By George, Hincapie gets a popular win in Aspen; Van Garderen takes lead from Leipheimer

WATCH ONLINE: Catch a live stream of every stage on Shack Tracker. The quality is good and standings are updated dynamically on the page. Watch here starting at 12:50 p.m. Mountain time to see Thursday’s time trial in Vail.

ASPEN — The second stage race in the USA Pro Cycling Challenge on Wednesday featured two brutal climbs, so perhaps it figured that the old warhorse, George Hincapie, would claim the win in a sprint finish in rainy Aspen — as well as second place in the overall standings.

Young Tejay Van Garderen finished with the lead group to claim the overall lead in the race over Hincapie by 16 seconds, while pre-race favorite Tom Danielson leapt from ninth to third, just 22 seconds back.

The leader entering the day, Levi Leipheimer, was among the first to reach the top of the final climb on Independence Pass, but lost time on the descent and now is in fourth place overall (34 seconds back), followed by Christian VandeVelde (:45 back) and Tour de France winner Cadel Evans (:51).

Frank Schleck now stands 12th (1:16 back), but brother Andy stumbled badly and is 5:22 back. Find complete stage and overall standings here.

After the race start in Gunnison, a breakaway developed on the way up Cottonwood Pass and maintained a 3+ minute advantage over the peleton as they reached Twin Lakes, the beginning of the long climb up Independence Pass. Riders in the lead group included Danny Pate (HTC-Highroad), Andre Steensen and, perhaps most ominously for the pelotion, two riders from the Colombian team Gobernacion de Antioquia, Rafael Montiel and Alejandro Ramirez. But Leipheimer, forced to respond by the talented young Van Garderen, reeled in the lead group by the top of the telling climb up Independence Pass.

And now it’s off to Vail on Thursday for Stage 3, a 10-mile time trial.

Previous stages in the race:

Interested in more details about the race? Check out these links:

  • The course: From Prologue to high country, here’s where the race will be contested in Crested Butte, Aspen, Vail, Steamboat Springs and more. Get maps, elevation gain information and video.
  • Teams: Who’s racing? The entire list of competitors.
  • History: This isn’t the first pro cycling race in Colorado. Learn about the Red Zinger Classic and the Coors Classic.
  • The jerseys: See what the leader, top climber and sprinters will be wearing.
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