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Murphy wins soggy Colorado Classic opener

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (VN)—John Murphy won the opening stage of the Colorado Classic in a hectic and soggy sprint to the line in downtown Colorado Springs. Murphy (Holowesko-Citadel) rode the draft of his teammates Joe Lewis and Miguel Bryon to the front of the peloton, and then unleashed his sprint with 250 meters remaining in the 150-kilometer stage.

Travis McCabe (UnitedHealthcare) finished second with Logan Owen (Axeon-Hagens Berman) crossing the line in third.

“Miguel was my last guy and I yelled at him to start the sprint around 450 [meters] to go. He took me to 250 and I was able to deliver,” Murphy said after the win. “It was textbook.”

With his victory Murphy creates a bridge between the new race and the now defunct USA Pro Cycling Challenge, which ceased operation in 2015. Murphy won the final stage of that race in downtown Denver while riding for UnitedHealthcare.

Murphy and the peloton thundered down the wet streets of Colorado Springs after being pounded by rain and hail for much of the day. The men’s peloton spun six laps around a 25-kilometer circuit through the famed Garden of the Gods state park. Each lap included a 650-foot climb and descent back to town. The peloton headed out from downtown Colorado Springs under clear skies, but after nearly two hours of racing, the weather began to beat down.

When the peloton sped back into Colorado Springs, they splashed through ankle-deep water in some sections.

The weather forced the race’s fixed-wing aircraft to be grounded, which eliminated TV coverage for much of the race. Instead, officials and teams corresponded by radios.

“It was wet and wild,” Murphy said about the conditions. “I couldn’t see through my glasses out there.”

A group of five riders separated itself early, yet the peloton was unwilling to let the gap stretch beyond two minutes. The Colorado Classic has limited team sizes to just six riders, and the combination of inclement weather, small team size, and the challenging circuit created a strange dynamic within the bunch. Taylor Phinney (Cannondale-Drapac) said he expected the opening stage to have been raced more aggressively.

“A lot of people were pretty hesitant,” Phinney said. “It was pretty controlled and the breakaway wasn’t much of a threat.”

Cannondale-Drapac and Trek-Segafredo tried to break up the group with two laps remaining; the effort brought back the breakaway but did little to thin the peloton. At the base of the penultimate climb Phinney decided to attack, surging ahead of the group as the rain began to fall. He quickly built a 25-second lead on the peloton, and rode through the start/finish line onto the final lap nursing a small lead.

The group caught Phinney on the final climb, setting up the sprint finish.

“I thought maybe I’d have companions but I ended up ‘solo-dolo,’” Phinney said. “I took my radio out and just decided to put my head down and go for it. I heard my name out there which was rad. I heard my sister screaming and that was cool.”

The win continues a hot streak for Murphy and his Holowesko-Citadel sprint squad. Earlier this month Murphy won the fourth stage of the Tour of Utah, just two days after teammate Ty Magner won the race’s opening stage in a bunch sprint. Murphy said the success is due to the team’s laid-back approach to the races.

“A lot of this stuff is super simple. We take a relaxed approach to it,” Murphy said. “I’m learning how to see through the noise in a lot of these finishes, making sure we’re patient and making the right move.”

Stage 1 results

  • 1. John Murphy, HOLOWESKO / CITADEL RACING P/B HINCAPIE SPORTSWEAR, 03:33:30
  • 2. Travis Mccabe, UNITEDHEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, s.t./li>
  • 3. Logan Owen, AXEON HAGENS BERMAN, s.t./li>
  • 4. Marco Canola, NIPPO – VINI FANTINI, s.t./li>
  • 5. Kiel Reijnen, TREK – SEGAFREDO, s.t./li>
  • 6. Mihkel RÄim, ISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMY, s.t./li>
  • 7. Alex Howes, CANNONDALE DRAPAC PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, s.t./li>
  • 8. Colin Joyce, RALLY CYCLING, s.t./li>
  • 9. Christopher Blevins, AXEON HAGENS BERMAN, s.t./li>
  • 10. Brent Bookwalter, BMC RACING TEAM, s.t./li>
  • 11. Justin Oien, CAJA RURAL – SEGUROS RGA, s.t./li>
  • 12. Joseph Lewis, HOLOWESKO / CITADEL RACING P/B HINCAPIE SPORTSWEAR, s.t./li>
  • 13. Shane Kline, RALLY CYCLING, s.t./li>
  • 14. Miguel Bryon, HOLOWESKO / CITADEL RACING P/B HINCAPIE SPORTSWEAR, s.t./li>
  • 15. Joseph Rosskopf, BMC RACING TEAM, s.t./li>
  • 16. Sepp Kuss, RALLY CYCLING, s.t./li>
  • 17. Stephen Clancy, TEAM NOVO NORDISK, s.t./li>
  • 18. Yousif Mirza Al-Hammadi, UAE TEAM EMIRATES, s.t./li>
  • 19. Rigoberto Uran, CANNONDALE DRAPAC PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, s.t./li>
  • 20. Serghei Tvetcov, JELLY BELLY P/B MAXXIS, s.t./li>
  • 21. Gavin Mannion, UNITEDHEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, s.t./li>
  • 22. Alex Hoehn, ELEVATE – KHS PRO CYCLING, s.t./li>
  • 23. Jhonnatan Manuel Navarez Prado, AXEON HAGENS BERMAN, s.t./li>
  • 24. Peter Stetina, TREK – SEGAFREDO, s.t./li>
  • 25. Eder Frayre Moctezuma, ELEVATE – KHS PRO CYCLING, s.t./li>
  • 26. Miguel Angel Benito Diez, CAJA RURAL – SEGUROS RGA, s.t./li>
  • 27. Simone Petilli, UAE TEAM EMIRATES, s.t./li>
  • 28. Daniel Alexander Jaramillo Diez, UNITEDHEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, s.t./li>
  • 29. Hugh Carthy, CANNONDALE DRAPAC PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, s.t./li>
  • 30. Ivan Santaromita, NIPPO – VINI FANTINI, s.t./li>
  • 31. Antonio Molina Canet, CAJA RURAL – SEGUROS RGA, s.t./li>
  • 32. Manuel Senni, BMC RACING TEAM, s.t./li>
  • 33. Gonzalo Serrano Rodriguez, CAJA RURAL – SEGUROS RGA, s.t./li>
  • 34. Rene Jean Paul Ukiniwabo, s.t./li>
  • 35. Taylor Shelden, JELLY BELLY P/B MAXXIS, s.t./li>
  • 36. Vegard Stake Laengen, UAE TEAM EMIRATES, s.t./li>
  • 37. Christopher Butler, CAJA RURAL – SEGUROS RGA, s.t./li>
  • 38. Edward Anderson, AXEON HAGENS BERMAN, s.t./li>
  • 39. Martin Elmiger, BMC RACING TEAM, s.t./li>
  • 40. Manuel Sola Arjona, CAJA RURAL – SEGUROS RGA, s.t./li>
  • 41. Jean Claude Uwizeye, s.t./li>
  • 42. Seid Lizde, UAE TEAM EMIRATES, s.t./li>
  • 43. Alexander Cowan, SILBER PRO CYCLING, s.t./li>
  • 44. Taylor (t.j.) Eisenhart, HOLOWESKO / CITADEL RACING P/B HINCAPIE SPORTSWEAR, s.t./li>
  • 45. Gasore Hategeka, s.t./li>
  • 46. Robert Britton, RALLY CYCLING, s.t./li>
  • 47. Ruben Companioni, HOLOWESKO / CITADEL RACING P/B HINCAPIE SPORTSWEAR, s.t./li>
  • 48. Valerio Conti, UAE TEAM EMIRATES, s.t./li>
  • 49. James Piccoli, ELEVATE – KHS PRO CYCLING, s.t./li>
  • 50. Jonathan Clarke, UNITEDHEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, s.t./li>
  • 51. William Clarke, CANNONDALE DRAPAC PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, s.t./li>
  • 52. Nigel Ellsay, SILBER PRO CYCLING, s.t./li>
  • 53. Edward Ravasi, UAE TEAM EMIRATES, s.t./li>
  • 54. Keegan Swirbul, JELLY BELLY P/B MAXXIS, s.t./li>
  • 55. Julien Bernard, TREK – SEGAFREDO, s.t./li>
  • 56. Yuma Koishi, NIPPO – VINI FANTINI, s.t./li>
  • 57. Dennis Van Winden, ISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMY, s.t./li>
  • 58. Ryan Roth, SILBER PRO CYCLING, 03:33:54
  • 59. Guillaume Boivin, ISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMY, 03:33:59
  • 60. Jacob Rathe, JELLY BELLY P/B MAXXIS, 03:34:07
  • 61. Didier Munyameza, 03:34:07
  • 62. Taylor Phinney, CANNONDALE DRAPAC PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, 03:34:12
  • 63. Gregory Daniel, TREK – SEGAFREDO, 03:35:36
  • 64. Hendrikus Van Ijzendoorn, TEAM NOVO NORDISK, 03:38:12
  • 65. Luis Enrique Lemus Davila, ISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMY, 03:38:12
  • 66. Sam Brand, TEAM NOVO NORDISK, 03:38:12
  • 67. Tyler Williams, ISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMY, 03:38:12
  • 68. Danny Pate, RALLY CYCLING, 03:38:12
  • 69. Umberto Poli, TEAM NOVO NORDISK, 03:38:12
  • 70. Laurent Didier, TREK – SEGAFREDO, 03:38:12
  • 71. Alan Marangoni, NIPPO – VINI FANTINI, 03:38:12
  • 72. Tom Bohli, BMC RACING TEAM, 03:38:12
  • 73. Joseph Schmalz, ELEVATE – KHS PRO CYCLING, 03:38:12
  • 74. Andrei Krasilnikau, HOLOWESKO / CITADEL RACING P/B HINCAPIE SPORTSWEAR, 03:38:12
  • 75. Silvan Dillier, BMC RACING TEAM, 03:38:12
  • 76. Julien Gagne, SILBER PRO CYCLING, 03:38:12
  • 77. Greg Henderson, UNITEDHEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, 03:38:12
  • 78. Jonathan Brown, AXEON HAGENS BERMAN, 03:38:12
  • 79. Evan Huffman, RALLY CYCLING, 03:38:12
  • 80. Ulises Alfredo Castillo Soto, JELLY BELLY P/B MAXXIS, 03:38:12
  • 81. Angus Morton, JELLY BELLY P/B MAXXIS, 03:38:12
  • 82. Giacomo Berlato, NIPPO – VINI FANTINI, 03:40:47
  • 83. Fabio Calabria, TEAM NOVO NORDISK, 03:43:53
  • 84. Jose Alfredo Rodriguez Victoria, ELEVATE – KHS PRO CYCLING, 03:43:53
  • 85. Guy Niv, ISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMY, 03:43:53
  • 86. Innokenty Zavyalov, ELEVATE – KHS PRO CYCLING, 03:43:53
  • 87. Reid Mcclure, TEAM NOVO NORDISK, 03:43:53
  • 88. Damiano Cima, NIPPO – VINI FANTINI, 03:43:53
  • 89. Matteo Moschetti, TREK – SEGAFREDO, 03:43:53
  • 90. Michael Rice, AXEON HAGENS BERMAN, 03:43:53
  • 91. Lawson Craddock, CANNONDALE DRAPAC PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, 03:43:53
  • 92. Daniel Eaton, UNITEDHEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, 03:43:53
  • 93. Bonaventure Uwizeyimana, 03:51:49
  • OTL. Jean Bosco Nsengimana
  • DNF Nicolas Masbourian, SILBER PRO CYCLING

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