USA Pro Challenge: Breakaways — sometimes they don’t work | SteamboatToday.com

USA Pro Challenge: Breakaways — sometimes they don’t work

Jens Voigt rides alone across Rabbit Ears Pass during the 2013 USA Pro Challenge. He led for much of the race, but couldn't hang on in the end. He was passed within two miles of the finish line in Steamboat Springs.

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The geography leading into Steamboat Springs — especially that which Stage 1 will cross — mean a breakaway group is almost sure to get caught.

It doesn't mean a group or a rider can't keep things exciting, however.

That's what happened in Steamboat the last time the Pro Challenge came to town, when 41-year old German rider came oh-so-close to shocking the city and holding off the peloton.

Voigt built a huge fan base in his career by launching on just such gutty breakaway attempts. That day he did it again, with a group of four other riders. Whether by necessity or strategy, they all eventually dropped off and Voigt was all alone as he charged up the east side of Rabbit Ears Pass, and still alone as he swooped down the west side, crouching low behind his handlebars to maximize every possible efficiency.

The power of the peloton proved too much, however, and he was caught just past the Mount Werner Drive on-ramp on U.S. Highway 40, 1.5 miles from the finish line, much to the dismay of waiting fans, but to the relief of hard-charging teams quickly setting up their sprinters.

"It didn't work," he said, "but at least I gave it a go."