If you are interested in the USA Pro Cycling Challenge
, you probably know the most pertinent information: 128 of the world's best cyclists, including the top three Tour de France finishers, will race over 600 miles and reach elevations that few races, if any, have reached before. The competition, which started today in Colorado Springs, is billed as a showcase of Colorado as well as the largest spectator event in the state's history. Here are five things to know about the race that you might not have heard.
5. The prologue is huge:
Both in terms of length and importance, today's prologue in Colorado Springs
, is extremely important. Racers will start at the Garden of the Gods and pedal into Colorado Springs. The prologue is a time trial over five miles -- a normal prologue is about two or three -- and a rare descent in elevation during this race.
"It's an unusually long time trial and you will hear the riders say they think a lot of the race will actually be won in the prologue," says race spokeswoman Stacie Langue. "The reason being they get to try to capture as much time as they can in the prologue to bank for later in the race when they're doing the climbs."
The riders will actual lose 219 feet in elevation during the prologue. Tomorrow, cyclists will gain over 8,000 feet riding from Salida to Crested Butte.