Tejay van Garderen has led the USA Pro Challenge for the past three days and he’ll win the race Sunday in Denver. He’s age 25, he’s going to win the two biggest races in the United States this year and he talked Saturday about a long future as a grand tour contender.
With only Sunday’s circuit race in Denver remaining in the race’s third edition, van Garderen and Peter Sagan, the Slovakian on the Cannondale team who’s won three stages, have been the class of the field.
On the eve of the final stage, here are five random thoughts from the USA Pro Challenge:
5. George Hincapie has been in Colorado and his clothing apparel has been sold at every stage. Crowds cheered George and he was invited to provide analysis on NBC with Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen. It wasn’t Big George’s shining moment. And is it ironic how quickly time heals all wounds for cycling fans and the network?
4. Sometimes, like in any sport, those who do it well make it look easy. The average speed for stage 6 was 28.61 mph. That’s impressive for 115 miles on a course far from flat.
3. Props to Rory Sutherland for giving it a try by launching an early sprint. It didn’t work, but Sutherland still finished ahead of Fred Rodriguez, the national road titlist who didn’t exactly tear it up in the sprint.
2. Peter Sagan is a beast. He was asked if anyone in the USA Pro Challenge has beaten him a sprint in any race. Sagan didn’t exactly answer the question, but at the same time his hesitation spoke volumes. Who exactly can beat Sagan? Only three names come to mind: Mark Cavendish, Marcel Kittel and Andre Greipel.
1. Tejay van Garderen doesn’t shy away from talking about BMC’s poor performance in this year’s Tour de France. That’s refreshing. It’s also refreshing to hear him express his beliefs that he can win the Tour de France. And who’s to say he can’t?