August 19, 2015

ASPEN, Colo. (AP) Kiel Reijnen survived the tough climb up Independence Pass, then a harrowing descent into Aspen to win the third stage of the USA Pro Challenge on Wednesday.

Reijnen, riding for UnitedHealthcare, beat Rohan Dennis and Ruben Zepuntke to the line, while Brent Bookwalter of BMC Racing finished in the leading group to retain his overall lead.

The stage began at Copper Mountain before ultimately climbing Independence Pass, where Reijnen was briefly dropped. But the sprint specialist managed to close the gap to the leaders on the long downhill into Aspen, then had enough left for the final kick to the finish.

Riders will have to navigate the 12,000-foot summit again early in Stage 4 on Thursday, then head up Hoosier Pass, before finishing 126 miles later in Breckenridge.

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