Dennis Solos To Take USA Pro Challenge Lead20. August 2015, Breckenridge, Colorado (USA) — Road Team
Rohan Dennis soloed to victory Thursday to deliver the BMC Racing Team its third win in four stages of the USA Pro Challenge while assuming the overall lead from teammate Brent Bookwalter, who finished runner-up.
Dennis zoomed up and over the final climb of the 202.5-kilometer race, past eventual third-place finisher Robbie Squire (Hincapie Racing Team), who had attacked at the bottom. In front of a massive crowd in Breckenridge, Dennis sat up and freewheeled his BMC teammachine SLR01 across the line to celebrate his fourth individual win on the season.
"I used Robbie as a bit of a carrot, you could say," Dennis said. "I was playing mind games with myself the whole way up. I was waiting for the one-kilometer-to-go banner to the king of the mountain. Then I saw the 200-meter sign and the crowd was going nuts. I thought I would click into a bigger gear and go. It hurt still, I won't lie. But there was the adrenaline of knowing you are going over the top first and and there was a gap. That gives you a bit of a boost."
Dennis became the third BMC Racing Team rider to wear the Pearl Izumi yellow leader's jersey. Taylor Phinney won Stage 1 Monday before Bookwalter soloed to win Tuesday ahead of Dennis at the summit of Arapahoe Basin. Wednesday, Bookwalter kept the lead as Dennis finished runner-up.
Dennis also took the lead in the "king of the mountain" classification and the sprints classification while the BMC Racing Team kept its lead in the team standings. Friday's stage is a 13.5-kilometer individual time trial. Dennis leads Bookwalter by 13 seconds while Squire is third at 26 seconds.
Sport Director Jackson Stewart said the BMC Racing Team was under fire early and often in the race that began with an ascent of Independence Pass.
"We did everything we could to support Brent, with Rohan in the background," Stewart said. "We knew if anything happened, we could always play that option of putting Rohan somewhere or trying him for the finish. It was amazing how the guys did everything. The way (Michael) Schär and Phinney brought Rohan and Brent into town was perfect."
Bookwalter said it was big advantage to have teammate Damiano Caruso, a top 10 finisher at this year's Giro d'Italia, riding in the day's breakaway.
"The crosswinds and Cannondale-Garmin's aggressive riding sort of thwarted his hopes, but it was still nice to have him up there," Bookwalter said. "I think it is a testament to the depth of the team and the motivation of the team here to be riding the front of the race every day and then to put a guy in the break to play for the stage win."
BMC Racing Team Flickr Gallery
See photos from the race.
BMC Racing Team Audio Line
Listen to post-race interviews.