The 2015 USA Pro Challenge represents Taylor Phinney’s second race back after his 2014 injury. He had a strong return in his opening race at the Tour of Utah two weeks earlier where he finished 3rd in the first stage from a small group sprint and came into the Colorado race with good form and motivation.
The first stage had complicated strategy, as the field was a little more wide open without an absolute clear GC leader and so the BMC Racing Team looked at several options for the stage. As the race developed, Rohan Dennis rode strongly in a two-man breakaway for the final 20 km of the stage which was reeled in by a much-reduced bunch of about 40 riders, including BMC Racing Team’s Brent Bookwalter, Damiano Caruso, and Taylor Phinney, who had chased hard after the final descent to claw back to the pack.
Phinney averaged 77.4 km/hr with a max speed of 84.4 km/hr for the first two kilometers of the descent to make contact with the group ahead. With Dennis and his breakaway companion being caught at one km to go, the stage was set for a group sprint. Phinney was well-positioned to make a massive effort for 500 meters, averaging 1126 watts for 27 seconds. He averaged 67.4 km/hr at 113 RPM, which saw him move clear on the right side of the road to earn the win and overall leader’s jersey. His peak power and max RPM were 1294 watts and 115, respectively. Bookwalter finished third, and Caruso was 10th, and Dennis was 38th - all on the same time, helping the team take the overall lead in the team competition for Stage 1 as well.
SRM data smoothed 1%. Click file image to enlarge.
Write up courtesy of Neal Henderson, BMC Racing Team Trainer