Rocky Mountain Omnium returns | AspenTimes.com

Rocky Mountain Omnium returns

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent
Aspen, CO Colorado

Jeff Caspersen/Post IndependentRobert Stumpus competes in last year's time trial stage of the Rocky Mountain Omnium, which returns to the Western Slope this weekend.

CARBONDALE – Greg Krause likes the diversity of the Rocky Mountain Omnium.

The three-stage road cycling affair, which features a time trial, criterium and road race, offers competitors a little bit of everything.

It’s that diversity, and perhaps the mountain setting of Carbondale, that’s helped the fourth-year event establish itself as a fixture on the Colorado road cycling scene.

“I just love coming up to the mountains,” said Krause, last year’s overall Omnium champ. “Mountain events are fun, and they do a good job with the Omnium. It’s got good diversity, with the time trial, the downtown criterium race in Carbondale and the road stage on Sunday.”

Friday’s time trial marks the official start of the weekend. Taking off from near Colorado Rocky Mountain School, cyclists will navigate the terrain along County Road 109 outside Carbondale. Racing against the clock, competitors pedal furiously to a point near Ironbridge Golf Club and then turn around and head back.

Saturday’s criterium in downtown Carbondale is the most spectator-friendly of the stages. A mass of competitors whiz their way around a three-fourths-of-a-mile loop for a set period of time (the amount of time depends on the division).

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Omnium organizer Mitch Hyra anticipates a sizable turnout of Saturday spectators. As such, music, beer and wine tents and a street dance will be woven into the day’s itinerary. Racing will run from 8:30 a.m. until roughly 8 p.m.

The Omnium concludes with Sunday’s road race, which begins in Dotsero and follows a route along the Colorado River.

More than 300 riders have registered for the weekend’s proceedings. Unlike in 2009 when cycling pros Lance Armstrong and Levi Leipheimer dropped in on the time trial, Hyra isn’t expecting any surprise big-name showings this weekend.

Nonetheless, the 2011 Omnium will draw its share of high-caliber riders.

“The regional hotshots are all coming,” Hyra said. “We don’t really have any top-secret riders as of yet. You never know. We typically don’t hear from them until about 24 hours out. They want to fly under the radar, I guess.”

Krause is certainly among the regional hotshots. The Littleton resident, who competes for Boulder-based Team juwi/First Solar, dominated last year’s competition.

The 34-year-old began focusing on cycling a few years ago.

“I used to do a lot of triathlons – Ironman, stuff like that,” said Krause, a Category 1 rider. “I did that for several years and then I decided to just focus on the bike, and I’ve been enjoying success in Colorado races.”

Krause and others in the Omnium field will use this weekend as training for the forthcoming week’s USA Cycling road national championships in Augusta, Ga.

“This is sort of a final tune-up for that,” he said. “It’s really similar to the Rocky Mountain Omnium, actually. This is a good tune-up to get the race legs going for that.”

Visit http://www.rockymountainomnium.com for more details on this weekend’s racing.

jcaspersen@postindependent.com

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