DENVER — USA Pro Challenge race officials unveiled seven of the host cities for the 2015 race on Thursday. Running from August 17-23, the race will feature several notable changes for its fifth edition, including a new start location: Steamboat Springs. New host communities Arapahoe Basin and Copper Mountain will also be part of the route, and stage 5 will be a challenging individual time trial in Breckenridge. With six of the seven stages set, organizers are looking to fans to weigh in on Stage 6’s start and finish towns.
“The start and finish cities for the 2015 USA Pro Challenge are going to create some unique challenges for the riders while also showcasing some of Colorado’s most beautiful regions to our worldwide audience,” said Rick Schaden, owner of the USA Pro Challenge. “We are always humbled by the amount of interest we receive from cities across the state that want to host the race and we feel confident that the partners we’ve selected this year will help us continue to raise the bar for professional cycling in America.”
Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing), a Colorado resident, won the 2014 edition of the race, his second consecutive title at the USA Pro Challenge.
“I am so happy to hear the USA Pro Challenge is going through Aspen again,” said van Garderen. “It is always great to be able to race in front of my family and close friends. Of course, I am curious to see the route they will pick and I am expecting it to be the most challenging route yet.”
2015 USA Pro Challenge route
Stage 1: Monday, August 17 – Steamboat Springs circuit race
Stage 2: Tuesday, August 18 – Steamboat Springs to Arapahoe Basin
Stage 3: Wednesday, August 19 – Copper Mountain Resort to Aspen
Stage 4: Thursday, August 20 – Aspen to Breckenridge
Stage 5: Friday, August 21 – Breckenridge individual time trial
Stage 6: Saturday, August 22 – To be determined by fan vote
Stage 7: Sunday, August 23 – Golden to Denver
Last year, the USA Pro Challenge asked fans to pick the final stage route, which ultimately took the riders from Boulder to Golden and finished in downtown Denver. Organizers are again letting people have a say in the course. Fans will be able to help shape the race by voting on the stage 6 route (Deadline to vote: 11:59 p.m. MST, December 12).
“Last year we turned to our dedicated fans to help determine the route for the final stage of the Pro Challenge,” said Shawn Hunter, CEO of the USA Pro Challenge. “The enthusiasm and valuable opinions that we received convinced us that we should look to our supporters again for their input on the 2015 race. We know our fans are passionate about the sport and we’re looking forward to hearing where they want Stage 6 to go.”
Steamboat Springs will be a new overall start for the Pro Challenge. Located just west of the Continental Divide and Rabbit Ears Pass, riders should feel right at home in Steamboat — it has produced more Olympians than any other Colorado city.
One of the 2015 route’s most significant changes from years prior is the addition of the Breckenridge individual time trial. Located 9,600 feet above sea level, this course will test riders with challenging, hilly terrain.
Known for lung-searing altitudes and intense climbs through the Colorado Rockies, the race claims to be the largest spectator event in the history of the state.
Additional details regarding the exact start and finish locations of the 2015 race, as well as the specific, detailed route will be announced in the spring.