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USA Pro Cycling Challenge: German Patrick Gretsch wins the prologue (VIDEO)

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For all the talk about the elevation and hill climbs that litter the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, the race began with cyclists shooting out of the start like a gun and downhill from the Garden of the Gods into downtown Colorado Springs.

When the speedy time trial was done, German Patrick Gretsch of team HTC-Highroad captured the top spot. Click through to watch highlights.

With a time of eight minutes and 27 seconds, Gretsch was the fastest racer by two seconds over the 5.2 mile course. The average speed for the racers was over 36 miles per hour.

"It is a really nice feeling," Gretsch said in a statement. "I put a lot of my focus on the prologue, because the next few days are not really built for me. I had really good preparation and I felt really good in training this morning. It felt great out there and I'm super-happy to get the win."

Gretsch was followed by Americans Christian Vande Velde of team Garmin-Cervelo and Brent Bookwalter of BMC Racing. Gretsch will wear the Quiznos Leader Jersey into the first road race stage, which begins today in Salida and will take racers all the way to the top of Mt. Crested Butte.

On the feel-good, local front, Colorado Springs native Danny Pate of HTC-Highroad won the Most Aggressive Rider Jersey for, uh, being aggressive. He finished eleventh, eleven seconds off Gretsch's pace. Boulder resident and race favorite Tom Danielson sits in twentieth place, seventeen seconds off the lead.

Today's stage is almost 100 miles and forces riders to climb 8,000 feet in elevation gain. And it's not just a simple road race. The stage includes a King of the Mountain challenge and two sprint lines. The King of the Mountain section takes riders up 11,315 foot Monarch Pass and the first three to finish will earn extra points towards the king of the mountain jersey. The sprint lines work the same way without the grueling ascent.

View highlights of the prologue below, courtesy of USA Pro Cycling Challenge.

More from our Kenny Be/Comics archive: "USA Pro Cycling challenges the entire state of Colorado: Kenny Be's Worst-Case Scenario."

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