USA Pro Challenge routes unveiled, includes first mountaintop finish

DENVER — The final stage of this year’s USA Pro Challenge cycling race will start in Boulder and wind its way on Colorado 93 to downtown Denver as the route for the seven-stage race was announced Tuesday.

The host cities were previously announced, but the route announcement provided the specific way the cyclists will navigate the 550 miles in the fourth annual race, Aug. 18-24.

For the first time, there will be a mountaintop finish as racers will finish atop Monarch Mountain in Stage 3.

The event kicks off Aug. 18 with the Aspen/Snowmass Circuit, the same route used in Stage 1 in 2013. The nearly 22-mile loop, with 2,300 feet of climbing, will be raced three times.

On Aug. 19, the racers will start in Apsen and head through Basalt and Carbondale before climbing McClure Pass. After a short descent, the racers will go up Kebler Pass with a descent into Crested Butte before a climb to Mount Crested Butte.

The third stage will start in Gunnison and climb 11,300-foot Monarch Pass. But it won’t end there. The racers then will descent into Salida and do two nine-mile loops before climbing nearly 20 miles to finish at Monarch Mountain Ski Area.

Stage 4 will be in Colorado Springs, which is hosting for the third time. The race will start at the Broadmoor before going into downtown to race a 16-mile circuit four times. There will be climbs through Garden of the Gods, Mesa Road and Ridge Road.

The 80-mile Stage 5 will begin in Woodland Park and go west then north through Pike National Forest on Tarryall Road. The racers will then go through Fairplay and climb Hoosier Pass before descending into Breckenridge with a finish up Moonstone Road.

The time trial in Vail will be on Aug. 23, with a start in Vail and a climb most of the way up Vail Pass.

The race concludes with Stage 7 starting in downtown Boulder. The racers will navigate Colorado 93 into Golden, then head up Lookout Mountain. After going back into Golden, the racers will speed toward downtown Denver and do 3 1/2 laps through downtown, 17th Avenue and City Park with a finish in front of the State Capitol.