By Neal Rogers
Team Mercury’s Tom Danielson continued to manhandle the competition Thursday at the Colorado Cyclist Estes Cycling Challenge, in stage two of the five-day race that borders Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park.
Danielson–the former SoBe-Cannondale mountain-bike racer picked up by Mercury last month after a strong performance at the Tour of the Gila–won Wednesday’s opening prologue, a 2.7-mile uphill time trial, besting the times of teammates Chris Wherry and Scott Moninger and completing a podium sweep.
In the absence of other top domestic teams such as Navigators and Prime Alliance, who, according to race organizer Rich Godesiabois, had verbally comitted but failed to show, Mercury’s squad continued to dominate the 86-deep Pro/1/2 field on Thursday’s Glen Haven road race. Wherry, Moninger and Leon Vogels kept the pressure on the field, protecting Danielson’s leader’s jersey by not allowing any escapes to gain more than three minutes over the 87-mile course.
“Nobody was really trying anything,” Danielson told VeloNews at the finish line. “I was able to sit in the whole day. I can’t say enough about the work my team did today.”
With over 5700 feet of elevation on the stage, and a total of 20,000 feet of climbing over the 400 km event, it’s clear the race was made for climbers. And with Danielson’s climbing form, he is likely to keep his top spot in the G.C. after Friday’s stage, a time trial through the Rocky Mountain National Park that covers 2600 feet of elevation in only 12 miles.
“What we’ve got is classic Colorado stage racing,” said Godesiabois. “This is the way things were in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s. Colorado has the scenery, and now we’re showing that we can bring in the teams as well as the sponsors.”
Prologue, Dry Gulch Time Trial, Stage 1 Results
1. Tom Danielson, Mercury, 6:47:59
2. Chris Wherry, Mercury, at 0:05.12
3. Scott Moninger, Mercury, at 0:6.60
4. Andy Bajadali, Excel Sports, at 0:10.36
5. Patrick Sullivan, GS Ciao, at 0:11.75
6. Eddy Hilger, Mercy Fitness Cycling, 0:16.77
7. Micah Martin, Monsoon Racing/Rio Grande, at 0:20.48
8. Mark Southard, FCRC- Trek VW, at 0:24.87
9. Christian McCarthy, Pro Peloton, 0:25.27
10. Jon Stierwalt, FCRC- Trek VW, at 0:25.71
Glen Haven Road Race, Stage 2 Results
(Finishing times will be posted when made available.)
1. Tom Danielson, Mercury,
2. Scott Moninger, Mercury,
3. Andy Bajadali, Excel Sports,
4. Chris Wherry, Mercury,
5. Dirk Friel, Jittery Joe’s,
6. Jon Stierwalt, FCRC- Trek VW,
7. Eddy Hilger, Mercy Fitness Cycling,
8. Mark Southard, FCRC- Trek VW,
9. Jeffrey Hartman, FCRC- Trek VW,
10.Patrick Sullivan, GS Ciao,