Eleven seconds doesn’t sound like much but maybe it’s every thing, a deciding factor, an insurmountable barrier.
Talk to a cross section of cycling journalists and they will shake their heads and say yeah, US Pro Cycling Challenge done, congrats Levi. While a cycling writer as respected as Joe Lindsey warns us to hedge our bets, the general consensus is game over.
Two years ago HTC-Columbia’s Mick Rogers won the Tour of California by nine seconds over Dave Zabriskie. In the final stage Garmin threw everything they had at Rogers in the Agoura Hills. Didn’t change a thing or a second.
Bissell rider and Boulder, Colorado resident Chris Baldwin is also in the “GC decided” camp. “I think the race is over for GC. I knew it was gonna come down to the Vail time trial. I didn’t see the rain and the descent [of Independence Pass) being a factor — that was the only boomerang — but it’s over.”
Baldwin’s goal for what most normal people call the Tour of Colorado was a top 15 on GC. Right now he’s just three seconds away from fifteen and only Janier Acevedo of Gobernacion De Antioquia is in his way.
If he finds an opportunity somewhere on the road or a lucky time bonus falls his way, he’s nailed his objective. But as far as the race winner, Baldwin doubts Leipheimer will fail.
“Nobody is going to roll over. Garmin is not going to lay down. You’ll see a lot of action going into Breckenridge,” said Baldwin. “Swan mountain isn’t hard but it’s hard enough and then it’s a drag so it’s not going look like a sprint finish.”
But that doesn’t change his considered opinion on the first winner of the US Pro Cycling Challenge. “It’s over.”