Big Stage 5 a Prelude to Massive Queen Stage in the Rockies
The peloton prepares for the Queen Stage, an incredible 111 miles, with 11,000 feet of climbing, at heights of 12,000 feet ...
Following yesterday’s short time trial, riders at the Mavic Haute Route Rockies took on the first of three long days that comprise the back half of the event. Stage 5 covered nearly 94 miles and stayed between 9,000-11,000 feet above sea level for the majority of the day. It was a challenging stage that started with a climb up Battle Mountain and then Tennessee Pass. The descent between them is so short that it can feel like 27 miles of straight climbing. After dropping (slightly) into Leadville, CO, riders were treated to a loop around beautiful Turquoise Lake. While it may have been a visual treat, it was hard on the legs, climbing up to 10,700 feet above sea level. The day’s final challenge came after the feed zone in the historic mining town. Riders reached the highest point of the day at the 11,300-foot summit of Fremont Pass. The long and sweeping descent from Fremont Pass gave riders a chance to relax, and they used the scenic bike path to skirt Frisco before riding to the finish in Breckenridge.
Despite 53 miles of timed segments, there was no change in the gap between GC leader Russell Finsterwald and current runner up Ryan Petry. The trio of Finsterwald, Petry, and Jamey Driscoll finished with the same time for the stage, which moved Driscoll ahead of Matt Cooke and into the third place spot with two hard climbing stages to go. In the women’s race, Canadian Olympian Lyne Bessette was the fastest on the stage, but only by 27 seconds to runner up Jaime Brede. Brede’s performance on Stage 5 was enough to move up a spot in the GC, putting her in second place with Nina Donohue in third.
Link to Stage 5 results: https://my.raceresult.com/1005
Demetrio Pitarch - Boncourt, Switzerland
About Demetrio: This is Demetrio’s fifth Haute Route. He has ridden two Haute Route Alps and two Haute Route Pyrenees. He met fellow rider Didier Stoeckli, who is also from Switzerland, at his first Haute Route and they have since traveled together to all Haute Route events, including Rockies.
About the ride: “I chose to ride the Haute Route Rockies because coming to the far West was something I’ve dreamt about since I was growing up. I like the technical aspect of this event. It’s tough, but I like it. My favorite part so far was Trough Road on Stage 3; I really loved hearing the rattlesnakes. I was also excited to see a deer and I’d like to see a bear, but not yet. I’ve only skied at this elevation before; this is my first time biking above 10,000 feet.”
Bryan Coward – Morristown, New Jersey
About Bryan: Brian just started road biking last year and began racing in 2018. This is his first Haute Route.
About the ride: “It’s been an awesome way to see Colorado. It’s really beautiful and the support has been great. New Jersey cycling is a lot different from this. We do a lot of four corner crits. Prior to Haute Route Rockies, the highest climb I had done was 900 feet. Haute Route has been a great experience. Everyone is here for the right reasons and enjoying themselves. There’s a lot of friendly competition and a lot of camaraderie. The routes and support have been fantastic. It’s kind of like riding like a pro.”
Lanier Allen - Littleton, CO
About Lanier: Lanier started cycling at age 41 and has been racing for about eight years. She is a member of the Stages Cycling Team.
“This week has been an incredible ride with great people. My favorite part is the support and seeing some different routes I’ve never done in Colorado. The event has been very supportive of women, we have our own categories and age groups. I wish more women would get out here and do it!”