Colorado’s van Garderen wins 2nd-straight USA Pro Challenge

(AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
<p>USA Pro Challenge bike race leader Tejay van Garderen, center, of BMC Racing Team, wears the yellow race leader jersey as he rides in formation with teammates Michael Schar, left, of Switzerland, and Brent Brookwalter between Boulder and Golden, Colo., Sunday Aug. 24, 2014. Van Garderen won the 2014 USA Pro Challenge, and his team won overall. </p>

Aspen's Tejay van Garderen claimed his second-straight USA Pro Challenge with a sixth-place finish in the concluding stage on Sunday.

With temperatures in high 80s, Alex Howes of the United States claimed his first pro win by two inches in the 78-mile Boulder-Denver stage of the 525-mile event that began Aug. 18 in Aspen, Colorado, finishing in 2 hours, 45 minutes and 20 seconds.

Van Garderen, 26 was victorious over Tom Danielson by 1 minute and 32 seconds. He led the race for the final five days.

“This week was just incredible,” van Garderen says. “Here, this is just our home and it feels more like a training camp; it’s just fun. It feels like we’re racing with all our friends. It was fun to share that with my European teammates. This must be what it feels like for them when they race in their homeland.”

Serghei Tvetcov of Romania placed third overall, trailing the winner by 1:45.

Refered to as "America's Race," the seven-day USA Pro Challenge is the largest spectator event in Colorado.

"Fans in around the world were treated to an amazing show as the best cyclists in the world conquered Colorado,” said Shawn Hunter, CEO of the USA Pro Challenge.