Breaking Away

The USA Pro Challenge is billed as “America’s Race,” and Pat McQuaid, former president of competitive cycling’s global governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale, has called it the “best race in American history” — but, really, it might just as well be called the Tour de Colorado.

The fourth installment of the seven-stage race began on Monday in Aspen before making its way over several passes and through numerous mountain towns. The final stage takes place today, with a 12:30 p.m. start in Boulder followed by a sprint through Golden and a climb up Lookout Mountain before concluding, once again, right here in Denver. There are prime viewing spots all along the route, listed at usaprocyclingchallenge.com; the grand finish at Civic Center Park, where a festival with food trucks follows the race, is a popular favorite.

For the true local's experience, however, you can’t beat the bleachers by the Denver Bicycle Cafe, at 1308 East 17th Avenue, where the drinks will be flowing and you’ll get to see the racers twice, on their way to and from a loop through City Park before racing to the finish line. Oh, and try to stick to the sidewalks, if not the bleachers.

“‘Stand and cheer, but please stay clear’ sounds a little cheesy, but it’s actually how things should be,” says defending champion Tejay van Garderen. “When people try to run with us, they turn their backs, and then they don’t know where we are. So come out and cheer your butts off, but help us stay safe by keeping your distance.”

For more information about the USA Pro Challenge and today’s route through Denver, go to usaprocyclingchallenge.com.
Sun., Aug. 24, 2014