Colorado Springs, CO — Axeon Hagens Berman Cycling Team’s Logan Owen battled through violent storms complete with winds, hail, and rain to sprint to a third place finish on Stage 1 of the inaugural Colorado Classic. The stellar finish earned Owen the HELIX Best Young Rider jersey.
“I felt pretty set up coming into that final turn,” recalls Owen. “I just had to sit there and wait and wait. I shot through a couple of gaps coming into the finish, but definitely wasn’t fast enough to beat [John] Murphy today.”
Throughout the 150.4-kilometer stage, riders battled multiple rounds of fierce weather on the six-lap course that started and finished in downtown Colorado Springs and ran through the city’s iconic Garden of the Gods. With a five-man break escaping on the initial lap, the peloton kept a fast but controlled pace throughout the dynamic stage.
“I thought it was going to be full gas for the first two laps with teams trying to get into the break, but the group let the break go early.”
Heading into the finish, Owen actually felt the flooded downtown streets played to his advantage in a finish that saw John Murphy (Holowesko-Citadel p/b Hincapie Sportswear) take the win ahead of Travis McCabe (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling).
“Everybody seemed scared to fight to be up there; there wasn’t the typical huge swarm coming into the final five kilometers.”
Owen’s third place finish was his second near win in less than a week after placing third on Stage 4 of the Tour of Utah. Owen said he’s pleased with his form after an early season plagued with injuries.
“I’ve had a rough season this year; I’ve had a lot of injuries,” said Owen. “It’s nice to ride well at Utah and now here, I feel like I’m coming into even better form. It’s good to get some results.”
Axeon had another strong performance from USA U23 cross-country Mountain Bike Champion Chris Blevins who finished 10th overall on the stage.
Friday’s Stage 2 of the Colorado Classic is a grueling 10-lap circuit that forces riders to surmount the infamous Moonstone climb and subsequent hair-raising descent down Illinois Gulch.