Race officials unveiled seven of the host cities that will be highlighted as starts and finishes for the 2015 USA Pro Challenge.
Taking place Aug. 17-23, the race will feature several dramatic changes for 2015, including a new overall start in beautiful Steamboat Springs, new host venues Arapahoe Basin and Copper Mountain and a challenging individual time trial course in the scenic town of Breckenridge. Organizers are looking to fans to help determine the location of Stage 6.
“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.”
Arapahoe Basin Ski Area (A-Basin) will host the Stage 2 finish of the 2015 U.S. Pro Challenge on August 18, 2015. Known for its rugged peaks and long ski season, Arapahoe Basin’s proximity to Loveland Pass makes it a summertime waypoint for both professional and recreational cyclists. Riders will have the challenge of a 1,500-foot elevation gain toward a finish at 10,780’. “The Arapahoe Basin family is honored to host a Pro Challenge finish, and looks forward to showcasing the natural beauty of Colorado and Arapahoe Basin Ski Area,” the resort said in a release.
After drawing more than 1 million fans each year and generating $130 million in economic impact to the State of Colorado in 2014 alone, the USA Pro Challenge will make its return with an overall start in Steamboat Springs. Over the course of seven days the world’s best riders will return to iconic Colorado cities that have been key parts of the race in previous years, such as Aspen and Denver.
Stages of the 2015 USA Pro Challenge include:
Stage 1: Monday, Aug. 17 – Steamboat Springs Circuit Race
Stage 2: Tuesday, Aug. 18 – Steamboat Springs to Arapahoe Basin Ski Area
Stage 3: Wednesday, Aug. 19 – Copper Mountain Resort to Aspen
Stage 4: Thursday, Aug. 20 – Aspen to Breckenridge
Stage 5: Friday, Aug. 21 – Breckenridge Individual Time Trial
Stage 6: Saturday, Aug. 22 – Not announced
Stage 7: Sunday, Aug. 23 – Golden to Denver
Last year, fans weighed in on the final stage and ultimately determined a route that took the riders from Boulder, through Golden and finished in Downtown Denver. Due to overwhelming fan interest and support, organizers are again letting people have a say in the course. Fans will be able to help shape the race by logging on to www.prochallenge.com/2015stage6 and giving their opinion on what part of the state Stage 6 should visit.
“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.”
A new overall start for the Pro Challenge, Steamboat Springs, with a population of just more than 12,000, should see that number at least double on race day. Located just west of the Continental Divide and Rabbit Ears Pass, Steamboat is the perfect location to kick off the race and showcase Colorado’s unique scenic beauty. And as the Colorado city that has produced more Olympians than any other, the riders should feel right at home.
In one of the most significant changes to the 2015 route, Breckenridge will host the individual time trial. Located 9,600 ft. above sea level, this course will test the riders with challenging, hilly terrain. With these additions combined with new host cities Arapahoe Basin and Copper Mountain Resort, the 2015 course will create dramatic moments for the riders and fans.
Known for lung-searing altitudes and intense climbs through the Colorado Rockies, the race is the largest spectator event in the history of the state. The 2014 USA Pro Challenge saw part-time Aspen resident Tejay van Garderen of BMC Racing Team take the overall win for the second year in a row this past August in Denver.
“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.”
Additional details regarding the exact start and finish locations of the 2015 race, as well as the detailed route will be announced in the spring.
Referred to as “America’s Race,” the USA Pro Challenge will take place August 17-23, 2015. For seven consecutive days, the world’s top athletes race through the Colorado Rockies in one of the largest cycling events in U.S. history and the largest spectator event in the history of the state.
More information can be found online at www.USAProChallenge.com and on Twitter at @USAProChallenge.
Located high on the Continental Divide, Arapahoe Basin boasts the longest ski and ride season in Colorado, from mid-October through early June. A-Basin’s legendary Pallavicini and East Wall terrain offers some of the best extreme skiing in Colorado.