The Tour de France has the Col du Galibier, which crests at 8,600 feet. The Giro d’Italia has the Passo Giau, which crests at 7,300 feet. The USA Pro Cycling Challenge, touring Colorado August 22-28, has Cottonwood Pass and Independence Pass, both cresting at 12,000 feet. In true Colorado spirit, these two passes will be climbed by racers in one trying day of cycling.
Billed as the most challenging bicycle race in America, the USA Pro Cycling Challenge begins with a prologue in Colorado Springs, crisscrosses the Rocky Mountains, and finishes in downtown Denver. For seven consecutive days, 128 of the world’s top athletes will race more than 500 miles in front of an expected one million spectators.
All three Tour de France podium placers (Cadel Evans, Andy Schleck, Frank Schleck) are set to be at the starting line for the inaugural race. In a move that is unprecedented in US cycling history, this stellar line-up, fresh off the Tour de France, will compete against each other next here on American soil. The top American finisher and Boulder, Colorado native Tom Danielson is confirmed to compete along with two-time Giro d'Italia winner Ivan Basso of Italy.
Created to reinvigorate the legacy of the Colorado-based Coors International Bicycle Classic, which took place from 1979 until 1988, the initial idea to bring a major stage race back to Colorado is credited to part-time Aspen resident Lance Armstrong who expressed interest to Governor Ritter last year.
Pro Challenge Stages
Monday, August 22nd: Prologue – Colorado Springs
Tuesday, August 23rd: Stage 1 – Salida to Crested Butte
Wednesday, August 24th: Stage 2 – Gunnison to Aspen
Thursday, August 25th: Stage 3 (Individual Time Trial)
Friday, August 26th: Stage 4 – Avon to Steamboat Springs
Saturday, August 27th: Stage 5 – Steamboat Springs to Breckenridge
Sunday, August 28th: Stage 6 – Golden to Denver