USA Pro Challenge, Stage 3: Dennis Runner-Up; Bookwalter Still Leads19. August 2015, Aspen, Colorado — Road Team
BMC Racing Team's Rohan Dennis rode to his second straight runner-up finish at the USA Pro Challenge Wednesday while teammate Brent Bookwalter kept the overall lead by finishing ninth.
Kiel Reijnen (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team) won the finish into Aspen for the second straight year while Ruben Zepuntke (Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team) was third.
Into the last kilometer of the 163.2-km race, Dennis was following the lead of past Swiss national road champion Michael Schär, who had encouraged him to go for the stage win with a long attack.
"I was glad I did not make that decision," Dennis said. "It was very fast on the front: 75 or 77 kilometers an hour. I could not pedal any faster on his wheel. A couple of UnitedHealthcare riders came underneath me and I didn't think it was worth it, so I sort of jumped in behind them. The last corner, I nearly put Brent into the fence. He started yelling my name so I moved left and thought I might as well go. It ended up being about 300 meters, so it was bit too far."
In the overall standings, Bookwalter, who took the race lead by winning Tuesday's mountain-top finish still leads Dennis by six seconds. Jonathan Clarke (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team) is third. Nineteen riders remain within 90 seconds of the lead with four days of the race to go.
Bookwalter said he was impressed with the team support he received at the base of Independence Pass as the race turned into the teeth of a strong headwind while chasing an 11-man breakaway. A reduced peloton caught what was left of the breakaway on the downhill plunge into Aspen.
"Our boys were up there, just plowing away like a herd of cattle, bringing the breakaway back," Bookwalter said. "So I am really proud of them there. The downhill was a lot of headwind, so the headwind went a long way toward making the group bigger and neutralizing the attacks."
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