The USA Pro Challenge Monday unveiled its host cities for 2014, with the Colorado professional bicycle race including a mountaintop finish for the first time.
Colorado Springs takes the downtown circuit race in Stage 4 on August 21st. So far, Denver has not been named as a host city for the race, to be held Aug. 18-24, but it is among the options for the as yet undecided Stage 7.
The third stage of the race will finish at Monarch Mountain near Salida.
The race announced these six stages and eight host cities:
- Stage 1: Monday, Aug. 18 — Aspen Circuit Race.
- Stage 2: Tuesday, Aug. 19 — Aspen to Mt. Crested Butte.
- Stage 3: Wednesday, Aug. 20 — Gunnison to Monarch Mountain (mountaintop finish).
- Stage 4: Thursday, Aug. 21 — Colorado Springs Circuit Race.
- Stage 5: Friday, Aug. 22 — Woodland Park to Breckenridge.
- Stage 6: Saturday, Aug. 23 — Vail Individual Time Trial.
- Stage 7: Sunday, Aug. 24 —To be determined.
“The host cities selected for the 2014 USA Pro Challenge will really highlight the majestic beauty of Colorado to our worldwide audience,” said race owner Rick Schaden. “These cities are valued partners who help us continue to raise the bar for professional cycling in America.”
As for Stage 7, “fans will be able to help shape the race by logging on to www.prochallenge.com/PickStage7 and giving their opinion on four options for Stage 7,” race officials announced.
Those options are:
- Denver Circuit Race, similar to the final stage of the 2013 race.
- Start in Golden and finish in Denver.
- Start in Boulder and finish in Denver.
- Start in Boulder and end in Golden.
“We receive a lot of feedback from fans about the race and in particular the route, so, for the first time ever, we’re having fans weigh in on the final stage,” said race CEO Shawn Hunter.
Northern Colorado communities did not submit a bid to host the race in 2014, largely because of the impact of September’s flooding in the area, which is draining money and resources, the Loveland Reporter-Herald reports.
There has been discussion in Boulder, which also was impacted by flooding, as to whether it should host the race.
The USA Pro Challenge is starting in Aspen next year even though a poll published last month indicated that 43 percent of Aspen business owners saw a drop in business during the race compared to the previous week. Nevertheless, 76 percent of the business owners surveyed said they wanted the race to return.
Tejay van Garderen of BMC Racing Team, a part-time Aspen resident, was the overall winner of this year’s USA Pro Challenge, which covered nearly 600 miles.
The race (website here) will announce route details in the spring.
Report by Mark Harden, News Director-Denver Business Journal