– Words: Travis Dixon, Pics: Angelica Dixon –
It’s Saturday night before the 7th and final stage of the US Pro Challenge. We pull up to the sign that read, ‘Road closed – Bike Race on 8/24 from 5AM to’ ….
“But the stage is tomorrow!”
I looked at the time and date on my phone to confirm that it was still in fact 8/23. Yeah, I know, I can be just a tad dim at times. So much for our course recon for Sundays stage. We decided to check out historic Golden Colorado, where the race would be coming through and the climb up Lookout Mountain began.
A large crowd was gathered in the city park to watch a movie. I stopped the car, “No way, American Flyers!” Angelica had never seen this classic and wonderfully cheesy movie about bike racing. It’s actually pretty cool as it was filmed on the Colorado roads used in the Coors Classic, the race used as the center piece of the movie. We joined the crowd and gobbled up the cheesy goodness!
Sunday morning, Boulder was the start to the final stage. I’m not sure if there’s a town more tied historically and currently with cycling. The start was an incredible scene with thousands of people milling around. I texted an old riding buddy, who lived a few blocks away, to see if he was hanging around the start of the race. He sarcastically replied, “What race?” … And some choose to avoid the scene.
Earlier, we got Angelica all set for her Moto ride today. Her driver, Mike, seemed like a solid guy and that’s what you want when your wife hops onto the back of a photo moto! The two of them worked well together and she had an awesome day zipping around the course.
I skipped the start in order to get over to Lookout Mountain. I was able to ride up to the point we had discussed for some shots just before she and Mike arrived. The race must’ve been blazing fast, which Angelica confirmed with a huge smile – she was clearly enjoying herself!
Jens was drilling the break on what was his last day of racing. Angelica said, “I’m not sure what he was saying but he is constantly talking, well, yelling at the other riders in the break to work.” Jens was gonna go out in style. His style.
After the race passed, I got back on my bike and finished the climb. I ran into an old riding buddy from back in the day, friends made during the week, and had a beer with the guys at Boo Bicycles. Once the crowds had thinned the descent was oh so fun!
The race finished with 4 circuit laps in the heart of Denver, CO. The lead group with Jens, drove the pace, but was unable to hold off the peloton. It was a large group sprint to the finish, but no fairy tale win for Jens. He later stated that he wouldn’t have wanted it any other way, as he would never accept being ‘gifted’ a stage.
BMC took the team GC and their own Tejay took the individual GC for the second year in a row.
Jens decided to end his career in Colorado and it was a privilege to watch him tear up the roads. He spoke one last time to the crowd, “I think I can say I’ve got a really strong fan base here! So, it seemed like a natural ending. So the circle is closed now and so now I can become old and fat!”
Stage 7 Results:
1 Alex Howes (USA) Team Garmin-Sharp 2:45:20
2 Kiel Reijnen (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
3 Michael Schär (Sui) BMC Racing Team
4 Serghei Tvetcov (Rou) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis
5 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo
6 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team
7 Jesse Anthony (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
8 Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team
9 Janier Alexis Acevedo Colle (Col) Team Garmin-Sharp
10 Carter Jones (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
Final General Classification:
1 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 20:05:42
2 Thomas Danielson (USA) Team Garmin-Sharp 0:01:32
3 Serghei Tvetcov (Rou) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis 0:01:45
4 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:01:49
5 Matthew Busche (USA) Trek Factory Racing 0:03:11
6 Joseph Rosskopf (USA) Hincapie Sportswear Development 0:03:31
7 Bartosz Huzarski (Pol) Team Netapp-Endura 0:03:35
8 Carter Jones (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies 0:03:43
9 Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:03:44
10 Bruno Pires (Por) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:05:35
11 Julian Kyer (USA) Team SmartStop 0:05:51
12 Clement Chevrier (Fra) Bissell Development Team 0:06:31
13 Alex Howes (USA) Team Garmin-Sharp 0:07:07
14 Pawel Poljanski (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:07:32
15 Riccardo Zoidl (Aut) Trek Factory Racing 0:07:49