For someone who has toiled tirelessly at the front of the peloton on behalf of BMC’s Brent Bookwalter, Rohan Dennis looked like a full-fledged team leader as he rode to victory in stage 4 of the USA Pro Challenge. On the final climb over Moonstone Road in Breckenridge, Colorado, Bookwalter, wearing the yellow jersey, faltered, and Dennis was ready. He rode alone to the stage win and ensured that the team kept the jersey for another day.
“I just kept [Robbie Squire] about 10-20 meters,” said Dennis, “and then slowly, I could see he was dying, all the guys were dropping off my wheel, and I thought, ‘Well, now’s the time.’ I just accelerated in the saddle and used my track speed. It was pretty special for me”
“All in the family, man. It’s all good,” Bookwalter said after the 125.8-mile stage. “Another one-two on the stage, keep the jersey. Rohan followed that first acceleration of Robbie [Squire], and it was too much for me, a little over my limit.”
Top 10, stage 4
- 1. Rohan DENNIS, BMC RACING TEAM, in 5:10:55
- 2. Brent BOOKWALTER, BMC RACING TEAM, at :19
- 3. Robbie SQUIRE, HINCAPIE RACING TEAM, at :19
- 4. Jonathan CLARKE, UNITEDHEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, at :23
- 5. Bruno PIRES, TINKOFF – SAXO, at :23
- 6. Gavin MANNION, JELLY BELLY P/B MAXXIS, at :23
- 7. Toms SKUJINS, HINCAPIE RACING TEAM, at :23
- 8. Dion SMITH, HINCAPIE RACING TEAM, at :23
- 9. Tao GEOGHEGAN HART, AXEON CYCLING TEAM, at :23
- 10. Lachlan David MORTON, JELLY BELLY P/B MAXXIS, at :23
- 1. Rohan DENNIS, BMC RACING TEAM, in 17:24:03
- 2. Brent BOOKWALTER, BMC RACING TEAM, at :13
- 3. Robbie SQUIRE, HINCAPIE RACING TEAM, at :26
- 4. Jonathan CLARKE, UNITEDHEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL CYCLING TEAM, at :27
- 5. Hugh CARTHY, CAJA RURAL-SEGUROS RGA, at :27
- 6. Lachlan David MORTON, JELLY BELLY P/B MAXXIS, at :42
- 7. Jaime ROSON GARCIA, CAJA RURAL-SEGUROS RGA, at :44
- 8. Davide FORMOLO, TEAM CANNONDALE – GARMIN, at :48
- 9. Julien BERNARD, TREK FACTORY RACING, at :55
- 10. Toms SKUJINS, HINCAPIE RACING TEAM, at 1:01
The early breakaway was powerful with Roman Kreuziger (Tinkoff-Saxo), Kyle Murphy (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Damiano Caruso (BMC), Phil Gaimon (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies), and Oscar Clark (Hincapie Racing) all in the mix. They got away after about 40 kilometers of racing. But with 30 miles to go, the breakaway’s lead was down to about one minute.
Cannondale-Garmin worked hard at the head of the peloton but then relented and allowed the break to sit merely 40 seconds up the road. Then it was time for Jelly Belly-Maxxis to take over on the front as the race approached the final 20 miles.
Clark attacked the break as they began to climb Hoosier Pass, and Caruso followed right away. Murphy gave chase, but he and the other escapees were caught as the duo rode away. Soon, Clark cracked, but Caruso carried on with about 18 miles left but was caught after a brief moment alone off the front.
BMC drove the pace, heading into the day’s final climb up Moonstone Road. Guillaume Boivin (Optum-Kelly Benefits) put in an effort, and a small break formed, but it didn’t stick.
At the base of the climb, Taylor Phinney (BMC) drove the pace, opening up gaps and forming a small group at the front.
Robbie Squire (Hincapie) hit out solo as the hill pitched up. Rohan Dennis (BMC) rode tempo behind, but his teammate, the yellow jersey, Brent Bookwalter could not hold the pace. Squire was a threat to the overall lead, so Dennis decided to give chase. He made contact with the leader inside of the final three miles, and crested the climb alone. Bookwalter also came over the climb solo and caught Squire on the descent.
Dennis drove home alone to victory, claiming the overall lead by 13 seconds over Bookwalter. Squire moved up to third overall.
Stage 5 should be another playground for the BMC leader, an 8.5-mile individual time trial in Breckenridge. The Women’s USA Pro Challenge will also begin Friday on the same TT course earlier in the day.
Neal Rogers contributed to this report from Breckenridge.