Team RadioShack’s Levi Leipheimer Rises to the Top to Win the Inaugural 2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge in the Mile-High CityDaniel Oss of Liquigas-Cannondale Wins the Final Stage of the Race and Garmin-Cervelo Took the Overall Team Win
DENVER (August 28, 2011) – After seven challenging days of racing through the Colorado Rockies, Levi Leipheimer (USA) of Team RadioShack was crowned the first-ever champion of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in front of a monumental crowd in downtown Denver. Daniel Oss (ITA) of Liquigas-Cannondale outsprinted teammate Elia Viviani (ITA) and took the final stage after an exciting battle for the lead on the route from Golden to Denver, which had an estimated crowd of 250,000 spectators.
“It’s hard to put into words and to describe the emotion and experience that I’ve had this week,” said Leipheimer. “Today has been the biggest crowd that I’ve seen in the U.S. and that is really saying something. This race really raised the bar for American cycling. This victory means so much to me because of the way we raced this week. It took every ounce of energy and motivation we had to pull it off.”
Another highly anticipated course, the final stage took the riders 73.8 miles on the route from Golden to Denver where a champion would be crowned in front of the State Capitol Building. Against bright blue skies under a blazing sun the race began with a short neutral start and a northern loop out of town. The riders went past the start line in downtown Golden a second time then headed out of town to make the challenging ride toward the first and only KOM of the day – Lookout Mountain.
After a fast descent at 40 mph down the winding roads of Lookout Mountain, the cyclists passed through the start line in Golden a third time, giving spectators another taste of the race action. A breakaway formed on the ride into Denver and included Oscar Sevilla (COL) of Gobernacion de Antioquia, Javier Megias (ESP) of Team Type 1-sanofi, Lachlan Norris (AUS) of HTC-Highroad and Matt Cooke (USA) of Team Exergy.
With fans lined up 5-10 deep along the entire route, those lining the finishing circuits in Denver were in for a great race as the route included six laps of a nearly five-mile circuit around the State Capitol Building.
With four laps to go, Megias made a move of the front of the break and took off leaving the others to get swallowed up by the chase group. Riding ahead of the group for a while, he eventually was reeled back in with two laps to go. Heading into the final laps of the race, Liquigas-Cannondale, HTC-Highroad and Team RadioShack lined up on the front to prepare to send their riders in for the win. Another small break formed, but was quickly reeled back. In a battle to the finish line between Oss, Tejay Van Garderen (USA) of HTC-Highroad and Viviani, Oss took the stage win.
And while everyone celebrated the race finale today, organizers had already been looking ahead.
“I just spoke to Steve Johnson (USA Cycling CEO) and he said the crowd was the largest he’d seen in any stage race in U.S. history – that makes this a great first-year event,” said Shawn Hunter, co-chairman and CEO of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. “We’re excited for the state and for the communities we visited and passed through over the last week. We will be back and we’ll be even bigger next year.”
The final jerseys were awarded to the following riders. Leipheimer retained the Quiznos Leader Jersey. Viviani took the Smashburger Sprint Jersey. Van Garderen kept the Sheets Best Young Rider’s Jersey, which he held since day one of the race. The Nissan King of the Mountain (KOM) Jersey was awarded to Montiel. And the Exergy Most Aggressive Jersey went to Timothy Duggan (USA) of Liquigas-Cannondale for his performance at the front of the chase group and his attack into the final lap.
For full results, archived footage, GPS data, course information, race play-by-play and more, please visit the official race website www.usaprocyclingchallenge.com.