Howson hangs it all out there with strong effort in the breakaway in Colorado

Sat 18 Aug 2018

An animated effort from Damien Howson on stage three of the Colorado Classic saw the Mitchelton-SCOTT rider attack the race from the breakaway in a valiant bid to move up the overall standings with one more day of racing to come.

In the end it wasn’t to be for Howson and a cruel, late catch by the reduced peloton resulted in a bunch sprint won by Pascal Eenkhoorn (Team-LottoNL-Jumbo) with Lucas Hamilton getting in the mix and finishing in sixth.

Howson was one of seven riders that attacked on the first climb of the day and one of three in the group that posed a threat to the general classification order. Subsequently the group never gained much more than a minute and despite their efforts Gavin Mannion (United-Health-Care) retains the leaders jersey with Howson still in fifth GC going into tomorrow’s final stage.

Decisive moments:

Today’s Queen Stage ran out of Denver and up towards the Denver hills for three significant climbs starting with Lookout Mountain where the first splits of the day occurred.

Howson was alive to the moves from the off and was part of the seven-rider group that led over the top of Lookout Mountain, down the other side and on to the second category Cragmont with a minute’s advantage over the peloton as the rain started to fall.

The seven riders maintained their lead over the Indian Hills into the closing 45kilometres which were mainly downhill back towards the finish in Denver.

Howson’s group split at the bonus sprint with 12kilometres to go with the Mitchelton-SCOTT rider one of four pushing off the front and the three chasers at ten seconds and the peloton getting closer every minute.

A dramatic unfolded with the late attacks out of the peloton signaling the end of the breakaway with only two kilometres to go before a very late catch by the speeding bunch resulted in a fractured sprint with Eenkhoorn taking the win and Hamilton up there in the top ten.

Damien Howson:

“I was quite attentive from the word go and we expected that EF-Education-First-Drapac would try to put race leaders UHC under as much pressure as possible and sure enough they set a high pace from the start and along with myself they had three riders in the move.”

“The break went on the first and probably hardest of the three climbs and with all of us having a lot to gain on the GC worked well together to try and gain as a big a gap as possible. It was a strong group and I was trying to move up overall and maybe even try and win the bike race, but we were caught over the last couple of kilometres and it’s a shame, but it’s also a part of racing.

“I am pretty fatigued after today’s effort and tomorrow’s final stage is repeated circuits around Denver so it will be difficult to try and do something, but we’ve been riding well over the last three days and will always try to gain some time wherever we can.”

Colorado Classic stage three results:

1. Pascal Eenkhoorn (Team-LottoNL-Jumbo) 03:42:54

2. Edwin Avila (Israel-Cycling-Academy) ST

3. Gavin Mannion (United-Health-Care) ST

6. Lucas Hamilton (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST

General classification after stage three:

1. Gavin Mannion (United-Health-Care) 06:41:33

2. Sergei Tvetcov (United-Health-Care) +0:15

3. Hugh Carthy (EF-Education-First-Drapac) +0:22

5. Damien Howson (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:30

Photos courtesy of Getty Images.