Last week, the TrainingPeaks team spent their days following the USA Pro Cycling Challenge across Colorado, through some of the most beautiful parts of the state. This was the first year for the USAPCC and we're excited to have partnered with the event to bring a world-class cycling race to our home state. In addition to being its inagural year, the USAPCC is the only race in American cycling history to have the entire TdF podium present and racing.
To say it was a memorable and exciting week is an understatement. We had a great time meeting lots of our current customers who came out to watch the race and had lots of opportunities to talk to new faces about what TrainingPeaks is and how it can work for them. We handed out thousands of cowbells, bottles of sunscreen, sunglasses, stickers, t-shirts, and other prizes. If you had a chance to stop by and say Hi, thank you! If we missed you, hopefully we'll get a chance to get together in the future.
And as usual, we were collecting and analyzing power files from top riders each and every day. If you missed any of the data (or some of our funny video blogs), here's a recap of the week.
2011 USA PRO CYCLING CHALLENGE
Before the race...
- Dirk Friel interviews UnitedHealthcare rider, Rory Sutherland, about how he's been preparing for the race.
- Rory Sutherland uses TrainingPeaks to train for the USAPCC.
- UnitedHealthcare Team Physiologist, Inigo San Millan, discusses how the altitude affects riders.
Prologue: Monday, August 22 (Garden of the Gods to CO Springs -- 5.18mi)
The only totally downhill stage. The winner, 24 year old time-trial specialist, Patrick Gretsch (HTC), was a bit of a surprise. The course was slightly technical, with a tough left turn leading into the final four miles and Gretsch was aggressive where other GC contenders weren’t (he says, because he knew he had a chance at winning the Prologue, but probably not any other stages).
Stage 1: Tuesday, August 23 (Salida to Crested Butte -- 99.4mi)
The first stage was just under 100 miles with an uphill finish, topping out at over 9,000ft. Lots of guys were hurting after this day – it seemed like many were having trouble adjusting to the altitude (except the Columbian team, Gobernacion, who put 4 riders in the top 13 that day). Many attacked too early and ran out of steam. Levi Leipheimer attacked at just the right time and took the stage win and the yellow jersey.
[VIDEO] Stage 1 TP Video Blog.
Stage 2 (Queen Stage): Wednesday, August 24 (Gunnison to Aspen -- 130mi)
There was a nasty crash (the only real one of the race) when the riders piled up as they hit a cattleguard approaching Cottonwood Pass. Daniele Callegarin was the worst-injured with facial lacerations and two broken hands. Two climbs over 12,000 feet challenged ALL of the riders and mother nature played a nasty role, adding in wind, rain, and chilly temperatures to make the massive descents even more daunting. Twenty-three year old Tejay Van Garderen punched it DOWN Independence Pass on the way into Aspen to separate from the group, but George Hincape got the stage win (his first major victory since 2009!) through a well-timed sprint to the finish. Tejay came in second and claimed the yellow jersey.
Stage 3 (Time Trial): Thursday, August 25 (Vail -- 10mi)
For the uphill individual time trial, Christian Van de Velde set a fast time and led the race until Leipheimer finished a mere .58 seconds ahead of him. Van Garderen finished :51 seconds behind Leipheimer and gave up the yellow jersey to Levi. Tom Danielson, who suffered from food poisoning the night before the TT put up an impressive 9th after what sounded like a hellish night.
[VIDEO] Stage 3 TP Video Blog.
Stage 4: Friday, August 26 (Avon to Steamboat Springs -- 82.8mi)
The race took just over three hours and ended in a bunched, downhill sprint to the finish, where 22 year old Elia Viviani took the win, in front of Saxo Bank-SunGard’s Michael Morkov, thanks to a textbook leadout by Daniel Oss and help throughout the day from veteran Ivan Basso. Leipheimer retained the jersey with no loss of time.
[VIDEO] Stage 4 TP Video Blog.
Stage 5: Saturday, August 27 (Steamboat Springs to Breckenridge -- 105.2mi)
Andy Schleck took the lead over Rabbit Ears Pass, but was picked up by three riders as he neared the finish. Attack after attack between the riders allowed the peloton to nearly catch the breakaway with less than 700m left to go. Daniel Oss led Elia Viviani to ANOTHER stage win for Team Liquigas-Cannondale. Levi hung on to the yellow jersey again on Saturday.
Stage 6: Sunday, August 28 (Golden to Denver -- 73.79mi)
The four leaders had about 2:15 on the rest of the peloton as they hit Denver for 6 circuits. At speeds averaging 31mph, many teams and riders took turns attacking and trying to make a break from the group, but none were successful. As they neared the finish, it looked like Daniel Oss was leading out for Elia Viviani to take another stage win, but Elia gave the win to Oss and Liquigas-Cannondale emerged victorious again.
Leipheimer held on to the yellow jersey and won the first USA Pro Cycling Challenge.
[VIDEO] Stage 6 TP Video Blog.
Final Overall Standings
1 LEIPHEIMER Levi RSH USA 20h00'24" 00"
2 VANDEVELDE Christian GRM USA 11"
3 VAN GARDEREN Tejay THR USA 17"
4 DANIELSON Tom GRM USA 21"
5 HINCAPIE George BMC USA 53"
6 INFANTINO ABREU Rafael EPM COL 01'14"
7 EVANS Cadel BMC AUS 01'18"
8 CLEMENT Stef RAB NED 01'42"
9 PIRES Bruno LEO POR 01'49"
10 SUTHERLAND Rory UHC AUS 01'50"
Want more up-close shots of the riders in action or a sneak peek into what the TP team was up to all week? Check out our photos from the race!
If you didn't get a chance to check out WKO+ to download the rider files and really take a look at the data, you can sign up here for a free 7 day trial of the software that most of the pro riders in the USAPCC (and the world!) are using to train for the world's thoughest races.