Photography by Darrell Parks – www.darrellparks.com –
A couple people showed up to watch the first stage of the first ever USA Pro Cycling Challenge.
The downhill 8km prologue was an absolute drag race.
Christian Vande Velde was the first of the high-powered Garmin-Cervelo team to go. It was the first time he had ever started first out of his team – his early start apparently didn’t hurt him at all though, as he eventually netted second on the day.
Brent Bookwalter was also an early starter. He took his early go and ran, er, pedaled all the way to 3rd place with it.
Honey Stinger was alive and buoyant on the course.
Patrick Gretsch was the 22nd rider off. He was the fastest overall for his second TT win of 2011.
Zabriskie was hailed as a favorite, but fell short – he finished 16th.
Ivan Basso is a welcomed entrant at the first ever USA Pro Cycling Challenge. His opening Prologue was nothing to write home about, but that’s to be expected.
Same with Andy Schleck – huge coup to get him to Colorado, not much to be expected in the Prologue.
Jeff Louder, who did not earn a contract extension from BMC for 2012, goes into Colorado looking for a 2012 deal. His 12th place on the day should say something of his abilities.
See Andy Schleck and Ivan Basso above.
Tejay Van Garderen was a favorite for the win – he eventually took 8th and the Best Young Rider award.
Recent Tour of Utah winner, Levi Leipheimer, was another possibility for the win in Day One, but he took seventh on the day.
Overall favorite, Tom Danielson, put in a respectable performance to take 20th, 17 seconds behind Gretsch.
Cadel Evans’ first race back since the Tour de France went fairly well – he was 9th.
The prologue podium: Patrick Gretsch, Christian Vande Velde, and Brent Bookwalter.
Gretsch is in yellow.
HTC-Highroad took all the jerseys: leader, young rider, and most aggressive (Colorad Springs native, Danny Pate).
Van Garderen enjoys some kisses.
1 Patrick Gretsch (Ger) HTC-Highroad 0:08:28
2 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo 0:00:02
3 Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:04
4 Robert Fцrster (Ger) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling 0:00:05
5 Jens Voigt (Ger) Leopard Trek 0:00:07
6 George Hincapie (USA) BMC Racing Team
7 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Team RadioShack 0:00:08
8 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) HTC-Highroad
9 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team
10 Ryan Roth (Can) Team Spidertech Powered By C10 0:00:10
11 Danny Pate (USA) HTC-Highroad 0:00:11
12 Jeffry Louder (USA) BMC Racing Team
13 Carlos Eduardo Alzate Escobar (Col) Team Exergy 0:00:13
14 Adrian Hegyvary (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling 0:00:14
15 Rory Sutherland (Aus) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling 0:00:15
16 David Zabriskie (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo
17 Benjamin King (USA) Team RadioShack 0:00:16
18 Stef Clement (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
19 Francois Parisien (Can) Team Spidertech Powered By C10 0:00:17
20 Thomas Danielson (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo