One day after what is being called one of the most epic days in American cycling, in Boulder, Colorado, we saw a performance for the record books. A final day that will be talked about for years to come.
The crowds in Boulder yesterday were so large and the fans so enthusiastic it was difficult to differentiate this stage and some of the mountain top finishes in France. Boulder, known for its cycling community and relaxed way of life was a perfect host for the second to last stage in what has been an unbelievable race. It is also the city in which Team Garmin calls home, so fans lined the streets in argyle cheering their favorite riders on! After the grueling stage that finished on top of Flagstaff Mountain, Christian Vande Velde sat in second place, only nine seconds back of leader Levi Leipheimer and 21seconds ahead of third place TJ Van Garderen. With only the time trial remaining, any of those three had a legitimate shot at the overall victory.
The time trial turned through the streets of downtown Denver on a fast and technical 9.5 mile course. The last three riders of the day were Leipheimer, Vande Velde and Van Garderen with temperatures exceeding 90 degrees and cycling fans witnessing one of the most amazing race finishes in USA cycling history. At the first checkpoint Vande Velde was already ahead of Van Garderen, and with his parents in the crowd was able to endure the 9.5 miles of lactic acid and burning legs while coming in with the second fastest time of the day! With Leipheimer still on the course, Vande Velde had to wait and stare at the clock as the seconds counted away. When Leipheimer rolled through it was simply not enough and is was clear that Garmin was the victor. Vande Velde, the Garmin captain and leader, pumped his fists in the air and wore a smile as wide as the Rockies that surrounded. Garmin teammate Tyler Farrar claimed the Green Jersey of the Sprint Champion and Tom Danielson earned the Most Aggressive Rider Jersey.
The Team is headed to Kansas City tomorrow where they will make the 20 minute commute to Garmin's World Headquarters in Olathe, KS. to ride with employees and guests all while raising money for BikeMS. With the current fitness form of this team I think I might be joining the ride on a moto so I can keep up.