Colorado Classic Stage 2: Manuel Senni Finishes Fourth After Tough Day of Climbing12. August 2017, Breckenridge (USA) — Road Team
Manuel Senni claimed fourth place on stage 2 of the Colorado Classic after spending the day on the attack on the short, but tough stage.
Stage 2 saw the peloton tackle 10 laps of a 10.3km course, including the tricky Moonstone climb and Illinois Gulch descent, with more than 7000 feet of climbing on the cards on the 103km stage.
After one lap, the early breakaway of the day was formed when Taylor Eisenhart (Holowesko-Citadel) and Daniel Eaton (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team) attacked from the bunch.
BMC Racing Team stayed calm in the peloton before Manuel Senni jumped ahead in a 13-rider chase group as they crossed the line to start lap four of ten. Just behind, the peloton trailed the leading duo by 1’30”.
Inside the second half of the stage, Eisenhart broke clear from Eaton and behind, Senni’s chase group was 2 minutes behind with the peloton trailing by 3’30”.
On lap six, Senni and Serghei Tvetcov (Jelly Belly Powered by Maxis) attacked from the chase group on the Moonstone climb and established a solid lead over their former breakaway companions.
Meanwhile, the tough climb on every lap took its toll on the peloton and riders began to drop from the back as the pace increased at the front of the bunch.
A large chase group with Brent Bookwalter and Joey Rosskopf formed ahead of the reduced peloton while up ahead, Senni and Tvetcov were joined by Peter Stetina (Trek-Segafredo), Alex Howes (Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team) and Sepp Kuss (Rally Cycling) in their chase behind Eisenhart.
Senni’s group continued to bring Eisenhart closer and with 15km remaining, the gap was just 40 seconds. Meanwhile, Bookwalter showed his strength on the penultimate Moonstone climb to form part of a select five-rider chase group.
With 5km to go, Senni couldn’t match the pace of Stetina and Howes, who went on to catch Eisenhart, and fought as hard as he could on the run into the finish to catch the leading trio.
Howes claimed the win and behind, Senni held on to claim fourth place and move into fifth place on the General Classification behind new race leader Eisenhart. Bookwalter led his chase group to the line and sprinted to sixth place on the stage.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“Today was really hard. I went in the chase group at the beginning but we didn’t have much cooperation in the chase group so Eisenhart took two minutes or maybe more. Afterwards, Tvetcov and I went clear and with three laps to go, three riders caught us from the second chase group. It was hard to stay with the best guys but on the last lap I was still there. In the last 500m of the climb, I just didn’t have the speed to attack. I took my pace and I was coming back close to the top. I was just behind the first group, maybe 30 seconds, and I arrived at the finish just 20 seconds back because I did the descent full gas. I just missed the last shot because probably the whole day in the breakaway was a bit hard.”
“But, the legs are good and I hope tomorrow to do something. Tomorrow is a long climb so it’s better for me compared to the guys who were in front of me today. So, we will try our best and I think we can do something good.”
Steve Bauer, Sports Director:
“Manuel Senni rode a great race today, he just couldn’t match Peter Stetina and Alex Howes on the final time up the steep climb. He went in the breakaway, stayed calm, and unfortunately, we didn’t match the counter move behind with Peter and Alex when they bridged across to Senni.”
“We will definitely want to protect Senni’s GC position on the next two stages, he deserves that. Whether there is an opportunity to make the podium we’ll see. There are strong riders and teams in front. The climb tomorrow is long but the run into the finish is long too so it will be hard to stay away. We’ll give it everything we have tomorrow and Sunday and take things day by day.”
Stage 2 Breckenridge > Breckenridge (103km)
Top 3: 1. Alex Howes (Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team), 2. Taylor Eisenhart (Holowesko Citadel), 3. Peter Stetina (Trek-Segafredo).
BMC Racing Team top 3: 4. Manuel Senni, 6. Brent Bookwalter, 17. Joey Rosskopf.
BMC Racing Team Flickr Gallery
See photos from the race.