Carpenter takes dramatic surprise win in US Pro Cycling Challenge.
Development done, baby, you’re a pro.
22 year old Robin Carpenter of the Hincapie Development Team sprung the big surprise on the WorldTour pros, winning solo in the pouring rain after 60 miles in a breakaway.
“It’s huge for me, it’s massive, the best win I’ve ever had in my short career,” said Carpenter. “I’m really excited, and I can’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it until about 200m to go.”
He even took a mandated break when the race was neutralized off the dirt road backside of Kebler Pass due to wet, dangerous conditions. He had 45 seconds when race commissars temporarily halted the race.
TV viewers were treated to some unscripted, off-color reality show action as stopped riders in the chase group cursed and insulted the commissar. Van Gardern waved his arm in disgust and said “It’s a little too late –we already did the hard part.” Another rider shouted “Get your shit together.”
The chase group never did quite get their shit together.
On the restart, Carpenter took his 45 second lead and then punched it out to 1:20 before crawling up to the finish in Crested Butte with Tejay van Garderen (BMC) and yesterday’s runner-up Alex Howes (Garmin Sharp) in hot pursuit just 6 seconds back.
Calling it a big win would be an understatement for the small budget Hincapie development squad. “Coming into the race, this is the best we could have hoped for as a team,” Carpenter said. “A stage win is spectacular, especially because it’s our first time in the race. We’re a young program.”
Howes, who had just lost the stage win and jersey yesterday in a two man sprint with his good friend and training partner Keil Reijnen (UnitedHealthcare), now gets to pull on the yellow jersey.
“Tejay hit out under one kilometer to go, and I followed his wheel, and I looked down and thought, ‘the legs are doing it, this is going to work out,” said Howes.
Carpenter’s win was symbolically appropriate because it was a George Hincapie Classics kind of day — rainy, muddy, miserable and shitty conditions. He’d never won a pro race but picked a tremendous stage to make his first mark. His grin was almost as wide-screen as when Reijnen pulled off his big victory the day before in Aspen.
The GC standings after stage 2: Howes in first, Ben Hermans (BMC) 11 seconds back and then defending champion Tejay van Garderen (BMC) 12 second from the lead. Carpenter stood on the podium between two riders just back from the Tour de France. Let’s hope Van Garderen recovers well because he was shivering on stage.