People pounded on the cardboard barriers that marked the race course. Motorcycles filled with photographers zipped by. State patrollers blaring their sirens marked the arrival of the world-class cyclists in Telluride. If you blinked, you would have missed Tyler Farrar (USA), of Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda, cross the finish line, arms up in victory.
The 2012 USA Pro Challenge got off to an exciting start, as the riders traveled the 125.7-mile route from Durango to Telluride. In a difficult first stage complete with two Waste Management sprints and three Nissan King of the Mountains competitors, the day ended with an all-out sprint to the finish, which saw Alessandro Bazzana (ITA) of Team Type 1-SANOFI take second and Damiano Caruso (ITA) of Liquigas-Cannondale claim third.
“We knew we had the top riders in the world racing the 2012 USA Pro Challenge, but today, with the competitive level of racing we saw right out of the gate, they showed they’re here to win,” said Shawn Hunter, CEO of the Pro Challenge. “We saw impressive crowds cheering on the riders at the start line in Durango all the way to the packed streets of Telluride this afternoon. We have an exciting race ahead of us.”
The race is comprised of 16 teams and 124 riders, including reigning champion Levi Leipheimer and 2011 Tour de France Champion Cadel Evans. The second stage of the race began in Montrose and finished in Crested Butte. The third stage, starting today, August 22nd, in Gunnison, will finish in Aspen.