The USA Pro Challenge makes its way to Colorado Springs today and will be close to home for the rest of the weekend: Stage 6 is tomorrow with a route from Golden to Boulder (current overall tour leader Tejay van Garderen is a Boulder transplant) and the race concludes, spectacularly, on Sunday with a time trials finish right here in Denver. "It's a huge honor for me to be in the Exergy Leader Jersey in my home state," van Garderen said yesterday in Beaver Creek. "I've lived here a long time now, and this is definitely home for me. I love being here, racing here and seeing the crowd."
Last week, we broke down some of the best places to watch each stage of the race; now that it's coming into the home stretch, here are some more specifics for making the most of this weekend's local stages:
See Also: -Best places to watch each stage of the USA Pro Challenge cycling action -Lance Armstrong doping-fight dropout and disappearance from USA Pro Challenge -Boulder cyclist Tejay van Garderen wins Stage 2 of USA Pro Challenge
Stage 6, Golden to Boulder
The Pro Cycling "Village" in Golden will be open on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. near the start line at Washington and 11th Streets. The stage starts at 11:10 a.m. To get from there to Boulder for the finish, take Highway 93 north by car or bike.
Hoping to see the finish on Flagstaff Road? Visit www.USAProBoulder.com for details on Code of Conduct agreements and a couple of small hoops you'll have to jump through since Flagstaff Road "traverses very important and ecologically sensitive lands, including Chautauqua Park and the City of Boulder's Open Space and Mountain Parks." Otherwise, set up near 17th and Pearl, where the race will come through around noon for a sprint line and again around 3 p.m.
Stage 7, Denver
Sunday will be a good day to show your love for cycling by leaving the car at home: between road closures and the mess of people in town for the conclusion of the USA Pro Challenge, parking anywhere near the race route will be a bit of a bugger.
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The first rider will leave Civic Center Park at 1 p.m. for the time trials finish, with subsequent riders departing in one-minute intervals. Civic Center Park and City Park are probably the best bets, and the Finish Festival at Civic Center Park will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Stretches of Colfax, Speer Boulevard, and 17th Avenue also ought to make for good spectating. The race won't end until some time after 3 p.m., and by then the suspense will be palpable: fans may not know for sure who's won the overall race until all the riders have completed their time trials.