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Didier wins US stage, Van Garderen keeps lead

Laurent Didier of Luxembourg celebrates after winning the fifth stage of the USA Pro Challenge cycling race, in Breckenridge, Colorado, on August 22, 2014

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Washington (AFP) - Luxembourg's Laurent Didier won the fifth stage of the USA Pro Challenge cycling race, while American Tejay Van Garderen finished ninth to maintain his 20-second overall lead.

Trek racer Didier on Friday captured the 167.6-kilometer (104.14-mile) stage from Woodland Park to Breckenridge in three hours, 50 minutes and 38 seconds with Colombian Janier Alexis Acevedo Colle second and Canada's Rob Britton third, both in the same time.

"I didn't feel that good in the beginning. The first 40k was quite hard," Didier said. "The really big thing here is the altitude."

Van Garderen was 1:33 off the pace in ninth but that was enough to keep the BMC Racing rider's margin over second-place overall rider Rafael Majka of Poland, who placed 10th in the stage just behind the American.

"It was definitely a tough day," Van Garderen said.

"The breakaway took a really long time to get along and my team had to control it the whole time. That, coupled with the cold and the rain, made it pretty hard, especially on my team because they had to pull all day."

Romanian Serghei Tvetcov jumped from fifth to third in the overall competition but remained 37 seconds adrift of Van Garderen.

American Tom Danielson was fourth, 39 seconds off the pace, with countryman Matthew Busche another 12 seconds back.

Saturday's penultimate stage is a 10-mile (16.1-kilometer) individual time trial in Vail that follows along the Vail Pass and features a steep climb up the final three miles.

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