The pace was frenetic over the last few kilometers of the 2018 Colorado Classic on Sunday, but team UnitedHealthcare stayed on top of it as Gavin Mannion secured the biggest victory of his career.
The 26-year-old Fort Collins, Colo., resident held tight to the blue Gates General Classification leader’s jersey after winning the Stage 2 Vail Time Trial and surprising himself with a follow-up podium in Saturday’s 100-mile Queen’s Stage.
“This was the best week of my cycling career and today is probably the best day,” Mannion said. “Now I’ve been with UnitedHealthcare for two years and with the team coming to an end, giving them a big victory is huge. I never gave up on the cycling dream and am happy to finally win a big race.”
Adding to that was Serghei Tvetcov (UHC), who repeated his 2017 Colorado Classic result, finishing second overall, 15 seconds behind Mannion. Hugh Carthy (EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale) maintained his 22-second deficit coming into Stage 4, rounding out the overall podium and also securing the Colorado Tourism Office King of the Mountain jersey.
The icing on the cake for UHC was the thrilling Stage 4 victory of Travis McCabe.
“For us to come out and race and get the win – more importantly, get the win for Gavin – is what we wanted to do. I’d say it’s a pretty emotional time for us,” McCabe said. “We’ve always come out swinging and this year especially showed our capability as a team. It’s a special moment.”
The urban excitement was electric Sunday as the 2018 Colorado Classic wrapped up with Stage 4 presented by Gates Industrial Corporation, a circuit race around downtown Denver on a 9.1-mile course that started and finished at the Velorama Festival and sent racers around Coors Field, through North Capitol Hill and Uptown to City Park. There were 74 survivors in the Stage 4 race and they completed eight laps for 71.2 miles, all characterized by intense speed, focus and several breakaways.
After a few valiant but unsuccessful early surges by Colorado native Taylor Phinney (EF Education-Drapac p/b Cannondale), whose efforts earned him the FirstBank Most Aggressive Rider jersey, numerous racers took turns blasting ahead of the pack throughout the race, but none to much avail. The decisive moves came down to the homestretch, where the UHC riders cranked madly to the finish line and McCabe powered over it by a wheel as Ty Magner (Rally Cycling) and Joseph Lewis (Holowesko-Citadel p/b Arapahoe Resources), followed in second and third, respectively. Lewis once again earned the Frontier Airlines Sprint jersey as Colombian phenom Daniel Martinez Podeva (EFD), nabbed the IKON Pass Best Young Rider jersey for the third day straight.
The Colorado Classic men’s race is sanctioned by Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and is designated as a 2.HC race, which is the highest category outside of World Tour races. Both the men’s and women’s races are part of USA Cycling’s Pro Road Tour, which showcases the premier domestic road events in the United States.
For more information, visit coloradoclassic.com.