Mannion secures monumental win
UnitedHealthcare riders rule the day and the race as 2018 Colorado Classic wraps up in Denver
The pace was frenetic over the last few kilometers of the 2018 Colorado Classic on Sunday, but team UnitedHealthcare stayed on top of it as Gavin Mannion secured the biggest victory of his career.
The 26-year-old Fort Collins, Colo., resident held tight to the blue Gates General Classification leader’s jersey after winning the Stage 2 Vail Time Trial and surprising himself with a follow-up podium in Saturday’s 100-mile Queen’s Stage.
“This was the best week of my cycling career and today is probably the best day,” Mannion said. “Now I’ve been with UnitedHealthcare for two years and with the team coming to an end, giving them a big victory is huge. I never gave up on the cycling dream and am happy to finally win a big race.”
Adding to that was Serghei Tvetcov (UHC), who repeated his 2017 Colorado Classic result, finishing second overall, 15 seconds behind Mannion. Hugh Carthy (EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale) maintained his 22-second deficit coming into Stage 4, rounding out the overall podium and also securing the Colorado Tourism Office King of the Mountain jersey.
The icing on the cake for UHC was the thrilling Stage 4 victory of Travis McCabe.
“For us to come out and race and get the win – more importantly, get the win for Gavin – is what we wanted to do. I’d say it’s a pretty emotional time for us,” McCabe said. “We’ve always come out swinging and this year especially showed our capability as a team. It’s a special moment.”
The urban excitement was electric Sunday as the 2018 Colorado Classic wrapped up with Stage 4 presented by Gates Industrial Corporation, a circuit race around downtown Denver on a 9.1-mile course that started and finished at the Velorama Festival and sent racers around Coors Field, through North Capitol Hill and Uptown to City Park. There were 74 survivors in the Stage 4 race and they completed eight laps for 71.2 miles, all characterized by intense speed, focus and several breakaways.
After a few valiant but unsuccessful early surges by Colorado native Taylor Phinney (EF Education-Drapac p/b Cannondale), whose efforts earned him the FirstBank Most Aggressive Rider jersey, numerous racers took turns blasting ahead of the pack throughout the race, but none to much avail. The decisive moves came down to the homestretch, where the UHC riders cranked madly to the finish line and McCabe powered over it by a wheel as Ty Magner (Rally Cycling) and Joseph Lewis (Holowesko-Citadel p/b Arapahoe Resources), followed in second and third, respectively. Lewis once again earned the Frontier Airlines Sprint jersey as Colombian phenom Daniel Martinez Podeva (EFD), nabbed the IKON Pass Best Young Rider jersey for the third day straight.
The Colorado Classic men’s race is sanctioned by Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and is designated as a 2.HC race, which is the highest category outside of World Tour races. Both the men’s and women’s races are part of USA Cycling’s Pro Road Tour, which showcases the premier domestic road events in the United States.
Hall walks away with fifth overall win of 2018
Kendall Ryan takes final stage win as Colorado Classic women’s race wraps up with grand finale farewell for UHC
Following an incredibly aggressive final day of racing on Sunday, UnitedHealthcare’s Katie Hall came away with the 2018 Colorado Classic overall race victory, adding to her remarkable streak of U.S. stage race wins.
“This has been a really special race,” she said. “I’ve won five stages in America this year and I’d never won a stage race in America before this year. It feels pretty good. Last year we had a teammate – Ruth Winder – that was really good. I raced for her and she won almost all the stage races. This year it was my turn.”
Hall’s teammate Leah Thomas finished second in the overall race, clinching the Colorado Tourism Office Queen of the Mountain victory, making for a banner finale for UHC, whose cyclists have won every stage race they’ve entered this year, but which will be disbanding after 2018. The race was especially memorable for UHC cyclist Lauren Hall (no relation to Katie). The Colorado Classic was the final pro race for the 39-year-old veteran, who finished 11th overall and whose career highlights include stage victories at the Cascade Classic and Tour of the Gila.
“Today may be the end of our team,” Katie Hall said, adding that she’ll be moving to Europe, having signed with Dutch powerhouse team Boels-Dolmans, but not without a final party with UHC first. “It’s going to be a big change. We’re going to celebrate Lauren and this wonderful group of people I’ve been a part of for all these years.”
The final day of racing saw its fair share of handlebar scraping and high-speed jostling as numerous women fought for the stage win, but Kendall Ryan (TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank) crossed the finish line first.
After taking second in Saturday’s stage, Ryan was one of the leaders digging deep across the line, head down and grinding the pedals down the homestretch of Stage 4 presented by Gates Industrial Corporation on Sunday. She finished a wheel ahead of Emma White (Rally Cycling) as Allison Beveridge (Rally) rounded out the Stage 4 podium.
“It’s great to come back and finally get a stage win,” Ryan said. “It was super sketchy. Everyone was fighting, going for the stage win. I went through a lot of holes that weren’t even there … lots of people yelling at me. I was really happy my teammates fought for me all day.”
The final stage of the 2018 Colorado Classic women’s race made possible by Antero Resources was a circuit around downtown Denver on a 9.1-mile course that started and finished at the Velorama Festival, sending racers around Coors Field, through North Capitol Hill and Uptown to City Park and back. The women completed four laps for 34.8 miles, all characterized by attacks and tight squeezes, including two corner crashes among a few riders, all of whom got immediately back into the saddle.
In the sprinters-suited race, Stage 3 winner Jennifer Valente (Twenty20 p/b Sho-Air) held on to the Frontier Airlines Sprint jersey as Gillian Ellsay (Rally) clinched the IKON Pass Best Young Rider jersey after also earning it in Stage 1 and Stage 3. With attack after attack on Sunday, Flavia Oliviera (Fearless Femme) came away with the FirstBank Most Aggressive Rider jersey.
As in Stages 1 and 2, the women competed on the same course as the men, with an attrition of 64 racers competing in Stage 4 on Sunday.
The 2018 Colorado Classic women’s race is made possible by Antero Resources and is part of USA Cycling’s Pro Road Tour, which showcases the premier domestic road events in the United States.