Carter Jones finished fourth in the splintered finale of stage one of the USA Pro Challenge won by Kiel Reijnen of UnitedHealthCare Pro Cycling after four hard circuits at 8,000 feet of elevation through the Aspen mountains. Jones’ efforts on the day also garnered him the Best Colorado Rider Jersey.
“We were really hoping today would be a select sprint from a group of 40-50 guys and Ryan Anderson would have a shot at the sprint. Unfortunately, the guys fighting for the overall drove it hard up the last climb and whittled it down to about 25 riders. Carter did a great job fending for himself and reading the race, and it was great to see him attack in the last few miles and go for a result. 4th place is a great result, and taking a bit of time from the other climbers is an added bonus” said Performance Director Jonas Carney.
Over the closing miles, the pace ratcheted up and things fell apart quickly. Jones followed four WorldTour riders as they attacked and counter-attacked each other on the final slope before the flat finishing straight. The fourth place finish from a splintered field gives Jones some precious seconds on the overall as the race rolls into stages with the harder, steeper climbs where the yellow jersey will be won.
“I thought it could be a good course for me, depending on how hard we raced at the end. Ideally Ryan (Anderson) and I would have been in a small group sprint at the finish, but things were really falling apart over the final miles. I was able to follow a key split and try to capitalize on the opportunity. Positioning is always a battle fighting against World Tour teams, but the guys sat out in the wind made sure I was safe today which helped a lot.”