In an epic day of racing, Stage 3 of the 2012 USA Pro Challenge came to a close with Colorado-resident Tom Danielson (USA) of Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda taking a solo breakaway to the finish line in Aspen. With the peloton following close behind, Damiano Caruso (ITA) of Liquigas-Cannondale claimed second in the stage and Jakob Fuglsang (DEN) of RadioShack-Nissan-Trek took third on a course packed with cheering fans. And in a very close fight for the GC, Danielson’s Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda teammate Christian Vande Velde (USA) claimed the Exergy Leader Jersey.
Stage 3 took the riders on a 130.6 mile ride from Gunnison to downtown Aspen, facing them with the two epic passes of Cottonwood and Independence Pass. After rolling out of a neutral start in Gunnison, the riders showed they were ready to compete, immediately reaching speeds of 35 mph. With a breakaway of about 18 riders forming leading into the first Waste Management sprint in Almont, the BMC Racing Team led the front of the field, riding hard and trying to make sure the break didn’t get too far up the road. With 1 km to go until reaching Cottonwood Pass, the break dwindled to only five riders, including Danielson, Fabio Aru (ITA) of Astana Pro Team, Dave Zabriskie (USA) of Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda, Francisco Jarley Colorado Hernandez (COL) of EPM-UNE and Jeffry Louder (USA) of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team. Colorado Hernandez reached the top of the Pass first, followed by Danielson and Zabriskie.
With only two riders left into the break heading toward the final KOM of the day, tensions started to grow, but Danielson attacked in advance of the KOM setting him up to take max points and secure the Nissan King of the Mountains Jersey for another day.
With Danielson now on a solo mission headed straight for the finish in Aspen, the peloton took chase and narrowed the gap significantly to only a matter of seconds, but it wasn’t enough to catch the Colorado resident, and Danielson took the stage win.
For Printable Version select Start or Finish image.
For highway closure and traveler information, visit www.cotrip.org.
For camping guidelines, visit www.fs.usda.gov/goto/r2/procycling2012.
The Aspen-Sopris Ranger District is offering a number of camping and parking options during the Pro Challenge along Independence Pass. All campgrounds on Independence Pass will be open, but camping is prohibited between MM56 and MM66. Visitors are welcome to arrive early to park and view the race from the top of the pass, and will be required to move their cars at dusk for the evening. Forest Service Law Enforcement and agency staff will be enforcing all regulations. The White River National Forest website has more details at http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/whiteriver/.
Download: Parking on Independence Pass
Download: Stage 3 Spectator Guide
Download: Stage 3 Route Map
Download: Stage 3 Start Map
Download: Stage 3 Finish Map
Download: Stage 3 Profile
Download: Stage 3 Timetable
Download: Stage 3 Forecast
Here is what you CAN do.
- Watch the start in Gunnison, then drive over Monarch Pass and catch the race in Buena Vista.
- Watch on top of Cottonwood Pass, but only by bike. No cars will be allowed within 10 miles of the summit.
- Watch on top of Independence Pass, by arriving that morning.
Here is what you CANNOT do.
- Watch the start in Gunnison and make it to Aspen in time for finish.
- Park overnight on the top of either Cottonwood or Independence Pass. No overnight parking within several miles of the summit of either.
- Park overnight on Independence summit waiting for Stage 4 to pass over the next day.
- County Road 742
- Cottonwood Pass ( 12,126 ft)
- Independence Pass (12,095 ft)
- Buena Vista