After a month of fan input and eager anticipation, the final stage of the 2014 USA Pro Challenge was announced on December 18. Starting in Boulder, Colorado, the route will take cyclists through Golden and over Lookout Mountain. It will end with a three-lap circuit around the state capitol in Denver.
The announcement of the seventh stage comes little more than a month after the first six were named in early November. Race organizers used fan feedback to devise four alternative routes for the seventh and final stage. Cycling enthusiasts then voted on their favorite of the four. According to USA Pro Challenge chief executive officer, Shawn Hunter, putting the final route up to a vote was a way to involve cycling’s most passionate fans in one of the sport’s most high profile competitions.
Now that the last stage has been finalized, the entire schedule of the USA Pro Challenge is now public. The race will launch Monday, August 18th, with the Aspen/Snowmass circuit. Cyclists will then go from Aspen to Mt. Crested Butte on the second day, and from Gunnison to the peak of Monarch Mountain on day three. Stage four will be the Colorado Springs circuit race, followed up by the stage five route from Woodland Park to Breckenridge. Individual timed trials in Vail will make up stage six.
The final day on Sunday, August 24th, promises to be an exciting one, leading cyclists from Boulder through Golden and on to Denver. While the seventh stage of the USA Pro Challenge has always ended in Denver, is significantly more difficult this time than in previous years. The inclusion of the steep climb at Lookout Mountain adds a clear element of suspense in the race’s final day, as it presents a clear opportunity for racers to challenge the overall leader just a few kilometers short of the finish line.
The USA Pro Challenge was founded in 2011 by Colorado entrepreneur Rick Schaden. Since its introduction, the Challenge race has quickly proved to be one of the cycling world’s most elite competitions. The 2013 race was won by Aspen resident Tejay van Garderen, who has competed in all USA Pro Challenges since the race began.