Wiggins/Froome) and won seven stages between Cavendish (Sky) and Millar (Garmin-Sharp). Guess those British riders already had Olympic fever, huh?
While Briton seemed unstoppable, one young local Boulder rider, Tejay van Garderen (BMC) was on their wheels every day ready to steal the victory if Team Sky made even one mistake. While Tejay was brought to the tour to help protect defending champion Cadel Evans (BMC), it became clear that Tejay was in fact the dominant rider. During several stages Tejay was forced to slow down and wait for Evans to catch up. This leads to the obvious speculation: If Tejay would have been the GC (general classification) rider for BMC instead of Evans would the British domination of Team
Sky been able to prevail?
With the Tour behind us and the Tour of Utah finishing up, all eyes in the cycling world turn to Colorado. This week 100+ of the worlds best cyclists descend on Colorado for the USA Pro cycling challenge. This year the riders face a 683-mile race with 42,000 feet of climbing, including nine mountain passes (three of which exceed 12,000 feet), and three mountain top finishes. With Team Sky NOT participating it will be incredibly interesting to watch who is able to come out and dominate this years race; My bets are on Tejay! This Boulder local finished third last year and finished forth over all in this years Tour de France. Teejay is known to be an incredible climber, a key feature to win this year’s race. In addition Tejay has a powerhouse of riders supporting him including Evans, Hincapie, Tschopp and Phinney!
However, it will by no means be an easy victory for BMC as several spectacular teams are scheduled to race and are hungry for victory. Radioshack-Nissan-Trek (RNT) will be present and in full force, RNT won the overall team standings in both the Tour de France and the Tour of Utah. Garmin-Sharp comes packing Colorado native and local favorite Tommy D, who had a strong showing last year as well as last years second place winner Christian VanderVelde. With all the big teams and names present it will truly be anyone’s race. Who do you think will conquer the mountains and secure this years yellow jersey? With that said, we all know just like the race slogan suggests: The Mountain Changes Everything.
So grab a delicious Colorado beer and let the racing begin. We’ll see you in Golden at the block party Friday night to welcome the riders who will take off for Stage 6 on Saturday morning, August 25. What better way to celebrate the challenge than to relay race with the MyHandleBar bikes! Woo hoo!!
Courtesy of Josh- avid Boulder cyclist and collegiate racer