This is the 3rd year of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado. Crested Butte / Mt. Crested Butte hosted a mountain climb finish the past two years but with so many destinations in Colorado will not see the cyclists arrive during the 2013 tour. The most difficult cycling race in America returns to Colorado from August 19-25. This heart-pounding race will test riders with some of the highest altitudes and most challenging terrains to date. The seven day race winds through the Colorado Rockies and will take riders through Crested Butte as they race to the finish line in Denver.
The 2012 race attracted more than 1 million spectators along the route, making it one of the largest cycling events in the nation’s history and the largest spectator event in the history of Colorado. The course is a grueling 599 miles of altitude changes and rough terrain and will spotlight some of the best athletes in the sport as well as some of the most beautiful scenery in the state. Highlights of the 2013 route include:
Stage 1 – Aspen Circuit Race – Monday, August 19
With three, 22-mile laps, the first leg of the race features 3,800 feet of climbing per lap. Riders will pass over the narrow Maroon Creek Bridge then head up to Snowmass Village. A quick descent leads to a loop through downtown where riders will begin again. Starting elevation is 7,900 feet.
Stage 2 – Aspen to Breckenridge – Tuesday, August 20
Riders will ascend the 12,000 foot Independence Pass, the highest point reached in any professional cycling race. The race then flies through Buena Vista, Fairplay and Alma before reaching Hoosier Pass. The course then travels up the 15 percent grade of Moonstone Road and heads down Boreas Pass.
Stage 3 – Breckenridge to Steamboat Springs – Wednesday, August 21
After departing Breckenridge, riders will travel Swan Mountain Road to Kermmling. The big showdown will take place on Rabbit Ears Pass which ends with 20 miles down to Steamboat Springs.
Stage 4 – Steamboat Springs to Beaver Creek – Thursday, August 22
This is the Queen Stage of the 2013 USA Pro Challenge. A new start in Steamboat this year will take riders on new country roads in Routt County. The racers will then climb up State Bridge as they approach Beaver Creek. They’ll then head up the new climb of Bachelors Gulch, which features pitches up to 18 percent. They will then race down a technical descent and power up to Beaver Creek Village.
Stage 5 – Vail Individual Time Trial – Friday, August 23
The day starts in Vail and climbs up Vail Pass. While the first half features gentle grades, the last three miles is a steady climb and is challenging for even the most skilled riders.
Stage 6 – Loveland to Ft. Collins – Saturday, August 24
Riders will spend the early part of the day on the flat plains through Windsor and back to Loveland. Then it’s up Big Thompson Canyon onto Devil’s Gultch before hitting Estes Park and back down Big Thompson. Horsetooth Reservoir finishes off this challenging day.
Stage 7 – Denver Circuit Race – Sunday, August 25
The last day is the showcase for the sprinters. The course spotlights all of Denver’s best locations including LoDo, City Park, and Civic Center Park. All viewing spots give great views for spectators today.
For more information about the 2013 USA Pro Challenge, please visit http://www.usaprocyclingchallenge.com/.
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