Aug 21, 2012 6:22 PM by Andy Koen
CRESTED BUTTE - A pair of crashes inside the final 25 mile stretch of Stage 2 of the USA Pro Cycling challenged helped riders in the breakaway group take a comfortable lead ahead of the pelatron.
Just outside of Crested Butte, Columbian Ramiro Rincon began to pull ahead and appeared to have the race in hand. But the steep grade up to Mt. Crested Butte took its toll, and Rincon was passed by Mattias Frank.
Frank seemed to have the race all but won right up until the final kilometer. He suddenly slowed giving teammate Tejay Van Garderen a window to take the lead.
Van Garderen pushed for the finish with Christian Vander Velde right on his wheel. Vander Velde made a move for the lead just before the final two turns, but Van Garderen pushed through for the lead.
Van Garderen is the race leader with a total time of 8:35:12, virtual tied with Vander Velde. Ivan Rovny is currently in 3rd at +0;06, Levi Leipheimer 4th at +0:08 and Rincon 5th also at +0:08.
Stage 3 begins in Gunnison and is a 130 mile road race to Aspen over Independence Pass.