"It's unprecedented for an American race to get all three podium-finishers from the Tour de France in the same year," says USA Pro Cycling Challenge spokeswoman Stacie Lange. "I can't think of a more epic place to kick off the race and welcome them to Colorado than in front of the beautiful backdrop of the Garden of the Gods."
Fans can worship Cadel Evans, Andy Schleck, Frank Schleck and 125 other cycling gods at today's "prologue festival," which begins at 11 a.m. The starting stage of the seven-day race officially gets going at 1:15 p.m., with racers taking off in sixty-second intervals for time trials that end in downtown Colorado Springs.
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"The prologue festival is going to be a great opportunity to grab some autographs and watch the start of what is sure to be a historic event in the annals of cycling," Lange says. "It's really incredible to see all the enthusiasm for this race in our first year. The terrain, scenery and altitude helped bring this world-class race to Colorado, but the tremendous fan support is what's going to make it great."
Festivals all along the USA Pro Cycling Challenge route this week are free for spectators; today's party will move downtown at 2 p.m. for a finish-line celebration and the ceremonial podium presentation of the event's first yellow jersey. In the spirit of the race (and because traffic is going to be a bitch), get there early and bring your bike to get around. For spectators' guides, route maps and more information on the next six stages of the race, visit www.usaprocyclingchallenge.com.
Aug. 22-28, 2011