Dennis confirms title at USA Pro Challenge
Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing Team) won the fifth USA Pro Challenge on Sunday in Denver.
John Murphy (UnitedHealthcare) prevailed in the seventh stage, a leg from Golden that sent the peloton up Lookout Mountain and then eastward toward four laps of a circuit that took in Denver’s Civic Center Park, City Park and 17th Street.
But it was Dennis who took the top prize, the first non-American to do so.
“It’s a little bit special to be the first non-American,” the 25-year-old Australian said. “Hopefully I can come back next year and do it again. I have to take my hat off to the team. They didn’t put any pressure on me. I came here to help Brent [Bookwalter], found my legs, and ended up in the yellow jersey. I thank him for quietly supporting me GC-wise.”
An early break boiled down to Chris Anker Sörensen (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Greg Daniel (Axeon) on the finishing circuit. With 20km to go the two held just a half-minute’s advantage over the bunch containing race leader Dennis.
With two laps remaining the gap was down to 12 seconds, and it wasn’t long before the chase had the leaders in sight. The catch came with 14km remaining.
UnitedHealthcare took point going into the final lap. Jamis-Hagens Berman then lent a hand, and finally BMC moved forward with 6km to go with Michael Schar on the front and Taylor Phinney last in line.
Then the yellow jersey launched, quickly opening a gap. UHC chased him down short of the red kite, but Dennis’ move threw a monkey wrench into the sprinters’ plans.
Or did it? Phinney went early, but Murphy — a former BMC rider — went best, coming off Phinney’s wheel to take the final stage win of the 2015 USA Pro Challenge. Phinney hung on for second with Lucas Haedo (Jamis) third.
“Since Utah we have been a unit,” said Murphy. “Our guys have been phenomenal. … I’m super happy we were able to lock up the green jersey yesterday and open the door for me today. The guys rode their hearts out for me, and I was happy to be able to deliver.”
The overall victory went to Dennis, who finished 40 seconds up on teammate Brent Bookwalter with Rob Britton (Team SmartStop) third at 1:31. Dennis also collected the red mountains jersey.
The sprint title went to Kiel Reijnen (UHC), with Tao Geoghegan Hart (Axeon) collecting the best young rider jersey, Javier Megias (Team Novo Nordisk) winning the most aggressive title and Alexandr Braico (Jelly Belly-Maxxis) being named the best Colorado rider.