Pull out the lycra and spandex! The USA Pro Challenge has returned to Colorado for its second year. “Last year, we estimated over a million spectators,” reveals Shawn Hunter, CEO of the Pro Challenge, “and I’d like to think that number will grow.” Through seven stages of racing, with elevations reaching over 9,600 feet, more than 130 cyclists will have ridden from Durango to Telluride (August 20), Montrose to Crested Butte (August 21), Gunnison to Aspen (August 22), Aspen to Beaver Creek (August 23), Breckenridge to Colorado Springs (August 24) and Golden to Boulder (August 25) before finally arriving in Denver on August 26.
“People always ask us, ‘What makes your race different?,” Hunter says, “and I tell them the three things: [the fact that] stage racing in America was basically born in Colorado; the sheer beauty of our state; and the punishing elevations that these riders compete on.” Last year, former Colorado Cyclist team member Levi Leipheimer won the overall jersey, after taking first in stages one and three. In this year’s Pro Challenge, which comes on the heels of the Tour de France and the Olympic Games in London, riders from sixteen teams will compete in the grueling 520-mile week-long race. The last stage in Denver will wind up and down Speer Boulevard, weaving through tight corners at Broadway and Colfax, and finish directly in front of the Capitol. For more information, go to www.usaprocyclingchallenge.com or call 1-888-223-3351.
Aug. 20-26, 2012