The much-anticipated Second Annual USA Pro Cycling Challenge rolls into Colorado once again from August 20-26, 2012, and Aspen is proud to host two of the seven stages this year. 126 of the world’s top professional cyclists will compete in what is being called one of the best fields ever assembled on American soil for a professional cycling race. For seven days, the elite athletes compete to conquer a 683-mile race course that travels through 12 host cities spanning from Durango to Denver, climbing more than 42,000 vertical feet throughout the week.
In 2011, more than 1 million spectators came out to cheer on the riders and witness “America’s Race,” and officials are expecting an even bigger turnout across the state this year. Aspen will feature a full lineup of special events and celebrations, making the two days a festive and fun spectator event for the whole family
On August 22nd, riders will descend upon Aspen via Independence Pass for the finish of Stage 3, which takes the cyclists from Gunnison to Aspen via a 130-mile grueling route. Aspen spectators can enjoy a street painting party, a race festival in Paepcke Park, several Citizen Criteriums throughout the day, a stunt bike show, and a USA Pro Challenge Finish and Awards Ceremony on Main Street. This exciting day will finish up with a free concert in Wagner Park at 6:30 pm with music from the 70’s rock cover band Anthem.
Aspen is also the location for the start of Stage 4 the following day, on August 23rd. A morning festival and autograph session will kick off the day, followed by the National Anthem, and the USA Pro Challenge Start at 11:30 am. On this stage, riders will travel back over Independence Pass, through Leadville, and on to Beaver Creek via Tennessee Pass and Minturn.
Visit the Aspen Chamber for more information about spectator events taking place on both race days, street closures, route maps, and more. Mid-August is a wonderful time to be in Aspen, and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge is just another reason to head to this mountain paradise.