The USA Pro Challenge will visit eight cities in Colorado during its third edition in 2013. The road stage race will kick off in Aspen on August 19 and end in Denver on August 25. Organizers announced the host cities on Wednesday.
The race will make its debut in Fort Collins and Loveland, and it will return to proven host venues such as Steamboat Springs, Vail and Denver.
"Riders now know that there is no race in America like the USA Pro Challenge, and these host cities help ensure cycling's world stage returns to Colorado for seven days of grueling competition," said Shawn Hunter, CEO and Co-Chairman of the USA Pro Challenge. "Each of these communities will be on an international stage as we partner with them to ensure the USA Pro Challenge takes its place as America’s greatest race."
"When you combine the high-altitude climbs, the enthusiasm of the crowds and the level of competition, the USA Pro Challenge is one of my favorite race weeks," said Christian Vande Velde, the overall winner of the 2012 USA Pro Challenge. "I can't wait to get back in 2013 and defend the title with my Garmin-Sharp teammates."
The two new cities joining the 2013 race - Fort Collins and Loveland - offer breathtaking scenery and a unique cycling history.
"With the addition of Loveland and Fort Collins, we are adding two cities that have built a community around the cycling culture," Hunter said. "We are thrilled to incorporate their enthusiasm as we continue to showcase Colorado as the center of the nation’s cycling spirit."
Further details of the start and finish line locations, as well as the specific, detailed route, will be announced in the spring. With its consolidated footprint and multiple back-to-back stages, the 2013 race will ensure that spectators in host cities will have many opportunities to root for their favorite rider or team.
A number of criteria were taken into consideration when evaluating potential host cities, including full city services support. The race also considered commitments in the areas of lodging, volunteer recruitment, marketing and local tourism, as well as an ability to host world-class athletes and promote the State of Colorado.
"The USA Pro Challenge has created an entirely new audience for our state," Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper said. "Not only is it the best American competition, it's essentially a week-long advertisement for our state with 128 of the best cyclists in the world acting as tour guides."
The race drew more than one million fans in each of its first two years and generated nearly $200 million in cumulative economic impact for the state of Colorado.
2013 USA Pro Challenge
Monday, August 19: Stage 1 - Aspen/Snowmass Circuit
Tuesday, August 20: Stage 2 - Aspen/Snowmass - Breckenridge
Wednesday, August 21: Stage 3 - Breckenridge - Steamboat Springs
Thursday, August 22: Stage 4 - Steamboat Springs - Beaver Creek
Friday, August 23: Stage 5 - Vail (individual time trial)
Saturday, August 24: Stage 6 - Loveland - Fort Collins
Sunday, August 25: Stage 7 - Denver Circuit