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Altitude is more than you think. Even professional bike racers are worried about the altitude in Aspen

The conversation at the pre-race press conference and the press conference after stage one was the concern about the altitude.

Kiel Reijnen (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team had this to say about the altitude

“I am by no means a pure sprinter, but this course is a bit of a slap in the face, what a tough way to start a stage race. It’s a really deceptive stage. It’s difficult to control and it’s really unpredictable. I’m still out of breath and it’s been more than an hour since the finish, and I was already at altitude to begin with.”

Alex Howes (USA) Team Garmin-Sharp

“I myself am a victim of the high altitude. It was pretty relaxed for the first third of the race, but that last lap really heated it up and it was just full gas from there on. You see a lot of punch and lift from riders toward the end, and that’s not really something you see at this kind of altitude. It’s pretty exciting to see that out here.”

Colorado Resident Kiel Reijnen Takes Stage 1 of the 2014 USA Pro Challenge

Crowds of Cheering Fans Lined the Streets of Downtown Aspen to Greet the Best Riders in the World

Aspen, Colo. (Aug. 18, 2014) – Set against the beautiful backdrop of Aspen and Snowmass, the 2014 USA Pro Challenge got off to an exciting start with a circuit race of three 22-miles laps that included 2,300 ft. of climbing per lap, creating an aggressive day of racing. Colorado Resident Kiel Reijnen (USA) of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team took home the stage win, which also puts him in the overall lead heading into the second day of racing.

“This stage was really exciting last year. It was a nail-biter and this year was the same,” said Reijnen. “The USA Pro Challenge is a huge goal for our team. Everyone is here watching and it’s really important to the team we do well here.”

In a close finish, Reijnen took the stage win, followed by Howes in second and Ben Hermans (BEL) of BMC Racing Team in third.

After the conclusion of the first stage of the USA Pro Challenge, Reijnen holds the Smashburger Leader Jersey, Lexus Sprint Jersey and, new for this year, the Colorado National Guard Best Colorado Rider Jersey . Jacques-Maynes has the Sierra Nevada King of the Mountains Jersey and Summerhill was awarded the FirstBank Most Aggressive Rider Jersey. Clement Chevrier (FRA) of Bissell Development Team has the Colorado State University Best Young Rider Jersey heading into Stage 2 tomorrow.

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