The 2013 USA Pro Challenge will take pro riders through the Colorado Rockies, August 19-25. This year, the event begins with a circuit race in Aspen, then moves through Breckenridge, Steamboat Springs, Beaver Creek and Vail, before heading over to Loveland and Fort Collins with the final day as a circuit race in Denver.
“The most important thing to us in creating the route for the 2013 USA Pro Challenge was to find a course that would be safe and challenging for the riders, while providing ideal viewing locations for the crowds of spectators,” said Shawn Hunter, CEO of the USA Pro Challenge. “This year we are, once again, taking them to the highest point of any professional cycling race with Independence Pass. We’re also returning to the iconic Time Trial route in Vail. The best in the sport will be racing through Colorado communities for what will be an epic week in professional cycling.”
While Loveland and Fort Collins are new this year, Boulder was dropped from the route.
Stage 1: Aspen Circuit Race – Monday, Aug. 19
Consisting of three 22-mile laps, Stage 1 has 3,080ft of climbing — and starts at an elevation of 7,900ft.
Stage 2: Aspen to Breckenridge – Tuesday, Aug. 20
Stage 2 takes riders over Independence Pass — a climb that tops out at 12,000ft, the highest point of this race and, USA Pro claims, the highest point reached in any professional cycling race. Then the race heads through Buena Vista, Fairplay and Alma, before climbing Hoosier Pass from the south. Finally, the 15 percent grade of Moonstone Road takes riders into Breckenridge.
Stage 3: Breckenridge to Steamboat Springs – Wednesday, Aug. 21
Riders head out of Breckenridge north to Kremmling en route to the eastern slope of Rabbit Ears Pass. Then it’s 20 mostly downhill miles to downtown Steamboat Springs.
Stage 4: Steamboat Springs to Beaver Creek – Thursday, Aug. 22
Riders leave Steamboat headed south over some rollers before beginning to climb up from the river bottom at State Bridge. Then a new climb up Bachelors Gulch might shake things up, with pitches as steep as 18 percent.
Stage 5: Vail Individual Time Trial – Friday, Aug. 23
This individual race against the clock climbs most of the way up Vail Pass, getting progressively steeper.
Stage 6: Loveland to Ft. Collins – Saturday, Aug. 24
Riders leave Loveland for some flat miles on the plains through Windsor and back to Loveland. Then, they climb Big Thompson Canyon, turn onto Devils Gultch, the race’s last King of the Mountains competition, before rolling through Estes Park and back down Big Thompson.
Stage 7: Denver Circuit Race – Sunday, Aug. 25
The circuit race in downtown Denver will provide ample viewing spots as it hits LoDo, City Park Civic Center Park and more.
For more information check out usaprocyclingchallenge.com/2013-route.