The USA Pro Cycling Challenge
● By Grant Johnson
Steamboat Springs, CO - High speeds, demanding uphill climbs,
breathtaking downhills, sprints to the finish and strategic teamwork: the USA
Pro Challenge returns to Steamboat Springs Wednesday-Thursday,
Often compared to the Tour de France, the USA Pro Challenge attracts the world’s elite pro cyclists — and offers a scenic setting for spectators. The 2013 tour takes riders from Aspen/ Snowmass to Breckenridge, Steamboat Springs, Beaver Creek, Vail, Loveland, Fort Collins and Denver.
On Wednesday, Aug. 21, Stage 3 begins in Breckenridge and ends in downtown Steamboat. The road to Kremmling provides a great launch pad for breakaways, but it’s just a prelude to the day’s main showdown on Rabbit Ears Pass. The challenging east side will give climbers a chance, but they will have to hold off the sprinters for 20 miles from the summit to downtown Steamboat. Can they do it? Or will there be a repeat of 2011’s thrilling and monstrous field sprint? Expect an exciting finish, with loud crowds lining Lincoln Avenue.
Stage 4, the “Queen Stage,” begins at the Promenade at the ski area base. Racers depart in parade formation as they await the signal to resume racing. Cyclists head through town and out Twentymile Road, one of locals’ favorite routes. This roller coaster of small hills gives way to a gentle route south until the racers have to climb up from the river bottom at State Bridge. From there, the route to Beaver Creek takes racers on a brutal uphill climb, with pitches up to 18%, followed by a technical descent and one last 2K climb to the village.
“With both a finish and start during the 2013 USA Pro Cycling Challenge, Steamboat’s course will provide spectators with plenty of chances to be up close and personal as the best cyclists in the world battle it out,” says Jim Schneider, local organizing committee chairman.
Described as the “most demanding road race ever held on American soil,” the USA Pro Challenge will be broadcast internationally on an estimated 150 television channels. Its Colorado partner is Denver’s NBC affiliate, 9News.
up-to-date on all the action at www.steamboatprocycling.com