USA Pro Challenge route unveiled for 2015 race

The 605-mile race begins in Steamboat Springs and concludes with a ride from Golden to Denver with many difficult climbs along the way

DENVER — Organizers unveiled details of a mountaintop finish and a high-altitude time trial, plus the rest of the 2015 USA Pro Challenge route, on Tuesday, for the fifth edition of the race, August 17-23.

“Each of our 2015 host cities offers something unique and special to the fifth anniversary of the Pro Challenge,” said Shawn Hunter, CEO of the USA Pro Challenge. “We’re confident that this year’s route will provide the most exciting week of racing yet. We have added new cities and a dramatic mountaintop finish that will prove to be a fierce battleground for riders eager to show they have what it takes to compete on a new climb up Loveland Pass.”

The fan-friendly route, which stretches 605 miles over seven days of racing, will include at least one circuit in each start town — with the exception of the stage 5 time trial — to give the crowds a longer glimpse of some of the world’s top riders.

The event begins with the Steamboat Springs Circuit race before pointing toward the sky for the next few stages. More than half of stage 3 from Copper Mountain to Aspen, for example, takes place over 10,000 feet above sea level.

The stage 5 time trial in Breckenridge is new this year and offers a 8.5-mile test that goes from flat to steep in a hurry. The route climbs Moonstone Road before a quick descent down Boreas Pass toward the finish.

The race will conclude August 23 with a ride from Golden to Denver, the same route used for the 2011 race’s finale.

2015 USA Pro Challenge, August 17-23

Stage 1: Steamboat Springs circuit, 97 miles. This two-lap, 49-mile circuit will likely offer a sprint finish.
Stage 2: Steamboat Springs to Arapahoe Basin, 103 miles. Right away, the race heads to the climbs, offering a five-mile ascent up Loveland Pass to Arapahoe Basin for a mountaintop finish.
Stage 3: Copper Mountain to Aspen, 101 miles. Copper will host its first-ever Pro Challenge stage and send the peloton off to climb Freemont Pass then Independence Pass before reaching Aspen.
Stage 4: Aspen to Breckenridge, 126 miles. The race heads back up Independence Pass and then continues over Trout Creek Pass and Hoosier Pass before one final, steep hill over Moonstone road before finishing in Breckenridge.
Stage 5: Breckenridge time trial, 8.5 miles. The short TT will take riders back up Moonstone then down Boreas Pass.
Stage 6: Loveland to Ft. Collins, 102 miles. The penultimate stage starts in the plains but soon heads up the north side of Carter Lake, then Rist Canyon before riding a lumpy route around Horsetooth Reservoir to the finish in Fort Collins.
Stage 7: Golden to Denver, 68 miles. The same route as the final stage of the 2011 race, this day will offer a climb up Lookout Mountain then four laps around the well-known Denver circuit.

Looking to travel to Colorado for the USA Pro Challenge? Come ride with VeloNews and Cognoscenti on a special, six-day trip that includes two days of spectating at the race, August 21-26.