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BMC Racing Team's Mathias Frank soloed to his third victory of the season. (©BMC/Tim De Waele.)
BMC Racing Team's Mathias Frank soloed to his third victory of the season. (©BMC/Tim De Waele.)

USA Pro Challenge Stage 2: Frank Solos To Victory

21. August 2013

BMC Racing Team's Mathias Frank attacked on a short, steep climb Tuesday at the USA Pro Challenge, then bombed the descent to the finish to solo to the stage win and narrowly miss taking the overall lead.

Third Victory Of The Year
Frank said he gave it everything he had to get over Boreas Pass at the end of the 202.9-kilometer race that had earlier crossed the summits of Independence Pass (3,687 meters) and Hoosier Pass (3,518 meters). "I just made it over the top and from then on, I could hardly pedal any more," he said. "I didn't recover until the finish. But luckily, I'm not the only one here with this problem (dealing with the high altitude). I had to go super deep on that last steep pitch." Frank was one of the remnants of a 13-rider breakaway that formed in the second half of the five-hour race but splintered on the penultimate climb. One of the two riders Frank left behind on Boreas Pass – Lachlan Morton (Garmin-Sharp) – finished three seconds after him and assumed the race lead from Stage 1 winner Peter Sagan (Cannondale Pro Cycling), who was third ahead of BMC Racing Team's Tejay van Garderen. Now two seconds behind Morton and in second overall, Frank said he wasn't concerned that freewheeling his BMC teammachine SLR01 across the finish line may have cost him a chance to take the yellow jersey. "You can't have everything," he said. "I have a stage win here and I'm happy with this. I didn't really know it was coming down to a few seconds. Tactically, it is maybe not a bad thing." Frank's win was his third of the season – all of them solo – adding to back-to-back stage wins at the Tour of Austria in early July.

Several Teammates In Breakaways
The BMC Racing Team was in the thick of the action from the start, with Swiss national road champion Michael Schär leading a three-man breakaway over Independence Pass and enjoying a nine-minute lead at one point. But after two others bridged to the escapees, the chasing efforts of Sagan's Cannondale squad and RadioShack Leopard brought the race back together with less than 80 km to go. But nearly immediately, Frank and teammate Greg Van Avermaet – who was runner-up on Stage 1 – were part of a new escape move that gained as many as four minutes before Team Saxo-Tinkoff started chasing. Van Garderen said having a teammate in every breakaway was the perfect strategy. "Normally, our tactic is to ride defensively and let the moves happen and then we chase," he said. "Today, it really took the pressure off, we came through with the win and came through with fresher legs in the final for us to distance the GC (general classification) guys, so it was perfect." Van Garderen, who arrived with Sagan 14 seconds after Frank, is fourth overall, 11 seconds off the lead, while Van Avermaet (14th, at 41 seconds) and Schär (18th, at 46 seconds) give the BMC Racing Team options, Assistant Director Jackson Stewart said. "We thought today would be another great stage for Greg and we wanted Tejay to make some time on some GC guys like he did," he said. "But Frank was not a surprise because we were willing to let him go in a move, let him go with the right guys and let him try for the stage. Everything worked out in the end."

Listen to complete comments from Frank, Stewart and van Garderen on the BMC Racing Team Audio Line.