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"The final climb was a regular climb and they went at a steady pace, thankfully, because I was definitely struggling with the altitude. I am not used to climbing this high, and I was missing some air to really follow the wheels."

Photo: Sirotti






19.08.2015 @ 09:00 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Trek Factory Racing's Julian Arredondo and team stagiaire Julien Bernard finished 9th and 10th at the top of the tough eight-kilometer finishing climb to Arapahoe Basin in stage two of the USA Pro Challenge, keeping both in contention in the general classification.


The 185.5-kilometer stage included two tough mountain ascents and a long section on a gravel road before the peloton arrived at the bottom of the final uphill where things quickly blew apart in a climb that began at roughly 9000 feet (2700 meters) and ended at 10,800 feet (3290 meters).


The whole day the mission was to stay in the wheels and stay safe because we knew it would come down to the last climb.


"I did not like the gravel section of Ute pass," Arredondo continued. "I don’t feel at ease on those roads. I have done roads like that in Italy, but it is not something I prefer. The final climb was a regular climb and they went at a steady pace, thankfully, because I was definitely struggling with the altitude. I am not used to climbing this high, and I was missing some air to really follow the wheels when Rohan Dennis was setting such a hard pace. But I feel okay, just not quite good enough to follow the best today.”


Arredondo and Bernard stayed with the top favorites group until the final few kilometers where they had to ease off the pace slightly, but remained at a reasonable distance and only lost just over half a minute to race winner Brent Bookwalter (BMC).


“Julian did well again today, I think even a little bit better than expected today,” said director Kim Andersen. “Yesterday he was looking very good, but I know him enough to know when he is fresh the first day he is always quite good. Today was another story, it was special, we finished at over three thousand meters.


“[Julien] Bernard, our stagiaire, really impressed on a finish like this, he was really good. Both of them were not missing too much, they were just behind. It’s not perfect, or super, but better than expected.”


USA Champion Matthew Busche had pinned high aspirations on the Colorado race, but had his hopes dashed in a nasty crash at the Tour of Utah.


Incredibly, he was able to take the start Monday after taking the full brunt of a crash at 80km/h, but his expectations have been curbed drastically from finishing high in the overall, to simply finishing. 


Busche managed to stay with the peloton until the early part of the final climb where he lost contact, arriving at the finish in 45th place (+5’06”), far off his usual pace.


“I know we all hoped and dreamed Matthew [Busche] would be good, but I mean he had a bad crash and was not really training for 10 days and there is no miracle,”pointed out Andersen. “He was fresh yesterday and was able to handle it on the smaller climbs, but today you needed to have the power. It’s absolutely normal that he’s not there at the end today.”


Stage two was the first serious test for the GC, but there are many hard climbs to come, including ascending the 12,000-foot (3650-meter) Independence pass to Aspen Wednesday, before they turn around and do it again – albeit from the opposite side – Thursday.



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