USA Pro Challenge: Aussie Rohan Dennis wins USA Pro Challenge |

USA Pro Challenge: Aussie Rohan Dennis wins USA Pro Challenge

Staff report
The climb up Independence Pass is over and so is the 2015 USA Pro Challenge. The cyclists who rode Independence Pass twice this year and stayed overnight in Aspen on Wednesday, closed the Colorado stage race Sunday in downtown Denver.
Jeremy Wallace / The Aspen Times |

Powerhouse BMC Racing completed its mission Sunday in Denver.

Riding on the strongest team in the field, Australian Rohan Dennis pedaled his way into history as the general classification winner in the 2015 USA Pro Challenge — the first rider from outside the United States to win the Colorado stage race.

On Sunday, Dennis rode in support of teammate Taylor Phinney of Boulder, who nearly converted another stage win but came up just second to sprint winner John Murphy of UnitedHealthcare, a former BMC rider.

Lucas Haedo of Jamis finished third in the 58-mile stage that started in Golden.

Dennis, who won the stage from Steamboat Springs to Arapahoe Basin and also won the individual time trial, won the overall by 40 seconds over teammate Brent Bookwalter.

Rob Britton of SmartStop finished third overall, 1:31 back. Gavin Mannion of Jelly Belly was fourth in the overall; Lachlan Morton, also riding for Jelly Belly, was fifth.

“The A-Basin climb, I think that was the key,” Dennis said of his dominating victory after his BMC team had decimated the field on the steady, 4-mile climb from Silverthorne up to Arapahoe Basin Ski Area. “That showed me I have the legs.”

He also won the King of the Mountains competition in the fifth annual USA Pro Challenge.

Kiel Reijnen of UnitedHealthcare, who won Stage 3 that finished in downtown Aspen on Wednesday, won the Sprint competition.

Best Young Rider for this year went to Axeon Cycling Team’s Tao Geoghegan Hart, 20, of Great Britain.