USA Pro Cycling Challenge Route

Posted on 06. Jun, 2011 by in news, race

The route is now known for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, the UCI 2.1 stage race held in Colorado  on August 22-28, 2011. For its inaugural edition, the race starts off with a prologue, then adds a mountain-top finish, two 12,000-foot peaks – Independence Pass and Cottonwood Pass – in one stage, an uphill time trial before finishing downtown Denver.

Tough route and even tougher with the altitude; the press release states that “the USA Pro Cycling Challenge promises to be the most challenging race in America”, I guess we’ll know in August.

A total of 16 teams, or 128 riders, will be racing with 10 teams known so far: Team RadioShack (USA), HTC-Highroad (USA), Team Garmin-Cervélo (USA), BMC Racing Team (USA), Liquigas-Cannondale (Italy), Leopard Trek (Luxembourg), UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team (USA), Team Type 1-sanofi aventis (USA), Skil-Shimano (Netherlands) and Team Spidertech Powered By C10 (Canada).

NBC Sports will broadcast the final day on August 28, 2011. VERSUS, a member of the NBC Sports Group, will cover the event with 3.5 hour broadcasts, which include 30 minute of pre-race and one hour post-race coverage, each day from August 22-28.

The stages.

Prologue: Colorado Springs
USA Pro Cycling Challenge - Prologue
Monday, August 22
Distance: 5.8 miles (8.3 km)
Start time: 1:15 PM; ETA finish 3:45 PM MT
Download map, profile and turn-by-turn (pdf)

At one-minute start interval, the prologue takes the cyclists 5.2 miles out of Garden of the Gods, through Old Town Colorado Springs and into downtown for the finish at Cascade and Colorado. It’s going to be a fast one, with a downhill course including six turns.

Stage 1: Salida to Crested Butte/Mt. Crested Butte
USA Pro Cycling Challenge - Stage 1
Tuesday August 23
Distance: 101.8 miles (163.9 km)
Start time: 11:15 am; ETA finish: 3:15-4:15 PM MT
Download map, profile and turn-by-turn (pdf)

Starting in downtown Salida, racers will take a circuit through downtown before heading on their way on this 100 mile course to Mt. Crested Butte. The first climb up 11,315-foot Monarch Pass forces the riders to gain 3,250 feet in elevation over 13 miles, and will be their first taste of the oxygen-deprived Colorado high altitude as well as the first KOM line. Then, two sprint lines to compete for, one in Gunnison and one near the finish line in Crested Butte. The stage ends on an uphill climb, from the lower area of Crested Butte to the finish line on Mt. Crested Butte – the USA Pro Cycling Challenge’s only mountain top finish.

Stage 2: Gunnison to Aspen
Wednesday, August 24
Distance: 130.4 miles (209.8 km)
Start time: 9:45 AM; ETA finish: 3:00-4:15 PM MT
Download map, profile and turn-by-turn (pdf)

The Queen Stage.

USA Pro Cycling Challenge - Stage 2

The journey from Gunnison to Aspen will be the hardest, longest and highest of the race, summiting two 12,000-foot peaks in one day. The organizer call it ‘the toughest stage in America’, and the ‘toughest day of racing of the entire year’. Starting in the authentic Western town of Gunnison, the cyclists go through Gunnison National Forest and then ascend 2,740 feet over 13.7 miles to reach the first King of the Mountain line of the day on top of 12,126-foot-high Cottonwood Pass, the highest point during this seven-day race. In a unique twist, the ascent up Cottonwood Pass is on a dirt road, an extra challenge for thin road tires. After a tough climb and a fast descent comes another beautiful but grueling climb up Independence Pass. The road is narrow and steep with a 6.5% gradient and numerous switchbacks for the second KOM. At 12,095 feet, the oxygen level is only 60 percent that of what athletes inhale at sea level. After 130 miles, the stage ends in downtown Aspen, in the shadow of the Maroon Bells, Colorado’s most photographed mountain peaks.

Stage 3: Vail Time Trial
USA Pro Cycling Challenge - Stage 3
Thursday, August 25
Distance: 10.07 miles (16.2 km)
Start time: 1:00 PM ; ETA finish: 3:45 PM MT
Download map, profile and turn-by-turn (pdf)

Starting in the heart of Vail Village, this individual time trial offers a completely different challenge from the Prologue – this one goes uphill. The 10-mile finishes by going uphill toward Vail Pass, three miles from the summit.

Stage 4: Avon to Steamboat Springs
USA Pro Cycling Challenge - Stage 4
Friday, August 26
Distance: 82.82 miles (133.29 km)
Start time: 12:15 PM; ETA finish: 3:30-4:00 PM MT
Download map, profile and turn-by-turn (pdf)

This one could be one for the rouleurs, rolling terrain with a net elevation change of 5000 feet from start to finish. The day starts in Avon, travels along Colorado Route 131 through Wolcott and Oak Creek, following 83 miles of scenery to the finish line in downtown Steamboat Springs.

Stage 5: Steamboat Springs to Breckenridge
USA Pro Cycling Challenge - Stage 5
Saturday, August 27
Distance: 105.16 miles (169.24 km)
Start time: 11:15 AM; ETA finish: 3:30-4:00 PM MT
Download map, profile and turn-by-turn (pdf)

More rolling terrain but this time with a true mountain pass. Following US 40 south and east out Steamboat Springs, the double-summit Rabbit Ears Pass will host a King of the Mountain line. A sprint line in Kremmling will then lead to more breakways alongside the scenic Green Mountain Reservoir along Colorado Route 9 and fights for the finish line in Breckenridge, ending 106 miles of racing in what may prove to be the fastest road race finish during the seven day tour. After winding through Dillon, Keystone and the final KOM on Swan Mountain the cyclists will race to the finish in downtown Breckenridge.

Stage 6: Golden to Denver
USA Pro Cycling Challenge - Stage 6
Sunday, August 28
Distance: 73.79 miles (118.76 km)
Start time: 10:45 AM; ETA finish 1:15-1:45 PM MT
Download map, profile and turn-by-turn (pdf)

The final stage takes us along another highly anticipated route – the climb up and the descent down the treacherous Lookout Mountain, where the overall King of the Mountain winner will be decided. Racers will start under Golden’s famous “Howdy Folks” welcome arch, take a northern loop out of town, ride past the start line a second time, and then make the challenging ride up Lookout Mountain. At an average 6.1 percent grade and 1300 feet of elevation gain over 4.8 miles, this section provides an intense challenge on the tour’s final day. After a treacherous descent down the winding roads of Lookout Mountain, the cyclists are back again for a third time past the start line in Golden. The racers then speed toward Denver, where they take six laps of a five-mile circuit along Speer Boulevard before heading past the original Quiznos store at 13th and Grant to reach the finish line in Civic Center Park.

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One Response to “USA Pro Cycling Challenge Route”

  1. Name

    07. Jun, 2011

    this does indeed look pretty amazing!