Carpenter wins rainy 2nd stage of USA Pro Challenge

AFP
Robin Carpenter of the US, riding for the Hincapie Sportswear Development Team, crosses the finish line to win stage two of the 2014 USA Pro Challenge, from Aspen to Crested Butte, Colorado, on August 19, 2014
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Robin Carpenter of the US, riding for the Hincapie Sportswear Development Team, crosses the finish line to win stage two of the 2014 USA Pro Challenge, from Aspen to Crested Butte, Colorado, on August 19, 2014 (AFP Photo/Chris Graythen)

Crested Butte (United States) (AFP) - Robin Carpenter won a mud marred stage two of the USA Pro Challenge, surviving several mountain challenges en route to the biggest victory of his young career.

The 22-year-old American on Tuesday used a bold breakaway in the rain over the Kebler Pass to distance himself from the pack and then held on for a seven second solo victory in the 168-kilometre (104-mile) stage.

American Alex Howes (Garmin Sharp) posted his second consecutive runner-up finish which propelled him into the overall lead. Defending champ Tejay Van Garderen (BMC) placed third, while Belgium's Ben Hermans finished fourth.

Howes will wear the yellow jersey in Wednesday's 154-km third stage from Gunnison to Monarch Mountain. Hermans is 11 seconds back of Howes in the overall standings while Van Garderen, who finished fifth overall at last month's Tour de France, is in third.

Carpenter was solo out in front with 23 km to go. Then Tuesday's rain -- that had been threatening all day long -- arrived, making the top of the Kebler Pass climb a rainy trek and the gravel descent dangerously slippery.

So race officials neutralized the descent and then stopped Carpenter (Hincapie Sportswear) and the remainder of the field. After a five minute break they restarted them on the paved part of the descent with about 12 km remaining.

The race was restarted based on time gaps at the top of the penultimate climb.

Carpenter was given a lead of 45 seconds at the restart and he stretched that to more than a minute at one point. The field closed in but the young American was able to hold on for a nail-biting victory.