Copper Mountain Resort, long a summer hub for Colorado cyclists, will for the first time host a stage of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. The popular epic cycling contest through the Colorado Rockies will visit Copper Aug. 19 for the start of Stage 3, Copper to Aspen.
Arapahoe Basin will host the finish of Stage 2, with racers arriving near the top of Loveland Pass after the ride from Steamboat. Breckenridge will also host a stage finish on Aug. 20 with racers arriving from Aspen via Independence Pass, and the town will also host a time trial the next day.
Race organizers also unveiled a twist when they announced the route for the 2015 contest. The penultimate stage of the race doesn't have host cities yet and the organizers are looking for fan input to decide Stage 6.
“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.”
“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.”
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 of intensely competitive racing, 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.
In a mix of new and prior host cities, the 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
- 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 – ???
- 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 before 11:59 p.m. MT December 12, and giving their opinion on what part of the state Stage 6 should visit.