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Colorado Classic: Howes takes emphatic victory in Breckenridge, Eisenhart leads overall

BRECKENRIDGE, Colorado (VN) — Alex Howes (Cannondale-Drapac) took an emphatic sprint victory over TJ Eisenhart (Holowesko-Citadel) in downtown Breckenridge after reeling in the Holowesko rider near the crest of the final ascent of the dreaded Moonstone Road climb.

Howes bridged to Eisenhart along with Peter Stetina (Trek-Segafredo); the Holowesko rider rode for nearly the entire day in a solo breakaway. Howes then attacked on the descent along with Eisenhart as Stetina was gapped. As Howes and Eisenhart rounded the final corner into downtown, Howes swung wide and carried his speed to a decisive win.

“I really wanted to win here today because I knew whoever takes the win here has a great shot at winning the overall,” said Howes. “This is one of the few races without a time trial; I thought maybe I could win the overall because I can’t time trial my way out of a wet paper bag.”

Stage 2, Top 10

1. Alex Howes (Cannondale-Drapac)
2. TJ Eisenhart (Holowesko-Citadel)
3. Peter Stetina (Trek-Segafredo)
4. Manuel Senni (BMC)
5. Serghei Tvetcov (Jelly Belly)
6. Brent Bookwalter (BMC)
7. Miguel Angel Benito Diez (Caja Rural)
8. Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac)
9. Vegard Stake Laengen (UAE Team Emirates)
10. Hugh Carthy (Cannondale-Drapac)

Howes now sits in second place in the general classification, just one second behind Eisenhart, who took a time bonus during his daylong breakaway. After crossing the line, Eisenhart collapsed to the pavement in downtown Breckenridge, unable to speak.

“I was in a dreamscape the entire day,” Eisenhart said. “I crossed the line and I was smoked. I was blown. There was no disappointment, I just needed to decompress and absorb everything.”

The close finish came after a day of suffering on the Colorado Classic’s queen stage, which featured 10 laps around a 6.4-mile course. The course included the steep ascent of Moonstone Road—the 600-foot climb featured ramps above 10 percent and topped out at 10,000 feet—and a twisting descent back to town. Riders gasped for air as they sprinted to the top of the climb, then tried to recover on the short downhill before racing back onto the climb.

“It felt like a 100km criterium,” said Johnny Clarke (UnitedHealthcare).

Eisenhart and Daniel Eaton (UnitedHealthcare) were the first riders to gap the field, attacking on the first of 10 laps up Moonstone Road. The pair built a lead of nearly two minutes, trading pulls for the opening four laps. Eisenhart, 23, said he was teammates with Eaton during their time on the U.S. junior national cycling team, and that the duo worked together as a team during the breakaway.

On the fourth lap Eisenhart rode away from Eaton on the climb and embarked on the final six laps by himself. The Utah native seemed to enjoy the painful journey. Cameras showed him waving to the crowds and flashing the “hang loose” sign to spectators as he climbed to the summit.

“A lot of people may think maybe I’m wasting energy or joking around, but that is what makes me me,” Eisenhart said. “That’s how I thrive.”

Behind Eisehart a group of 15 separated from the peloton and gave chase. Driven by Trek-Segafredo, the breakaway pegged Eisenhart’s gap back to less than one minute with three laps to go. That’s when Stetina made his move. The Trek rider sprinted away from the group alongside Sepp Kuss (Rally Pro Cycling) and Howes.

TJ Eisenhart with one lap to go, the 9th lap of his long breakaway. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

As the three steadily pulled back Eisenhart, Stetina took turns surging on the front to try and drop Howes—the surges popped Kuss and quickly brought back Eisenhart. Stetina and Howes grew up racing together in Colorado; Howes was even a groomsman at Stetina’s wedding. Stetina can usually drop Howes on long, punishing climbs, yet Howes has the advantage in sprints to the line.

“It became mano-a-mano,” Stetina said. “I hit him five or six times on the final lap and he clawed his way back each time.”

Howes said the attacks put him into the red, and he nearly popped off the back. The efforts to catch back onto Stetina, he said, were some of the hardest he’s done all year.

“I was like, ‘Pete, there is no way you’re dropping me, dude,’” Howes said. “I’m going to throw up and have a heart attack before you drop me.”

Stetina’s final surge drew the duo up to Eisenhart, who hung onto the back of the pair as they rode toward the descent.

Eisenhart holds a slim lead heading into the final two stages. He said he will talk with his team about how to defend the jersey before the next stage, which includes more climbing and dirt roads on Twin Spruce and Gap Roads in the foothills west of Denver. But for the rest of Friday night, Eisenhart wants to simply savor the result.

“It’s always lame when you’re worrying and just thinking ‘How am I going to keep this jersey?’” Eisenhart said. “We’re in the here and now. The future doesn’t exist. The past is over.”

Stage 2 results

  • 1. Alex Howes, CANNONDALE DRAPAC PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, 02:51:17
  • 2. Taylor (T.J.) Eisenhart, HOLOWESKO / CITADEL RACING P/B HINCAPIE SPORTSWEAR,
  • 3. Peter Stetina, TREK – SEGAFREDO, 02:51:21
  • 4. Manuel Senni, BMC RACING TEAM, 02:51:38
  • 5. Serghei Tvetcov, JELLY BELLY P/B MAXXIS, 02:51:57
  • 6. Brent Bookwalter, BMC RACING TEAM, 02:52:51
  • 7. Miguel Angel Benito Diez, CAJA RURAL – SEGUROS RGA, 02:52:52
  • 8. Rigoberto Uran, CANNONDALE DRAPAC PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, 02:52:54
  • 9. Vegard Stake Laengen, UAE TEAM EMIRATES, 02:52:54
  • 10. Hugh Carthy, CANNONDALE DRAPAC PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, 02:52:58
  • 11. Simone Petilli, UAE TEAM EMIRATES, 02:53:06
  • 12. Sepp Kuss, RALLY CYCLING, 02:53:17
  • 13. Edward Ravasi, UAE TEAM EMIRATES, 02:53:20
  • 14. Travis Mccabe, UNITEDHEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, 02:53:20
  • 15. Ivan Santaromita, NIPPO – VINI FANTINI, 02:53:29
  • 16. Gavin Mannion, UNITEDHEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, 02:54:15
  • 17. Joseph Rosskopf, BMC RACING TEAM, 02:54:15
  • 18. Jonathan Clarke, UNITEDHEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, 02:54:17
  • 19. Nigel Ellsay, SILBER PRO CYCLING, 02:54:17
  • 20. Christopher Butler, CAJA RURAL – SEGUROS RGA, 02:54:17
  • 21. Joseph Lewis, HOLOWESKO / CITADEL RACING P/B HINCAPIE SPORTSWEAR, 02:54:28
  • 22. Ruben Companioni, HOLOWESKO / CITADEL RACING P/B HINCAPIE SPORTSWEAR, 02:54:28
  • 23. William Clarke, CANNONDALE DRAPAC PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, 02:55:04
  • 24. Julien Bernard, TREK – SEGAFREDO, 02:55:24
  • 25. Robert Britton, RALLY CYCLING, 02:56:53
  • 26. Antonio Molina Canet, CAJA RURAL – SEGUROS RGA, 02:58:39
  • 27. Alexander Cowan, SILBER PRO CYCLING, 02:58:39
  • 28. Taylor Shelden, JELLY BELLY P/B MAXXIS, 02:58:39
  • 29. Jhonnatan Manuel Navarez Prado, AXEON HAGENS BERMAN, 02:58:39
  • 30. Eder Frayre Moctezuma, ELEVATE – KHS PRO CYCLING, 02:59:28
  • 31. Daniel Eaton, UNITEDHEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, 02:59:35
  • 32. Silvan Dillier, BMC RACING TEAM, 03:00:25
  • 33. Taylor Phinney, CANNONDALE DRAPAC PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, 03:00:25
  • 34. Gregory Daniel, TREK – SEGAFREDO, 03:00:25
  • 35. Daniel Alexander Jaramillo Diez, UNITEDHEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, 03:00:25
  • 36. Andrei Krasilnikau, HOLOWESKO / CITADEL RACING P/B HINCAPIE SPORTSWEAR, 03:00:25
  • 37. Gonzalo Serrano Rodriguez, CAJA RURAL – SEGUROS RGA, 03:00:25
  • 38. Kiel Reijnen, TREK – SEGAFREDO, 03:00:29
  • 39. Martin Elmiger, BMC RACING TEAM, 03:00:29
  • 40. Tom Bohli, BMC RACING TEAM, 03:00:29
  • 41. Justin Oien, CAJA RURAL – SEGUROS RGA, 03:00:29
  • 42. Didier Munyameza, 03:00:29
  • 43. Laurent Didier, TREK – SEGAFREDO, 03:00:29
  • 44. Jacob Rathe, JELLY BELLY P/B MAXXIS, 03:01:04
  • 45. John Murphy, HOLOWESKO / CITADEL RACING P/B HINCAPIE SPORTSWEAR, 03:01:10
  • 46. Guillaume Boivin, ISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMY, 03:04:28
  • 47. Tyler Williams, ISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMY, 03:04:28
  • 48. Greg Henderson, UNITEDHEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, 03:06:40
  • 49. Logan Owen, AXEON HAGENS BERMAN, 03:06:52
  • 50. Julien Gagne, SILBER PRO CYCLING, 03:06:52
  • 51. Valerio Conti, UAE TEAM EMIRATES, 03:06:56
  • 52. Umberto Poli, TEAM NOVO NORDISK, 03:06:56
  • 53. Seid Lizde, UAE TEAM EMIRATES, 03:06:56
  • 54. Rene Jean Paul Ukiniwabo, 03:06:56
  • 55. Angus Morton, JELLY BELLY P/B MAXXIS, 03:06:56
  • 56. Jean Claude Uwizeye, 03:06:56
  • 57. Manuel Sola Arjona, CAJA RURAL – SEGUROS RGA, 03:06:57
  • 58. Alex Hoehn, ELEVATE – KHS PRO CYCLING, 03:07:29
  • 59. Dennis Van Winden, ISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMY, 03:07:34
  • 60. Edward Anderson, AXEON HAGENS BERMAN, 03:07:34
  • 61. Christopher Blevins, AXEON HAGENS BERMAN, 03:07:34
  • 62. Keegan Swirbul, JELLY BELLY P/B MAXXIS, 03:08:03
  • 63. Guy Niv, ISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMY, 03:08:03
  • 64. Michael Rice, AXEON HAGENS BERMAN, 03:08:03
  • 65. Miguel Bryon, HOLOWESKO / CITADEL RACING P/B HINCAPIE SPORTSWEAR, 03:08:03
  • 66. Ulises Alfredo Castillo Soto, JELLY BELLY P/B MAXXIS, 03:08:03
  • 67. Alan Marangoni, NIPPO – VINI FANTINI, 03:08:03
  • 68. Damiano Cima, NIPPO – VINI FANTINI, 03:08:03
  • 69. Mihkel RÄim, ISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMY, 03:08:03
  • 70. Matteo Moschetti, TREK – SEGAFREDO, 03:08:03
  • 71. Marco Canola, NIPPO – VINI FANTINI, 03:08:03
  • 72. Yuma Koishi, NIPPO – VINI FANTINI, 03:08:03
  • 73. Colin Joyce, RALLY CYCLING, 03:08:03
  • 74. Evan Huffman, RALLY CYCLING, 03:08:03
  • 75. Danny Pate, RALLY CYCLING, 03:08:03
  • 76. Innokenty Zavyalov, ELEVATE – KHS PRO CYCLING, 03:08:07
  • 77. Ryan Roth, SILBER PRO CYCLING, 03:11:45
  • 78. Gasore Hategeka, 03:11:51
  • 79. Jose Alfredo Rodriguez Victoria, ELEVATE – KHS PRO CYCLING, 03:12:15
  • 80. Lawson Craddock, CANNONDALE DRAPAC PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, 03:12:30
  • 81. Stephen Clancy, TEAM NOVO NORDISK, 03:13:00
  • 82. Sam Brand, TEAM NOVO NORDISK, 03:13:00
  • 83. Hendrikus Van Ijzendoorn, TEAM NOVO NORDISK, 03:13:00
  • 84. Giacomo Berlato, NIPPO – VINI FANTINI, 03:13:00
  • 85. Shane Kline, RALLY CYCLING, 03:13:00
  • 86. James Piccoli, ELEVATE – KHS PRO CYCLING, 03:13:06
  • 87. Luis Enrique Lemus Davila, ISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMY, 03:13:06
  • 88. Joseph Schmalz, ELEVATE – KHS PRO CYCLING, 03:13:08
  • 89. Fabio Calabria, TEAM NOVO NORDISK, 03:13:08
  • 90. Bonaventure Uwizeyimana, 03:16:15
  • 91. Jonathan Brown, AXEON HAGENS BERMAN, 03:16:21
  • 92. Reid Mcclure, TEAM NOVO NORDISK, 03:45:01
  • DNF. Yousif Mirza Al-Hammadi, UAE TEAM EMIRATES

General classification

  • 1. Taylor (T.J.) Eisenhart, HOLOWESKO / CITADEL RACING P/B HINCAPIE SPORTSWEAR, 06:24:36
  • 2. Alex Howes, CANNONDALE DRAPAC PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, 06:24:37
  • 3. Peter Stetina, TREK – SEGAFREDO, 06:24:47
  • 4. Manuel Senni, BMC RACING TEAM, 06:25:08
  • 5. Serghei Tvetcov, JELLY BELLY P/B MAXXIS, 06:25:27
  • 6. Brent Bookwalter, BMC RACING TEAM, 06:26:21
  • 7. Miguel Angel Benito Diez, CAJA RURAL – SEGUROS RGA, 06:26:22
  • 8. Rigoberto Uran, CANNONDALE DRAPAC PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, 06:26:24
  • 9. Vegard Stake Laengen, UAE TEAM EMIRATES, 06:26:24
  • 10. Hugh Carthy, CANNONDALE DRAPAC PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, 06:26:28
  • 11. Simone Petilli, UAE TEAM EMIRATES, 06:26:36
  • 12. Travis Mccabe, UNITEDHEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, 06:26:41
  • 13. Sepp Kuss, RALLY CYCLING, 06:26:47
  • 14. Edward Ravasi, UAE TEAM EMIRATES, 06:26:50
  • 15. Ivan Santaromita, NIPPO – VINI FANTINI, 06:26:59
  • 16. Joseph Rosskopf, BMC RACING TEAM, 06:27:45
  • 17. Gavin Mannion, UNITEDHEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, 06:27:45
  • 18. Christopher Butler, CAJA RURAL – SEGUROS RGA, 06:27:47
  • 19. Jonathan Clarke, UNITEDHEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, 06:27:47
  • 20. Nigel Ellsay, SILBER PRO CYCLING, 06:27:47
  • 21. Joseph Lewis, HOLOWESKO / CITADEL RACING P/B HINCAPIE SPORTSWEAR, 06:27:58
  • 22. Ruben Companioni, HOLOWESKO / CITADEL RACING P/B HINCAPIE SPORTSWEAR, 06:27:58
  • 23. William Clarke, CANNONDALE DRAPAC PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, 06:28:34
  • 24. Julien Bernard, TREK – SEGAFREDO, 06:28:54
  • 25. Robert Britton, RALLY CYCLING, 06:30:23
  • 26. Antonio Molina Canet, CAJA RURAL – SEGUROS RGA, 06:32:07
  • 27. Jhonnatan Manuel Navarez Prado, AXEON HAGENS BERMAN, 06:32:09
  • 28. Taylor Shelden, JELLY BELLY P/B MAXXIS, 06:32:09
  • 29. Alexander Cowan, SILBER PRO CYCLING, 06:32:09
  • 30. Eder Frayre Moctezuma, ELEVATE – KHS PRO CYCLING, 06:32:58
  • 31. Daniel Alexander Jaramillo Diez, UNITEDHEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, 06:33:55
  • 32. Gonzalo Serrano Rodriguez, CAJA RURAL – SEGUROS RGA, 06:33:55
  • 33. Kiel Reijnen, TREK – SEGAFREDO, 06:33:58
  • 34. Justin Oien, CAJA RURAL – SEGUROS RGA, 06:33:59
  • 35. Martin Elmiger, BMC RACING TEAM, 06:33:59
  • 36. John Murphy, HOLOWESKO / CITADEL RACING P/B HINCAPIE SPORTSWEAR, 06:34:30
  • 37. Didier Munyameza, 06:34:36
  • 38. Taylor Phinney, CANNONDALE DRAPAC PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, 06:34:37
  • 39. Jacob Rathe, JELLY BELLY P/B MAXXIS, 06:35:11
  • 40. Gregory Daniel, TREK – SEGAFREDO, 06:36:01
  • 41. Guillaume Boivin, ISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMY, 06:38:27
  • 42. Silvan Dillier, BMC RACING TEAM, 06:38:37
  • 43. Andrei Krasilnikau, HOLOWESKO / CITADEL RACING P/B HINCAPIE SPORTSWEAR, 06:38:37
  • 44. Tom Bohli, BMC RACING TEAM, 06:38:41
  • 45. Laurent Didier, TREK – SEGAFREDO, 06:38:41
  • 46. Logan Owen, AXEON HAGENS BERMAN, 06:40:18
  • 47. Rene Jean Paul Ukiniwabo, 06:40:26
  • 48. Seid Lizde, UAE TEAM EMIRATES, 06:40:26
  • 49. Jean Claude Uwizeye, 06:40:26
  • 50. Valerio Conti, UAE TEAM EMIRATES, 06:40:26
  • 51. Manuel Sola Arjona, CAJA RURAL – SEGUROS RGA, 06:40:27
  • 52. Alex Hoehn, ELEVATE – KHS PRO CYCLING, 06:40:59
  • 53. Christopher Blevins, AXEON HAGENS BERMAN, 06:41:04
  • 54. Edward Anderson, AXEON HAGENS BERMAN, 06:41:04
  • 55. Dennis Van Winden, ISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMY, 06:41:04
  • 56. Mihkel RÄim, ISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMY, 06:41:33
  • 57. Marco Canola, NIPPO – VINI FANTINI, 06:41:33
  • 58. Miguel Bryon, HOLOWESKO / CITADEL RACING P/B HINCAPIE SPORTSWEAR, 06:41:33
  • 59. Colin Joyce, RALLY CYCLING, 06:41:33
  • 60. Keegan Swirbul, JELLY BELLY P/B MAXXIS, 06:41:33
  • 61. Yuma Koishi, NIPPO – VINI FANTINI, 06:41:33
  • 62. Tyler Williams, ISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMY, 06:42:40
  • 63. Daniel Eaton, UNITEDHEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, 06:43:25
  • 64. Greg Henderson, UNITEDHEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, 06:44:52
  • 65. Julien Gagne, SILBER PRO CYCLING, 06:45:04
  • 66. Angus Morton, JELLY BELLY P/B MAXXIS, 06:45:06
  • 67. Umberto Poli, TEAM NOVO NORDISK, 06:45:08
  • 68. Gasore Hategeka, 06:45:21
  • 69. Ryan Roth, SILBER PRO CYCLING, 06:45:39
  • 70. Evan Huffman, RALLY CYCLING, 06:46:09
  • 71. Alan Marangoni, NIPPO – VINI FANTINI, 06:46:15
  • 72. Danny Pate, RALLY CYCLING, 06:46:15
  • 73. Ulises Alfredo Castillo Soto, JELLY BELLY P/B MAXXIS, 06:46:15
  • 74. Stephen Clancy, TEAM NOVO NORDISK, 06:46:30
  • 75. Shane Kline, RALLY CYCLING, 06:46:30
  • 76. James Piccoli, ELEVATE – KHS PRO CYCLING, 06:46:36
  • 77. Hendrikus Van Ijzendoorn, TEAM NOVO NORDISK, 06:51:12
  • 78. Sam Brand, TEAM NOVO NORDISK, 06:51:12
  • 79. Luis Enrique Lemus Davila, ISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMY, 06:51:18
  • 80. Joseph Schmalz, ELEVATE – KHS PRO CYCLING, 06:51:18
  • 81. Guy Niv, ISRAEL CYCLING ACADEMY, 06:51:56
  • 82. Michael Rice, AXEON HAGENS BERMAN, 06:51:56
  • 83. Damiano Cima, NIPPO – VINI FANTINI, 06:51:56
  • 84. Matteo Moschetti, TREK – SEGAFREDO, 06:51:56
  • 85. Innokenty Zavyalov, ELEVATE – KHS PRO CYCLING, 06:52:00
  • 86. Giacomo Berlato, NIPPO – VINI FANTINI, 06:53:47
  • 87. Jonathan Brown, AXEON HAGENS BERMAN, 06:54:33
  • 88. Jose Alfredo Rodriguez Victoria, ELEVATE – KHS PRO CYCLING, 06:56:08
  • 89. Lawson Craddock, CANNONDALE DRAPAC PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, 06:56:23
  • 90. Fabio Calabria, TEAM NOVO NORDISK, 06:57:01
  • 91. Bonaventure Uwizeyimana, 07:08:04

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