Monday, August 22, 2011

Setting the stage: USA Pro Cycling Challenge

Posted By on Mon, Aug 22, 2011 at 11:31 AM

We're just a couple hours away from today's USA Pro Cycling Challenge prologue, for which we've received a starting list for the race riders:
2011_UPCC_Prologue_Start_List.pdf

Yesterday, Kirsten Akens and I attended a pre-race press conference at the USA Cycling office, in which officials introduced the riders and the expected 20 million international viewers to Colorado Springs.

View a slideshow of the event here.

Each official gave a quick speech, including Colorado governor John Hickenlooper and Colorado Springs mayor Steve Bach, Pro Challenge CEO Shawn Hunter and race director Jim Birrell.

Following that, questions were directed to each rider in attendance, including Tour de France winners Cadel Evans and Andy and Frank Schleck, as well as Colorado rider Tom Danielson, Italian rider Ivan Basso, American rider Christian Vande Velde, Dutch racer Robert Geskink and Columbian rider Sergio Henao.

Thats the serious gaze of a man for whom every rider is gunning. Coming off his Tour de France victory, Cadel Evans is the man many will be watching this week.
  • Matthew Schniper
  • That's the serious gaze of a man for whom every rider is gunning. Coming off his Tour de France victory, Cadel Evans is the man many will be watching this week.

Many of the questions centered around the challenging course and altitude, and a couple tried to play up a rivalry between the Schleck brothers and Evans.

At the conference's conclusion, I lucked into the final question, which I directed at Evans:

(You can watch it here around the 1:07:25 mark, or view the conference in full.)

Indy: What's the key to tomorrow's time trial? People are talking about the turns inside the garden as being really important. Also the turn from Ridge Road onto Pikes Peak. What do you think is most critical tomorrow?

Evans: Is that the downhill left turn? (Yeah.) (Crowd laughs.)
Blow your brake pads up, smoke the tires, and hope get around it? (Crowd laughs again.) Yeah, that could be important. For the other 8.6 kilometers, you just gotta go fast. It's like always in a time trial. From a racing perspective, it's also a false flat downhill and we're gonna have a really high average speed — really fast times I think, and it'll be interesting. ... It'll be interesting.

Following the conference, we also attended the People's Pedal Party downtown.

Click here to view a brief slideshow from that event.

Here's what you need to know about following today's race, and keep an eye on the Indy's Twitter page (@csindependent) as well as mine and Kirsten Akens' Twitter pages (@MatthewSchniper, @downtownkake) for posts from the prologue.

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