Aspen, Colo. - Prior to the men’s Stage 3 finale of the 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge, the streets of downtown Aspen hosted the Blue Ribbon Alpine Challenge.
Originally planned as a three-day stage event, the Aspen Criterium nonetheless brought out some of best riders, including London Olympics track heroine, Lauren Tamayo (Exergy TWENTY12), former Giro Donne victor, Mara Abbott, and last year's Aspen Criterium winner, Anne Samplonius (NOW - Novartis), in the women's professional peloton.
Katie Compton and Abbott drove the pace early, but the race would come down to a battle between Alison Powers (NOW-Novartis for MS) and Jade Wilcoxson (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies), who traded off going off the front in the final laps.
In the finale, Wilcoxson proved to be the class of the field as she easily bested all comers once she began to sprint. Powers would finish in second, and Leah Kirchmann (Optum) in third.
“My teammates all day long were there for me,” Wilcoxson told the Aspen Times. “As soon as I would start to get tired, they were right there to pick it up and give me a rest, and they were the reason I had enough at the end to pull out a win.”
Results – Blue Ribbon Alpine Challenge
1. Jade Wilcoxson (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies)
2. Alison Powers (NOW-Novartis for MS)
3. Leah Kirchmann (Optum)
Leaders Jersey Winner – Jade Wilcoxson (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies)
Best Young Rider – Leah Kirchmann (Optum)
Photos: Leonard Basobas/lb-photos.com