2013 USA Pro Challenge route: Aspen to Denver including Beaver Creek, Vail, Steamboat Springs

New host cities: Loveland and Fort Collins

DENVER - The 2013 USA Pro Challenge professional cycling race will start in Aspen and finish in Denver.

The third year of the race will feature two new host cities -- Loveland and Fort Collins, officials said.

“The most important thing to us in creating the route for the 2013 USA Pro Challenge was to find a course that would be safe and challenging for the riders, while providing ideal viewing locations for the crowds of spectators,” said Shawn Hunter, CEO of the USA Pro Challenge. “This year we are, once again, taking them to the highest point of any professional cycling race with Independence Pass. We’re also returning to the iconic Time Trial route in Vail. The best in the sport will be racing through Colorado communities for what will be an epic week in professional cycling.”

The 2013 race will take place August 19 to 25:

- Stage 1: Aspen Circuit Race -- Monday, Aug. 19

The new 2013 Aspen/Snowmass Circuit may be short on distance, but it packs a punch that will welcome the riders to Colorado, officials said. Consisting of three 22-mile laps, 66 miles total, Stage 1 packs in 3,080 ft. of climbing per lap with minimal recovery.

- Stage 2:  Aspen to Breckenridge -- Tuesday, Aug. 20

The familiar battleground of Independence Pass returns as riders ascend the 12,000 ft. climb, the highest point reached in any professional cycling race. Then they’ll continue on through some familiar spots as the race zooms through Buena Vista, Fairplay and Alma, before tackling Hoosier Pass from the south this year. Then riders must conquer the 15 percent grade of Moonstone Rd. in the heart of Breckenridge, before bombing down Boreas Pass to the waiting crowd.

- Stage 3:  Breckenridge to Steamboat Springs -- Wednesday, Aug. 21

After leaving Breckenridge, riders weave north to Kremmling, over Rabbit Ears Pass then down into downtown Steamboat Springs.

- Stage 4:  Steamboat Springs to Beaver Creek -- Thursday, Aug. 22

Stage 4 is the Queen Stage of the 2013 USA Pro Challenge. It features some previously used terrain on the country roads around Routt County. Then riders head to Beaver Creek and a steep ascent up Bachelors Gulch with pitches up to 18 percent.

- Stage 5:  Vail Individual Time Trial -- Friday, Aug. 23

The last time the USA Pro Challenge visited Vail, the Time Trial was decided by 58 hundredths of a second. This route includes a climb up most of Vail Pass.

- Stage 6:  Loveland to Ft. Collins -- Saturday, Aug. 24

From the outskirts of Loveland, racers cross the flat windswept plains passing through Windsor and back to Loveland. Then it’s up Big Thompson Canyon to Devils Gulch, the race’s last King of the Mountains competition, before hitting Estes Park and back down Big Thompson.

- Stage 7:  Denver Circuit Race -- Sunday, Aug. 25

The Denver Circuit takes the best parts of the 2011 and 2012 Denver stages and combines them into a new circuit hitting all the Denver highlights -- LoDo, City Park, Civic Center Park.

Read more on the race website: http://usaprocyclingchallenge.com/2013-route

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