USA Pro Challenge: Aspen’s Abby Mickey fourth in women’s time trial
Aspen’s Abby Mickey raced to a dynamic fourth-place finish Friday in the opening stage of the Women’s USA Pro Challenge in Breckenridge.
Mickey, a former standout ski racer, blasted around the 8.4-mile Breckenridge Time Trial course that including a hefty climb, in 21 minutes, 52 seconds — just 4 seconds off the podium in the inaugural USA Pro women’s event.
“It was a dream time trial,” Mickey said in an interview with The Aspen Times. “I had so much fun. I made up 14 seconds on that descent.”
Mickey, riding for UnitedHealthcare, said that she had pre-ridden the time trial course several times with her coach Allison Powers, a former standout pro racer.
“We practiced every single detail of the course,” Mickey said, including the descent. “Allison was in my follow car today, and she helped me a lot. She talked me through it. She told me when to work, when to get on the gas.”
Mickey, who launched her pro cycling career with the powerhouse University of Colorado cycling team, said she was confident on the descent from the high point of 10,008 feet down to the finish in Breckenridge at 9,600 feet.
“I stayed down in my aero -bars the whole way down,” she said. “I was flying.”
The fans, she said, were inspiring.
“The crowds were incredible,” Mickey said. “There were a lot of Boulder people up on the climb. There were people screaming my name. That was really cool.”
She said the road narrowed near the KOM at the top point, with the crowd closing in from both sides.
“It felt like the Tour de France,” said Mickey, who was mobbed by her UnitedHealthcare teammates after Friday’s fourth-place finish.
Kristin Armstrong of Twenty16 won Friday’s time trial in 21:14.590, by .012 of a second over teammate Allie Dragoo.
Amanda Miller of Pepper Palace Pro Cycling was 24 seconds back in third place with Mickey just 4 seconds behind her.
Mickey ended the day with two race jerseys — the Queen of the Mountains jersey and the Best Young Rider jersey.
Mickey and the cyclists in the Women’s USA Pro Challenge will tackle the 58-mile road race from Loveland to Fort Collins today.
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