Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team rider Peter Velits made a 22-rider escape group that had a large enough gap to potentially stay away in the 203.2km Stage 1 of USA Pro Challenge on Monday. However, the peloton had other ideas.
The large breakaway had more than 5 minutes on the peloton, but as the break headed toward the final two climbs of the day, the gap started to drop. That is when the escape group fractured into a group of 10, which was reduced to 9 when one rider dropped off the pace. Velits could not hang on past Category 2 climb Lizard Head Pass, and just two riders — Tom Danielson and Peter Stetina of Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda — decided to try and win the race together.
However, those two were also reeled in with 4.2km to go, but their teammate Tyler Farrar won the stage in a bunch sprint. Alessandro Bazzana (Team Type 1-Sanofi) was 2nd and Damiano Caruso (Liquigas-Cannondale) was 3rd. OPQS rider Levi Leipheimer, defending champion, crossed the line in 18th place.
OPQS rider Francesco Chicchi abandoned the race.
OPQS looks next to a 159.3km stage on Tuesday.