Stage 2: 130 miles, Gunnison to Aspen via Buena Vista over Cottonwood and Independence Passes
What follows are my thoughts as I listen (an occasionally check in for video) Stage 2 of what truly should be called the "Tour of Colorado." I'm glad to hear American commentators today. Let's make this our own, no European traditions need to instantly transfer over to OUR race.
At four miles the stage starts off with a brisk 19.9 mph pace. Things look interesting for the day...
As the riders snaked up alongside the Arkansas River...we're rewarded with stunning views of the Arkansas River Valley. And the average pace climbs quickly.
6 man breakaway heads for Cottonwood. Big ambitions on this day of two passes.
Wait! Roadies in dirt? What gives?
Around noon lightning strikes were reported on the road ahead, near Twin Lakes (of Leadville 100 fame!) but nothing striking the racers just yet.
Roads are wet (but not sloppy) under the 6 man breakaway as they crawl toward the summit of Cottonwood Pass.
Tornado warning in ASPEN?! That's just plain crazy! Will we see Elmira Gulch making an attack for the finish?
The breakaway is at Cottonwood summit...wading through a spirited crowd, past a huge inflatable "frontiersman," 3:30 ahead of the peloton and now screaming down the east side of the pass.
Walter Pedraza takes KOM points, puts on a jacket and heads down. Pedraza removes jacket two minutes later, tries to give it to film crew.
Pelo over the top at 2 hrs 25 min.Looks like some sprinkles are flying as the riders are on their way down toward Boonta Vistal.
One commentator is talking about life behind the Green Curtain in the People's Republic of Boulder. Heehee!
Approaching Clear Creek Reservoir the breakaway is 4:50 ahead of the peloton. Apparently there was a crash involving a cattle grate on the climb up Cottonwood Pass. Still no word on who went down...
Wondering how they will deal with the RR crossing in Golden, on Sunday's stage, where I crashed and wrecked my shoulder...
It looks like Danny Pate has been out front for much of the day so far. Breakaway is maintaining 4:50 lead.
Levi has hung back in the peloton. From what I understand this is normal behavior for the leader. He is typically protected by his team during the stage.
At Clear Creek Reservoir the gap has closed down to about 4 minutes.
"Miserable long climb" is how one commentator describes Independence. Sounds fun!
The peloton is closing (down to 3:50) past Clear Creek Reservoir.
Basso went down before Cottonwood and injured his wrist. No word on who else crashed.
Breakaway will cross the LV course shortly Fuzzy feelings!
Leipheimer is moving to the rear of the peloton alone. Problems? Nah, yakking with the team car.
He slips back into the herd. Will Lance high-five him in Aspen?
They've made the turn-off to Twin Lakes! Too bad the route doesn't go through Leadville.
It appears the peloton is slowly, but steadily closing the gap to the breakaway gang.
People are asking "where are the thong-wearing Borat impersonators along the route?" Please don't show them!
Andre Steensen of Saxo Bank breaks away, ripping the breakaway group apart into a couple of chase groups. The attack on Independence Pass is on!
Steensen is all alone out front climbing Independence Pass! The peloton is only 1:10 back!
Daniele Callegarin was the injured rider at the cattle guard on Cottonwood Pass. He broke both hands and has maxilofacial trauma (sounds traumatic). He's been airlifted to Denver.
The peloton is getting ready to swallow Steensen whole!
Infantino breaks for the pass, Steensen is only 35 seconds ahead of the peloton.
Where did Steensen go? Stetina and Weening are after Infantino. The descent is going to be exciting, eh?
Ah, Steensen spit out!
A. Schleck falls out of the field and Leipheimer is out front of hte peloton with a single teammate.
Infantino is keeping a few seconds ahead up to the summit of Independence.
Looks like Stetina and Weening have been spit out?
Just over a mile to go to the summit. Infantino still in the lead.
VanGarderen is trying to take the Pass!
Infantino goes! They are starting over the hump. Leipheimer and crew (VanGarderen and Vandevelde) are puttin' the spurs to 'er!
15 miles to go, and all downhill!
Raining on the pack now. Stay upright guys!
Rooting for Levi to hold onto yellow. At this point there are no guarantees!
Less than 10 miles to go. Who's it going to be? The pelo is only 30 seconds back!
My boss sent me a text a few minutes ago saying he was in a hearing watching the race on his iPad. Ha!
Where ARE THEY?
Big crowds in Aspen. Lance is in there somewhere.
Coverage is frozen. Nothing but those derned Brits blabbering!
Four unknown riders are out front. Levi? Vandevelde? Danielson? VanGarderen?
Raining at the finish line now.
Looks like the same four breakaway are out front: LL, CV, TG, RI. Maybe?
Less than 4 miles to go and the riders are still around the dark side of the moon.
There's a report of Sutherland in the "front group."
Hincapie in the lead pack! Awesome!!!
LL, CVV, TJVG, GH, TD, JV, RI in the lead going into Aspen. We're going to Aspen!
Levi leading chase group! Go Georgie!!!
Arg!!! Video feed unstable as finish looms!
Very wet roads!
HINCAPIE SPRINTS FOR A STAGE WIN!!!
Poor Levi. Way back...lost the yellow.