With an impressively strong performance in an incredibly hard stage, Javier Megias keeps all chances open for the general classification during the second part of the USA Pro Challenge. The 29-year-old from Madrid finished 17th in the 202.9km (126.1m) stage from Aspen to Breckenridge and holds the 19th position overall, only 46 seconds behind the new leader Lachlan Morton (Team Garmin-Sharp from New Zealand. The Swiss Mathias Frank from Team BMC won the stage after he broke away from the field on the Boreas Pass 4km before the finish line. Megias finished 44 seconds behind as the fastest rider of Team Novo Nordisk.
“This was a difficult stage,” says Megias. “The climbs were extremely long and hard. My group fought to enter the leader’s group at the last climb. And on the descent I went full gas – so I finished 17th, but I came in with the first group. I’m happy with that and feel good for the upcoming days.” This is the second strong finish for Megias in North America’s most important race. In stage 1, he came in just 5 seconds behind stage winner Peter Sagan, and finished 23rd after the 102,7km (63.8m) with start and finis in Aspen. Megias remained a main protagonist and was represented in a breakaway group until only a few kilometers before the finish in the Rocky Mountains.
“It was great to see Javier working in the first group,” says Vassili Davidenko, Corporate Vice President Cycling Operations for Team Novo Nordisk, “but the other riders did well, too. Joonas did a great job and remained in the front, and Kevin presented himself in the break. The race is only beginning and riders are in good overall position. Unfortunately, Chris had to abandon. All week he struggled with altitude, and today it got him.“
The riders passed the Independence Pass on the Continental Divide of the Rock Mountains at 3687m (12,095ft) above sea level – one of the highest point in professional cycling. The stage finale consisted of the Hoosier Pass just before Breckenridge and the Boreas Pass only 4km before the finish presenting two more challenges for the riders before the end of this difficult stage of the Pro Challenge.
Another very active rider was the Belgian Kevin de Mesmaeker from Team Novo Nordisk. The 22-year-old had made it successfully into a breakaway group, however he was caught again later. And Joonas Henttala from Finland sits 14th overall as Best Young Rider.
Tomorrow’s third stage of the USA Pro Challenge will be 179km (106.2m) and leads from Breckenridge to Steamboat Springs.