2012 A u g u s t #3-7
Durango, Montrose & Telluride
Take `America's Race' To New Heights
2012 usA Pro Cycling Challenge Features
of 2012. A few bumpy feet of road as the racers
American Pro Cycling's Highest Elevations
cross the tracks of Durango's famous Narrow
The route for the 2012 USA Pro Cycling Chal-
Gauge Railroad will send the riders on their way
lenge professional cycling stage race, taking
out of town toward Telluride. On the ride out
of LaPlata County the racers will have to tackle
place Aug. 20-26 in Colorado, will take rid-
the Hesperus Climb on US 160. After a chal-
ers on a heart-pounding journey through the
lenging, rolling ride across the high windswept
breathtaking Colorado Rockies. After making
plains and the second Sprint Line in the town of
history in the inaugural year by traveling to the
highest elevation of any race in North America
Dolores, the riders start a gradual canyon climb
or Europe, higher than the most challenging
that lasts more than 30 miles. Topping out over
route on the Tour de France, this year's race
Lizard Head Pass at 10,222 ft., any time gaps
will take riders to an altitude of 12,000 ft. not
gained going up must be maintained on the 15-
once, but three separate times and will include
mile descent into Telluride. A tight and technical
a finish on iconic Flagstaff Mountain on the
finish awaits the riders in the small, scenic town
penultimate day.
and they must navigate a small round-about and
four turns in the last mile before sprinting to the finish line.
"In determining the route for the 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge, we wanted
Stage 2: Montrose to Crested Butte - Tuesday, Aug. 21
to showcase as much of the Rocky Mountainsstate as possible, while creating a
At 99 miles, Stage 2 is a mix of old and new. Beginning with a new course for
challenging course for the riders that would provide ideal viewing locations for
the first 65 miles, the race then visits familiar territory as it passes through Gun-
spectators," said Shawn Hunter, CEO of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. "This
nison and retraces the 2011 route up to the grueling finish in Mt. Crested Butte.
year, the route will take the riders through more mountain passes than any
Beginning at Montrose Pavilion, the stage will begin with a quick neutral lap,
other race of its kind, with five topping out at a minimum of 10,000 ft."
then the riders head east out of town. As Montrose fades into the distance, the
The race will visit 12 official host cities for the starts and finishes of each stage.
short but challenging climbs over Cerro Summit and Blue Mesa Summit await
Three of the four new cities joining the 2012 race, Durango, Montrose and Tel-
and make for early launch pads for the breakaway specialists.
luride, each offer breathtaking scenery, as well as a unique cycling history, that
As the road levels giving way to the picturesque twists and turns along the
will add to the overall excitement of the race.
shores of Blue Mesa Reservoir, the riders approach the first Sprint Line of the
Also new in 2012 is the placement of the Individual Time Trial on the final day
day in Gunnison, 65 miles away from the start in Montrose. Gunnison will host
of racing in Denver, keeping fans holding their breath to the very end to see
the race two days in a row, first as a pass-through in Stage 2 and then as a start
who will be awarded the overall victory of the seven days of fiercely competi-
city in Stage 3. Moving north out of Gunnison breakaway time gaps will shrink,
tive racing.
team leaders will move to the front and domestiques will protect and position
"Each day of this route is a challenge; there will be nowhere to hide for these
their leaders. As the riders head into downtown Crested Butte, they face the
riders," added Hunter. "Staging the individual time trial on the last day will
day's last Sprint Line. From there it's a 2-mile climb to the line at Mt. Crested
punctuate the drama, as we expect any time lead could be taken away with the
Butte. A dynamic and exciting uphill finish, this short, but steep hill gave Levi
challenge and intensity of a circuit sprint. With this course, we should witness
Leipheimer the leader's jersey in 2011.
intense competition right down to the last minute."
One of the largest cycling events in United States history, the 2012 USA Pro
A highly anticipated event on the race calendar, the 2012 USA Pro Cycling
Cycling Challenge, referred to as "America's Race, will feature the best of the
Challenge will test the riders' strength and endurance over a more than 680-
mile course. Highlights of the route include:
best in professional cycling. More than 1 million spectators are expected to once
Stage 1: Durango to Telluride - Monday, Aug. 20
again line the route to see if Levi Leipheimer will defend his title as reigning
champion, while millions more around the world watch the race live on televi-
This year's Grand Depart will begin with a unique start of two neutral laps
sion and online through the Tour Tracker.
through downtown, followed by a larger 6.5-mile racing loop that encompasses
Info: or Twitter at USAProChallenge.
most of town and then heads back through downtown for the first Sprint Line
Make time for play
Music legend Joe
Get a share of ultra
Derby dames roll
Pg 6
Walsh in Aspen! Pg 12
fresh food...  Pg 8
into town!  Pg 11