Like Cadel Evans, Chris Froome will make appearance in US race.
Fresh from a historic victory in the 100th edition of the Tour de France, Sky’s Chris Froome is in Colorado. The Challenge starts today with a rolling ride from Aspen to SnowMass. Froome will likely uncork his legs on Tuesday’s test, which includes the extremely tough and simply beautiful ascent of Independence Pass.
Amgen Tour of California winner, Teejay Vangarderen, is also in Colorado and has announced he’s there to win, no excuses. He’ll be looking for some positive results after a very disappointing Tour, and he’ll hope to avoid reliving views of Froome’s backside bouncing up the mountain ahead of him. BMC has taken both California and Colorado’s race very seriously, and the American will have the full support of the squad for the entirety of the week’s action.
Peter Sagan is also back in the USA, and has actually spent a few weeks training as a lead-in to the race. He is the big favorite in the sprint stages, though it’ll probably down to new US National Champion Freddie Rodriguez to give him a challenge.
Other GC men include Andy Schleck, who impressed at the Tour and looks to be nearing his former self. Froome will have Richie Porte alongside, and it would be a surprise to see the Kenyan pull the Tasmanian around as repayment for his stellar efforts in July. Former Sky lieutenant Mick Rogers will lead SaxoBank, a just reward after all his work for Alberto Contador and Roman Kreuziger at the Tour. Garmin will look for Tom Danielson’s form to hold from Utah, with Christian Vande Velde and Andrew Talansky also looking to play their hands in Colorado. Once again, no team has as many options as Garmin, and they’ll animate the mountain stages Tuesday and the Queen Stage on Thursday.
Of the smaller squads, keep your eye on kolo t.c. favorite Darwin Atapuma of Colombia. He’s an explosive climber that may get some leash from the other GC favorites whose may be more focused on the larger European squads. Give him ten meters, and he’ll take a stage win without a doubt. Look for him to attack early on the last climb Tuesday if he has the legs.