American George Hincapie wins Stage 2 of Pro Cycling Challenge |

American George Hincapie wins Stage 2 of Pro Cycling Challenge

Dan Petty
The Denver Post
Contributed photoPro cyclists race toward the finish line in downtown Aspen Wednesday during Stage 2 of the U.S. Pro Cycling Challenge. The race started in Gunnison.

ASPEN – Cyclists competing in Stage 2 of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge crested over Independence Pass and barreled down the road at speeds of more than 50 miles an hour today.

In the end, it came down to a sprint down Aspen’s Main Street with American George Hincapie crossing the finish line in first place.

American Tejay Van Garderen finished second and Tom Danielson of Boulder finished third.

With today’s finish, Van Garderen sits as the race leader.

On a brutal route that featured two mountain passes higher than 12,000 feet, Colombian Rafael Infantino was the first to summit the pass as an American chase pack of race leader Levi Leipheimer​, Christian Vandevelde and Van Garderen broke from the peloton in the final miles of the climb to close a gap.

Thousands of spectators lined the sides of the road on 12,095-foot Independence Pass, an image reminiscent of the crowds that assemble for major European races, including the Tour de France. Earlier, riders climbed even higher over Cottonwood Pass – which looms at 12,126 feet above sea level – as part of what race organizers are terming the “Queen Stage” of the weeklong event.

In Aspen, a few thousand lined the streets to cheer on the visitors, and spectators could be seen leaning out of windows and bringing step-stools to peer over the crowds. A rainstorm late in the day did dampen the crowd, but quickly blew out of town as the winning racers took to the podium.

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