Team Liquigas-Cannondale's Elia Viviani Repeats Victory in stage 5 of USA Pro Cycling Challenge

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08/28/2011| 0 comments
by Thomas A. Valentinsen

Team Liquigas-Cannondale's Elia Viviani Repeats Victory in stage 5 of USA Pro Cycling Challenge

Andy Schleck (NED) of Team Leopard-Trek attempted to win his first-ever American race, but came 500 meters short as the riders sprinted into Breckenridge for the stage 5 finish of the 2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge where Elia Viviani (ITA) of Team Liquigas-Cannondale crossed the line first to take his second consecutive stage win.

Andy Schleck (NED) of Team Leopard-Trek attempted to win his first-ever American race, but came 500 meters short as the riders sprinted into Breckenridge for the stage 5 finish of the 2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge where Elia Viviani (ITA) of Team Liquigas-Cannondale crossed the line first to take his second consecutive stage win.

The 105.8-mile route from Steamboat Springs kept Levi Leipheimer (USA) of Team RadioShack in the overall race lead. Heading into the final day of racing, the overall rankings are lead by Americans with Christian Vande Velde of Team Garmin-Cervélo, Tejay Van Garderen of HTC-Highroad, Tom Danielson of Garmin-Cervélo and legendary George Hincapie of Team BMC Racing rounding out the top 5.

"If you look at the crowds in a place like the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, that is really saying something," Leipheimer told Roadcycling.com and Roadcycling.mobi after the stage finish and added "I would definitely like to win tomorrow. We've done a good job so far and we just need to carry the momentum one more day."

In another scenic stage filled with rolling hills, gorgeous backdrops and lined with fans, the route between the two famous ski towns - Steamboat Springs and Breckenridge - included the category 2 Rabbit Ears Pass and the category 3 Swan Mountain, and also featured two intermediate sprint competitions.

As the riders headed toward the first KOM at Rabbit Ears Pass, just about 12 miles from Steamboat Springs, the group spread out and a lead group of approximately twenty riders formed. With major crowds lining the road to the top of the KOM, Rafael Montiel (COL) of Gobernacion de Antioquia crossed the line first, followed by Beltran and Laurens Ten Dam (NED) of Team Rabobank.

On the descent and then the subsequential climb, a breakaway of five riders formed, including Schleck, Tom Peterson (USA) of Garmin-Cervélo, Ivan Basso (ITA) of Team Liquigas-Cannondale, Ten Dam and Javier Acevedo of Gobernacion de Antioquia that would stick for the rest of the race, with a lead of up to four minutes at times.

As the riders continued on their route to Breckenridge, they went through the first Smashburger sprint line of the day in Kremmling with Peterson hitting the line first, followed by Basso and Schleck. With the riders in the break taking turns pulling at the front, they crossed the second Smashburger sprint line of the day in Dillon with Schleck first, followed by Ten Dam and Basso.

The riders continued over a couple of rolling hills with great scenic views before making a sweeping right turn and heading toward the second and final KOM of the day on Swan Mountain, just about five miles from the finish. Swan Mountain is a short, but difficult climb that would provide the riders with one last obstacle before the stage finish. With different teams taking the lead in the field on the chase behind the break, Schleck attacked from the group and crested the mountain first to take the KOM, followed by Basso and Ten Dam.

On the super-fast descent, the riders flew down the mountain

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