Hot on the heels of an amazing inaugural race, the 2012 US Pro Cycling Challenge will explore new cities and new areas of Colorado. Iconic cycling communities like Durango, Aspen and Boulder will take center stage in next year’s race. I’m psyched to have this week of racing directly following the 2012 Tour of Utah — two weeks of the best cycling this country will ever see. Official release below.
DENVER (Dec. 8, 2011) – With nearly 40 cities across the state expressing initial interest in the 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge, race officials have unveiled the 12 host cities that will serve as starts and finishes for the second annual stage race. After drawing more than 1 million fans in the inaugural year, the 2012 race will return to several cities and also visit new locations, showcasing the majestic beauty of the state.
Recently upgraded to a 2.HC ranking, the highest registration level next to the Tour de France, the race will visit a total of 12 official host cities over the course of the seven days, from August 20-26, 2012.
The host cities and stages of the 2012 USA Pro Challenge include:
- Monday, Aug. 20 Stage 1 Durango – Telluride
- Tuesday, Aug. 21 Stage 2 Montrose – Crested Butte/Mt. Crested Butte
- Wednesday, Aug. 22 Stage 3 Gunnison – Aspen
- Thursday, Aug. 23 Stage 4 Aspen – Beaver Creek/Vail Valley
- Friday, Aug. 24 Stage 5 Breckenridge – Colorado Springs
- Saturday, Aug. 25 Stage 6 Golden – Boulder
- Sunday, Aug. 26 Stage 7/ITT Denver
“The host cities selected for the 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge will enable us to showcase the beauty and hospitality of Colorado to a worldwide audience,” said Shawn Hunter, CEO of the USA Pro Challenge. “These cities are valued partners who will work with us, hand in hand, as we continue to raise the bar for professional cycling here in America.”
Overall winner of the 2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge, Levi Leipheimer said, “What makes Colorado uniquely challenging is the Rocky Mountains. Knowing that in 2012 we will start in one corner of the state and suffer through more mountain passes than any other race of this caliber in the North America is exciting. Add in the altitude factor and you’ve got one beast of a race.”
The four new cities joining the 2012 race – Durango, Telluride, Montrose and Boulder – each offer breathtaking scenery, as well as a unique cycling history, that will add to the overall impact of the race.
· The “Four Corners” area is home to Bob Roll, one of professional cycling’s most iconic commentators, as well as the Iron Horse Classic Bicycle Race.
· Durango is home to more professional cyclists, national champions and Olympians per capita than any other town in the United States.
· Often referred to as the birthplace of American cycling, Boulder is consistently ranked one of the best cycling cities in the country.
“By incorporating iconic cycling cities like Boulder and Durango in our second-year race we will further build the virtual postcard for the state of Colorado that we established in our inaugural year,” added Hunter.
Also new in 2012 is the placement of the Individual Time Trial on the final day of racing in Denver, keeping fans holding their breath to the very end to see who will be awarded the overall victory after the seven days of fiercely competitive racing. Fans in Denver will have multiple opportunities to cheer for any given rider, as well as the benefit of both start line access to riders along the traditional team “pit row” and the thrilling finish line excitement.
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.
Further details of the start and finish line locations, as well as the specific, detailed route will be announced in the spring.
About the USA Pro Cycling Challenge
For seven consecutive days, the world’s top athletes race through the majestic Rockies, reaching higher altitudes than they’ve ever had to endure – more than two miles in elevation. One of the largest cycling events in United States history, the 2012 race will feature the best of the best in professional cycling, competing on a challenging course through some of America’s most beautiful scenery.
Referred to as “America’s Race,” the second annual USA Pro Cycling Challenge will take place August 20-26, 2012. More than 1 million spectators are expected to once again line the route to see if Levi Leipheimer will defend his title as winner of the 2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge, while millions more around the world will watch the race on television and online through the Tour Tracker.