August 22, 2012

Tejay Van Garderen Wins Stage 2 of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge

Tejay Van Garderen winning Stage 2.  Photo: Denver Post

Coming out of nowhere to win in the last 300 meters of the uphill finish in Mt. Crested Butte, Tejay Van Garderen won Stage 2 of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.  

The 24 year-old Boulder resident (originally from Bozeman, MT) was able to build off a strong effort by his BMC Racing teammates and catch the leaders as they rode through town before heading up the mountain.  Surrounded by Crested Butte residents running up Gothic road, Van Garderen and fellow American Christian Vande Velde broke away from the other leaders with 300 meters left and Van Garderen was able to out-muscle Vande Velde to win by a bike-length at the finish.

Crowds lined Elk Avenue in Crested Butte. Photo: Ed Dujardin

Starting out the day in Montrose in 17th, Van Garderen took the yellow Exergy leader’s jersey with the Stage 2 win.  Van Garderen said: “I didn’t expect to win the Stage, but with the hard work [BMC teammate] Mattias Frank put in I just went for it.”  Van Garderen continued, “I had the yellow jersey for a little in the race last year, I hope to keep it through Sunday this time,” in front of hundreds of excited spectators at the awards ceremony in Mt. Crested Butte.  Vande Velde has the same overall time as Van Garderen in 2nd place at 8:35:12, followed by Russian Ivan Rovny six seconds behind.  Last year’s Stage 2 winner and overall champion Levi Leipheimer finished only 8 seconds off of the leaders and is currently in 4th.  The top 10 riders are only separated by 12 seconds, making for a very exciting Stage 3.

The leaders sprint down Elk Avenue. Photo: Trent Bona

Spectators sprinting with Mattias Frank right before he was passed by his BMC teammate. Photo: Matt Berglund

Stage 3, the Queen Stage of the race, starts in Gunnison, heads over Cottonwood and Independence passes (both top out over 12,000 feet), and finishes in downtown Aspen after 131 miles of riding.  You can bet the finish will be dramatic after the grueling day of riding the toughest and longest stage of race.  Watch the action live at 10 AM either with the RadioShack Tour Tracker or on the NBC Sports channel.  Good luck to all the riders!

Information for this article was used from and the Denver Post.



For more photos of the West Elks, check out Matt Berglund’s and Trent Bona’s websites.

About the Author

2. Will Dujardin
Will Dujardin is our content editor at West Elk Project. He competes in big mountain competitions and coaches the Crested Butte Mountain Sports Team. Skiing is his life and he likes to mix it with other fun things like DH mountain biking and traveling.