Telluride, Colorado – Stage One of the 2012 USA Pro Challenge started off with a bang in Durango, Colorado earlier today and did not let up until the riders bolted across the finish line 125.7miles/202.2km later in Telluride, where the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team’s Rory Sutherland (AUS) sprinted to a fifth place finish in the action-packed opening stanza of “America’s Race.” Sutherland finished just behind stage winner Tyler Farrar (USA) of Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda, Team Type 1-SANOFI’s Alessandro Bazzana (ITA) who took second place, and third place finisher, Damiano Caruso (ITA) of Liquigas-Cannondale. Veteran Fred Rodriguez (USA) from Team Exergy edged out Sutherland for fourth place.
The intensity of Stage One began with an electrifying five-mile loop through Durango that encompassed most of the town before the peloton hit the open road to face the many challenges it presented. The riders pushed through three King of the Mountains (KOM) and traversed down rapid descents where speeds reached upwards of 50-60mph, leaving no room for error or hesitation as they raced feverishly down the 15-mile descent into the narrow streets of the majestic mountain city of Telluride.
General Manager and Team Director, Mike Tamayo, said, “Today was a GC race and Garmin definitely came out swinging. From the start, they put everyone on their back foot. We pitched in a couple of guys as we were hoping for a smaller group sprint and took responsibility with 15km to go over the last King of the Mountain (KOM) knowing that we had Rory in the group. Tyler Farrar did a great job making that front group and he’s obviously one of the fastest riders. Rory did his best sprinting against him and I’m pleased with today’s result.
Following the race, Sutherland spoke about the Team’s effort, saying, “I was talking with the guys earlier about the start of the race. We (the peloton) went out of town so fast and it (the field) just completely blew to pieces. It was nonstop from the start. In the neutral laps people were moving up and pushing a lot because everyone knew we were going up that hill and position is obviously important.”
“The boys worked really hard today and one of the great things about this Team is that even if we don’t win at the end, we give it everything we’ve got. We put our guys in there to ride the front in the beginning and at the end we take responsibility and see what we can do. Already we have a better result here at the Pro Challenge than last year by not thinking about the GC too much but thinking about the stages. That’s also one of the reasons we had success at (The Larry H. Miller Tour of) Utah.”
Stage Two of the Pro Challenge begins tomorrow morning, August 22, at 11:25am MT and will see the peloton travel 99miles/159.3km from Montrose to Crested Butte, passing through Gunnison before a grueling two mile climb to the finish atop Mt. Crested Butte.
Tour of Portugal Update
UnitedHealthcare continues to build positive momentum at the Tour of Portugal. Jonny Clarke (AUS) put forth a tremendous effort earlier today, staying in the break most of the afternoon and attacking with 5km to go in the 85km stage. Now halfway through the 11-day stage race where the Team has amassed several KOM jerseys and held the yellow jersey and Team Classification for the first three stages before relinquishing them, the boys will continue their strong effort in Portugal tomorrow, August 21.
TEAM UNITEDHEALTHCARE ROSTER FOR THE 2012 USA PRO CHALLENGE (August 20-26):
Rory Sutherland (USA)
Jeff Louder (USA)
Robert Förster (GER)
Jake Keough (USA)
Chris Jones (USA)
Ben Day (AUS)
Karl Menzies (AUS)
Danny Summerhill (USA)
TEAM UNITEDHEALTHCARE ROSTER FOR THE 2012 VOLTA A PORTUGAL (August 15-26):
Jonny Clarke (AUS)
Marc de Maar (CUR)
Davide Frattini (ITA)
Jason McCartney (USA)
Kai Reus (NED)
Jay Thomson (RSA)
Boy van Poppel (NED)
Brad White (USA)
Hilton Clarke (AUS)
Team Director: Hendrik Redant (BEL)
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