Aspen — Beaver Creek (97.2mi)
Thursday 23 August
Elevation is the main story for stage 4. Although the stage misses the highest point of the race by a few feet, much of the course sits above 9,000 feet; it will be anything but easy. A difficult climbing finish could result in the fourth leader change in as many days.
Those who conquered Independence Pass on stage 3 will see it again very early in stage 4; the climb starts almost immediately after several neutral laps through downtown Aspen. Unlike the previous day, the climb may not decide the winner, but will be an ideal launching pad for a breakaway.
Anyone who is brave enough to attack over Independence Pass will be faced with over 75 miles of racing at altitude. Along the way they will compete for a sprint in the town of Leadville — the highest incorporated city in the U.S. at 10,152 feet.
Next on the agenda will be the climb over the Continental Divide at Tennessee Pass (10,424 feet) before the descent into Minturn and the rolling run in towards the final climb to Beaver Creek.
Passing through the 2011 start city of Avon, the peloton will face a stiff 2.5-mile climb that rises almost 1,000 feet to the ski resort of Beaver Creek. Although not the fiercest climb on the route, the finale is sure to produce exciting racing, especially among those fighting for the overall lead.