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It's Garmin vs BMC at USA Pro Challenge
Aug 23rd, 12. The battle between Garmin Sharp and BMC intensified at the USA Pro Challenge today where the boys in argyle took the stage win and the leader's jersey from the boys in red.
The GC lead has changed after each stage of the tour so far.
Garmin Sharp won the opening stage and first leader's jersey thanks to Tyler Farrar, Stage 2 saw BMC's Tejay Van Garderen take the win on equal stage and GC time as Garmin's Christian Vandevelde, but countbacks saw Van Garderen slip into the leader's jersey.
Today Garmin Sharp Barracuda was again on the attack with Tom Danielson breaking free on the day's big climb up Independence Pass forcing BMC to work hard on a chase.
Work hard they did, bringing the time deficit right back down, but the finish line came just too soon and Danielson took the win.
“That was awesome! Since I’m a Colorado guy, there’s a lot of responsibility there,” said Danielson.
“I’ve dreamed about going over Independence Pass and for it to come true the way it did is something I’ll never forget.”
In the chase group 2sec behind, Vandevelde finished 9th and Van Garderen 12th - again there was no time difference separating the two top riders.
The relevant criteria to determine the race leader – sum of the stage placings (both totalled 30) and then to placings on the last stage ridden – favoured Vandevelde, putting Garmin back in the leader's jersey.
"Yes, I am disappointed," van Garderen said. "But this gives me a little extra motivation for the upcoming days. I don't see anything really changing in the dynamics of the race. It's still going to come down to the time trial on Sunday in Denver."
Danielson was the last of more than a dozen riders who had been part of a breakaway the BMC Racing Team had kept in check for three-quarters of the race. Over the summit, he led by 1m45s over Van Garderen's small chase group. But BMC worked hard to shrink the gap over the final 20km.
“I’m incredibly proud of the team and what we did today, and every day,” said new leader Vandevelde. “Especially with how aggressive we’ve been. If nothing else, it has been a rewarding and fruitful experience.”
For the jerseys, Vandevelde took the Exergy Leader Jersey, Damiano Caruso (Liquigas-Cannondale) claimed the Waste Management Sprint Jersey.
Danielson held onto the Nissan King of the Mountains Jersey. Joseph Lloyd Dombrowski (USA) of Bontrager Livestrong Team kept the Aquadraat Best Young Rider Jersey.
NZ's George Bennett (RadioShack Nissan Trek) continued to have a great tour, finishing in the leading chase group today. He retained his 3rd place on the Best Young Rider Classification +21sec.
Unfortunately two other Kiwis did not have a good day, Patrick Bevin (Bissell Pro Cycling) and Josh Atkins (Bontrager Livestrong) withdrew during the stage.
"Couldn't handle sitting, contracted a chamois irritation of some sort. Gutted to pull out, legs were feeling good," Atkins wrote on twitter.
Tomorrow's 156.5km stage will climb two mountains before finishing with a 4km climb - this time it will be Garmin's turn to do the chasing.
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