Leipheimer Retains the Overall Lead with Two Decisive Days of Racing to Go
(August 26, 2011) STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, COLO. – Clear blue skies and remarkable crowds welcomed the riders to the Stage 4 finish in Steamboat Springs, as 22-year-old Elia Viviani (ITA) took a strong lead-out from teammate Daniel Oss of Liquigas-Cannondale and outsprinted the field to take the win. After another impressive day of racing, Levi Leipheimer (USA) of Team RadioShack retained the overall lead and will wear the Quiznos Leader Jersey heading into the penultimate stage tomorrow, which takes the riders from Steamboat Springs to Breckenridge.
“Today was a nice day because it was a little bit shorter and flat, and I think all the riders were looking forward to that – it’s nice to have a mixture of stages,” said Leipheimer. “While I was riding I had the chance to look around and it was just breathtaking. Through all the communities you could tell that the entire population had come out to cheer us on and that was really nice.”
With beautiful weather against a stunning backdrop, Stage 4 of the race, which would take the riders on an 82.8-mile route to Steamboat Springs, began with two neutral laps around the city of Avon. Although there were no categorized KOMs on this stage, it was filled with rolling hills through beautiful ranching country that would still prove to make a challenging route.
A breakaway of three riders formed early in the stage and included Stefen Denifl (AUT) of Team Leopard-Trek, Cristhian Montoya (COL) of Gobernacion de Antioquia and Janier Acevedo (COL) also of Gobernacion de Antioquia. They were chased and soon joined by a duo from Team Type 1-sanofi Vladimir Efimkin (RUS) and Rubens Bertogliati (SUI). The breakaway of five managed to maintain a two-minute lead over the peloton for a good part of the race.
In the only sprint competition of the day, Denifil crossed the line at Oak Creek first, followed by Acevedo and Bertogliati. With no KOMs in the stage, the riders would focus on the stage win for the rest of the day.
With the entire Liquigas-Cannondale squad leading the chase at an average speed of 25 mph, the break was swallowed up with 4.5 miles to go to the finish in Steamboat Springs. With a wide, open road ahead the pack was spread out across the road. In the final stretch heading into the finish various riders and teams went to the front to go for the win, but ultimately the Liquigas-Cannondale team was able to get Viviani across the line first, followed by Michael Morkov (DEN) of Saxo Bank SunGard and Kenny Van Hummel (NED) of Skil-Shimano.
Leipheimer retained the Quiznos Leader Jersey. Viviani took the Smashburger Sprint Jersey. Van Garderen kept the Sheets Best Young Rider’s Jersey for the fifth straight day. The Nissan King of the Mountain (KOM) Jersey was once again awarded to Walter Pedraza Morales (COL) of UNE-EPM. And the Exergy Most Aggressive Jersey went to Efimkin.
Images by Eddie Clark
Images by Shawn Lortie
STAGE 5 TOMORROW:
Saturday, August 27 – Steamboat Springs to Breckenridge (105.8 mi/170.2 km)
Start Time: 11:20 a.m. MT
Estimated Finish Time: 3:30 – 4:15 p.m. MT
Satellite Feed Time: 5:30 – 5:45 p.m. MT
The celebration in Steamboat moves to Werner Mountain, where the cyclists will take off under the watchful eye of Steamboat’s primary ski hill. This will be another opportunistic stage with ample opportunities for breakaways and aggressive racing, but this time with a true mountain pass. Following US 40 south and east out of town, the double-summit Rabbit Ears Pass will host a King of the Mountain line and ample viewing opportunities. After a sprint line in Kremmling the riders will travel alongside the scenic Green Mountain Reservoir on Colorado Route 9. After winding through Dillon, Keystone and the final KOM on Swan Mountain the cyclists will enter Breckenridge and race to the finish line downtown at Main and Wellington St., ending 106 miles of racing in what may prove to be the fastest road race finish during the seven day tour.
How To Watch the 2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge
Fans can view the race on the daily VERSUS broadcasts. Stage 2 will air live on VERSUS tomorrow at 2 p.m. MT.
In addition to the broadcast, fans can follow the 2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge with THE SHACK Tour Tracker. Available on the race website, as well as through a free app in the Android Market and the iTunes store, the 2011 THE SHACK Tour Tracker includes:
• Live video coverage of every stage
• Up-to-the-minute text updates during the race
• GPS tracking and interactive maps
• Daily results and overall standings
• Photo feed from the race
• Stage previews, including overviews, maps and profiles
• Team and rider listings
For full results, archived footage, GPS data, course information, race play-by-play and more, please visit the official race website www.usaprocyclingchallenge.com.