Tejay van Garderen atop Challenge
COLORADO SPINGS, Colo. -- Tyler Farrar raced to his second sprint victory in the USA Pro Challenge and fellow American Tejay van Garderen maintained the overall lead through a tiebreaker Friday.
Farrar, the Wenatchee, Wash., rider for Garmin-Sharp, completed the 117.9-mile leg from Breckenridge in 3 hours, 58 minutes, 27 seconds.
"We had to use up a lot of our guys," said Farrar, referring to teammates who set him up for the sprint. "That's putting a lot of faith in me because we're trying to win the GC (overall title)."
Farrar, a 2011 Tour de France stage winner, also won the Pro Challenge opening stage, his first win of the season.
Van Garderen, the BMC rider raised in Bozeman, Mont., finished 14th in the stage in the main field in the same time as Farrar to retain the race advantage over Christian Vande Velde.
"I was focused on staying at the front, staying ahead of the crashes, staying out of trouble, ahead of time gaps," van Garderen said.
Van Garderen and Vande Velde, the Garmin-Sharp rider from Lemont, Ill., who placed 29th in the stage, have the same overall time.
"Finishing ahead of Christian wasn't on my mind coming into the finish," van Garderen said. "It was just staying on the bike and staying in a good position and not losing anything."
Taylor Phinney of BMC and Boulder, Colo., finished second in the stage, with Alessandro Bazzana of Italy, both in the same time.
Eight riders, including Vincenzo Nibali of Italy, third in last month's Tour de France, built nearly a 6-minute lead in the stage.
Three leaders, including Nibali, remained in front with six laps left and with about a minute lead. But the main field caught the trio on the concluding circuits around the finishing city.
Ivan Rovny of Russia remained third overall, trailing by 6 seconds.
Defending race titlist Levi Leipheimer of Santa Rosa, Calif., was fourth overall, 8 seconds back.
The weeklong event continues Saturday with a 102.8-mile stage that includes the final two climbs of the seven-stage race. The second-year race will end Sunday with a 9.5-mile time trial in Denver.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press
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