The final stage of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge was run in the (comparatively) level streets of Denver Sunday afternoon. Taylor Phinney (BMC) ran the 9.5 mile course in 17:25:50 to win the stage. Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda) and Tejay van Garderen (BMC), who spent most of the week trading the Yellow Jersey, were 2d and 3d respectively in the time trials. Levi Leipheimer (Pharma Omega-Quickstep) ran late in the order, and thus was the possible spoiler, as he had been the overall time leader after his Stage 6 win in Boulder on Saturday.

In the end, Leipheimer finished 43 seconds off Phinney’s pace, so after seven days of exciting racing the overall winner was Vande Velde, with van Garderen 21 seconds back and Levi Leipheimer only 3 seconds behind that. As predicted, it all came down to Denver.

In the King of the Mountain classification Jens Voigt (RadioShack-Nissan-Trek) came out on top with 55 points, due in no small measure to his spectacular solo effort on the Aspen to Beaver Creek stage. In second place was Colombia’s Francisco Colorado (EPM-UNE), 52 points, followed by Tom Danielson (Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda) who had worn the KOM jersey for most of the week, was third in the classification, but was awarded the “Most Aggressive Rider” jersey.

Tyler Farrar, (Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda) won the Sprint jersey, having worn it most of the week, in addition to winning the Durango-Telluride stage and the Breckenridge-Colorado Springs stage.

Best Young Rider was Joe Dombrowski (Bontrager-Livestrong), and in the General Team Classification it was RadioShack-Nissan-Trek followed by Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda and Liquigas-Cannondale.

It was a great week of racing, with some wonderful individual and team efforts. We’re looking forward to 2013. Congraulations to the riders, the teams, the USA Pro Cycling organization and all the people of the towns and the state of Colorado for a great spectacle.

Watch Telluride Inside… and Out for a wrap-up by author/contributor Mark Stevens.

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