7 days, 683 miles, 12 host cities, 9 mountain passes, and picturesque terrain by the eyeful with more than 100 of the world’s best professional cyclists. The USA Pro Cycling Challenge returns to Colorado on August 20-26, 2012.The USA Pro Challenge, America's own Tour de France-style bike race, will have its thrilling conclusion in Denver on Aug. 26. — Photo courtesy of USA Pro Cycling Challenge & VISIT DENVER
Last year’s inaugural race surprised many as one of the most demanding bike races held in America and one of the largest cycling events in U.S. history. High speeds, altitude and danger elevated the adrenaline of 16 teams, consisting of 135 of the world’s best cyclists.
Nearly 1 million spectators packed the roadsides of the 518-mile majestic Rockies route, while 161 countries and territories broadcasted the race on television. Fans witnessed Olympians, World Champions and the Tour de France podium winners Cadel Evans, Andy Schleck and Frank Schleck experience the challenges of cycling in Colorado. The first-ever champion American Levi Leipheimer of Team Radio Shack was presented with the Quiznos Leader Jersey in downtown Denver.
This year, the 7-day 683-mile race promises equal excitement and adrenaline rushes for the participants featuring 42,000 feet of climbing, nine mountain passes (three over 12,000 feet) and cycling through 12 of Colorado’s most picturesque towns. Three mountaintop finishes promise spectacular scenery.
The 2012 version kicks off on August 20 in the authentic southwest Colorado town of Durango, one of four new cities added to the race. Durango’s “Grand Depart” includes a 6.5-mile racing loop around town. The race continues to another two new cities: the box canyon mountain town of Telluride and Montrose, with the amazing backdrop of the San Juan Mountains. The race also winds through Crested Butte, a historic 1880s mining town. The toughest and longest day of racing returns with the 131-mile Gunnison to Aspen stage which includes two of the highest climbs in professional racing.
Next up is the intimate mountain village of Beaver Creek and the charming Victorian town of Breckenridge, followed by the amateur sports capital of the world, Colorado Springs, also home to the U.S. Olympic Committee and Olympic Training Center.
683 miles, 7 days and the world's best riders compete in the USA Pro Cycling Challenge — Photo courtesy of USA Pro Cycling Challenge & VISIT DENVERThe final three stages of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge are hosted in metro Denver: Golden, the first capital of Colorado; Boulder, the birthplace of America’s professional cycling; and the last leg of the race is the Individual Time Trial through the streets of Denver on August 26.
From Denver to Durango, the 2nd annual Pro Cycling Challenge is now known as "America’s Race," and Governor John Hickenlooper has proclaimed the week of August 20-26, 2012 as "Colorado Cycling Holiday." The highest-altitude cycling competition promises to be as thrilling for the spectators as the riders.