KUSA – This year, 16 teams are competing in the USA Pro Challenge. Some teams, like Tejay van Garderen's BMC Racing, have a long history and deep pockets. Others are just starting out and sometimes, as exhibited in Crested Butte in Stage 2, the underdogs come out on top.
"Nobody really thinks about us when we go up the road, and they forget how strong we are," said Joey Rosskopf, who races for the Hincapie Sportswear Development Team. "It's great for the team to get stage wins like that."
Joey's teammate Robin Carpenter sits next to him on the team bus. Carpenter won the mountain top finish on Mount Crested Butte earlier in the week.
Development teams aren't supposed to get stage wins in big races like the Pro Challenge, but don't tell that to this group of youngsters.
"All these guys are national team rejects," said Team Director Thomas Craven. "So I saw the potential. They just need a little bit of fine tuning and that's what we've done with all these guys."
Craven remembers being a young and carefree pro racer himself which is why he jumped at the opportunity when brothers George and Rich Hincapie asked him to lead their development team three years ago.
"We have a blast and that's part of it," says Craven with a smile. "When I was racing it was the same sort of thing. I enjoyed bike racing, enjoyed being with the guys. I'm 50 now and feel like I'm 25, it's a blast."
The team is in a unique position being the up and comers on a large stage – they feel no pressure.
Inside the team bus prior to Stage 5 in Colorado Springs, Craven talks strategy in an easy going manner.
"We've had a good time out here so far," he tells his eight racers. "Let's keep it together and steal another from them again."
Often the meetings turn to laughter with this group. Like when the non-Americans on the team were trying to understand a reference Craven mad to the NFL.
"If we need to, we'll drop back and punt," joked Craven when talking about their plan for the day. "We'll get our special teams out there."
Across the RV, Australian Joe Lewis pipes up. "I have no idea what you're saying and Dion is in the same boat," as he gestures over to Dion Smith who hails from New Zealand.
The vehicle erupts in laughter.
Watch out for this team in 2015. The word "Development" will likely be dropped from their name because these young riders are becoming too good.
(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)