Colorado’s Hecht takes early lead and scores astonishing first major win

Colorado kid breaks away and never looks back in Colorado Classic Stage 1

Vail – Riding in only his second 2.HC-rated cycling race, 20-year-old Gage Hecht (Aevolo) landed a huge victory in Stage 1 of the 2018 Colorado Classic here Thursday.

The Parker, Colo., native and Junior National Time Trial/Criterium champion set the pace early, attacking on the first climb, moving out in front and charging through the entire 64.1-mile circuit course ahead of the pack. Hecht’s inspired performance earned him the blue Gates General Classification leader’s jersey, the Frontier Airlines Sprint jersey, the Colorado Tourism King of the Mountain jersey and the Ikon Pass Best Young Rider jersey.

“I didn’t really expect at all to be able to make that move,” Hecht said of the final push to the finish, when he entered the homestretch barriers, cast a final glance over his shoulder and found he was alone. “I thought I’d give it one final attack, get some last TV coverage, get my name out there, hang on as best I could. It’s really big to win a race this big in my home state. I don’t think it’s really hit me yet.”

The first stage was comprised of a circuit race that took riders on an 8.8-mile loop beginning and finishing in Vail Village. In total, the men rode 64.1 miles, including 4,390 feet of climbing.

From the start line, racers launched immediately up Mill Creek Rd. – a dirt road taking them up Vail Mountain on a grueling climb that determined the Colorado Tourism Office King of the Mountain classification, an effort Hecht commanded from the first lap of the race.

The peloton then zipped down residential streets in Vail Village and along the Frontage Road toward West Vail before looping back to Vail Village, toward East Vail and around the Vail Golf Course. Here, the field picked up to a sprint on Vail Valley Drive. Hecht dominated from the start, winning the race in a total time of 2 hours, 32 minutes, 56 seconds.

Complete article

All the news from Day 1 of the Colorado Classic here

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