USA PRO CHALLENGE - the tour in Colorado for pro racers


Host Cities for 2015 USA Pro Challenge



Route of 2014 USA Pro Challenge race website.  Complete route description.

Route map of 2014 USA Pro Challenge, Colorado
Stages of the 2014 USA Pro Challenge, August 18-24, 2014

Stage 1: Monday, Aug. 18 – Aspen Circuit Race
Stage 2: Tuesday, Aug. 19 – Aspen to Mt. Crested Butte
Stage 3: Wednesday, Aug. 20 – Gunnison to Monarch Mountain
Stage 4: Thursday, Aug. 21 – Colorado Springs Circuit Race
Stage 5: Friday, Aug. 22 – Woodland Park to Breckenridge
Stage 6: Saturday, Aug. 23 – Vail Individual Time Trial
Stage 7: Sunday, Aug. 24 – Boulder - Golden - Denver

2014 Colorado Pro Challenge Facts:

How to watch the Colorado Pro Challenge - Watch it Live!

TourTracker™: Watch the USA Pro Cycling Challenge live on your computer, tablet, or mobile device. Download

See the TV Schedule and online live links for TV Coverage and Tour Tracker for USA Pro Challenge

Info graphic coutesy of USA Pro Challenge
See the race live

Pedal Dancer® at the race

Results and Stories from the road .... please check back as I report from the race. (coming soon)
On the path of the 2014 USA Pro Challenge - a new bike travel series by Pedal Dancer for spectators planning to attend a stage in 2014:
New 2014 posts by Pedal Dancer® for the race:
Related stories of interest from 2012, 2013 and 2014 by Pedal Dancer®:
The Colorado State Flag
News for 2014:
Command Central on race day - CEO Shawn Hunter and Race Director Jim Birrell calling the shots

Get involved in 2014 - fan experiences, ride and run events, VIP passes, volunteer:

Fan Club Meetings and events
  • Trek Factory Racing Fan Club Meeting - celebrate Jens Voigt, party in Aspen (August 18) and Vail (August 23) at the USA Pro Challenge at a designated area with lunch and race viewing. Buy tickets in advance, $50 each. Organized by Trek Travel. Join in the #FarewellJens celebration and post your photos of Jens
  • Team Presentation, August 16, 2014 at 6:15pm in lower Snowmass Village. 
Events and Rides
Watch all the action from the VIP tents.
VIP and Volunteer for 2014:
  • Fly The Challenge - extreme VIP treatment by air and car, exciting 4-day tour $2950 each. more inforamtion on the VIP tour at the USA Pro Challenge.
  • Daily VIP packages and passes at every stage (lots of fun!)
  • Friday, August 15th in Aspen: Peloton Aspen 14 Kick-off Party. Appetizer and cocktails with your favorite pro cyclists, commentators, and other notable sports and entertainment personalities with a live auction. Tickets are $515 each (yes this is a fundraiser). More information at
  • VIP Reception at the Team Presentation - Saturday, August 16th, 5:30-8:30pm at Ricard’s @ Base Village hosted by Viceroy Snowmass $150 each. For tickets please contact Wes Graham @ 970-429-2098. 
  • Pro Challenge Stage 4 VIP Reception and Gala at the Broadmoor Hotel Colorado Springs, August 21, 2014. Purchase tickets online.
  • Volunteer (you are the heroes!)

Ride your bicycle to the Festival

Bicycle Colorado is hosting bike valet locations at each stage finish expo area. They will hold your bike safely for free (if you wish you may purchase an annual membership to Bicycle Colorado as a thank you). The Bike Valet Lots are being fully sponsored by Lexus a new race sponsor for 2014. Thank Lexus.

Festival (Expo) times for USA Pro Challenge in the 2014 Host Cities

Travel impact and road closures for the 2014 USA Pro Challenge

Road closure schedule State Highways for Stage, 1, Stage 2, Stage 3, Stage 4, Stage 5, Stage 6, Stage 7. All roads for the circuits will be fully closed, other roads will have rolling road closures (see definitions below). CDOT Colorado Department of Transportation advisory: USA Pro Challenge Road Closures 2014 (select the stage tab).

A word from race organizers: "Keep in mind that road closures and delays to motorized traffic do not apply to pedestrians and bike traffic, so why not ride your bike or park and walk to the location you want to watch the race? Both are great ways to see the action and join in on the fun and excitement of experiencing this world class event. Just be aware of your surroundings and stay on the shoulders where they're available."

I would add that bikes and pedestrians are not allowed to move along CLOSED roads while the race is on, please find your viewing place by the time the road closes. Race Marshalls and/or Police will ask you to stop and move off the road.

Recommended reading for 2014:

Tough Route in Store for USA Pro Challenge, By Joe Lindsey of the Boulder Report (a good description of the stage route and challenges). "Don't expect many of them [sprinters] to come to Colorado. Instead, bookended by the similarly hilly Tour of Utah and the brace of one-day WorldTour events in Canada, the 2014 Pro Challenge looks like an ideal spot for riders looking for late-season results or getting ready for the World Road Championships on a hilly course in Ponferrada, Spain."

The race for 2014

What do we call this race now? I don't know. It is either the Pro Cycling Challenge or USA Pro Challenge, but it might not be USA Pro Cycling Challenge (like their website url) or Quiznos Pro Challenge (the original name), nor is it Tour of Colorado (that name was already taken). What it is for certain, is the best professional cycling stage race in Colorado.

By now, in it's forth year, everyone has their own name for the race and that is just fine. At a cost of $10 million to $11 million a year for race owners to produce (the proper term is host) the 7-day stage race, what is known is that the race will go on into 2015. Ten cities in Colorado will host the race in 2014. Hopefully the fans will turn out in huge numbers to cheer the almost guaranteed list of excellent pro riders who enjoy showing up for this UCI American Tour race.

Will Jens Voigt and Patrick the Rapha espresso maker be back in 2014?  YES Photo by Karen Rakestraw at Pedal Dancer®
Will Sarah and her broom wagon be back in 2014?  Photo by Karen Rakestraw at Pedal Dancer®
Will the crowds of spectator return to see more racing?  Photo by Karen Rakestraw at Pedal Dancer®
Will there be more hula hooping on mountain passes waiting for the peloton. Photo by Karen Rakestraw at Pedal Dancer®
Will fast racing return to the streets of Denver?  Photo © By Ryan Wallace of for Pedal Dancer®
Will champagne flow? Photo © By Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®
Will more great sponsors be spotted on the podium - Colorado State University sponsored the Best Young Rider Jersey?  Photo by Karen Rakestraw at Pedal Dancer®
Race Sponsors
Colorado Come To Life
Sierra Nevada
United Healthcare
Team Novo Nordisk
Colorado State University
Centura Health
First Bank
Certified Angus Beef
The Denver Post
Beyond the Edge

Colorado National Guard, Cliff Bar, Pearl Izumi, Optum, Jelly Belly, The Infinite Monkey Theorum, Maxxis, Smart Stop, Edward Jones, DraPac, Trek, EKS&H, Bissell, Cannondale, Fleetwood RV, Red Fox, Smith Optics, Yakima, Cateye, Sutter Home, Polar Bottle, Mavic, Osprey, Velo, 10Speed Coffee, 5280, The Gazette, 102.3 ESPN, Entercom, US Forest Service, Easy Goals, Colorado Athletic Club, USA Cycling

Location of Colorado in the U.S.A.

2014 Pro Teams for the USA Pro Challenge:

From August 18-24, 2014, sixteen professional cycling teams from six countries will gather to race over the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. The race begins in Aspen (Monday) and finishes in Denver (Sunday). Please come see some of the best professional cycling teams in the world compete on the magnificent roads of Colorado.

Rider Rosters for the 2014 USA Pro Challenge - List of riders racing

UCI ProTeams
UCI Professional Continental Teams
UCI Continental Teams
Read more about the teams on Pedal Dancer Pro Teams for 2014 USA Pro Challenge or on the official USA Pro Challenge website.

Route of 2014 USA Pro Challenge

Stage 1: Monday, Aug. 18 – Aspen Circuit Race
Stage 2: Tuesday, Aug. 19 – Aspen to Mt. Crested Butte (long climbs mixed terrain)
Stage 3: Wednesday, Aug. 20 – Gunnison to Monarch Mountain (mountaintop finish)
Stage 4: Thursday, Aug. 21 – Colorado Springs Circuit Race
Stage 5: Friday, Aug. 22 – Woodland Park to Breckenridge (long road, climbing at end)
Stage 6: Saturday, Aug. 23 – Vail Individual Time Trial
Stage 7: Sunday, Aug. 24 – Boulder / Golden / Denver (final circuit)

This year the fans voted on the location of Stage 7. Description: Beginning in Boulder, which served as the Stage 6 finish in 2012, the race will travel through Golden, which saw record crowds as a start city in 2012, and finish with three laps around the State’s Capitol, which has served as the finish location every year of the race. The day also incorporates an incredibly challenging and fan-favorite climb on Lookout Mountain.

CDOT Colorado Department of Transportation advisory of road closures: USA Pro Challenge Road Closures 2014

A SNAPSHOT OF THE STAGES - Basics for Spectators
Travel and race recommendations by Pedal Dancer for the 2014 USA Pro Challenge:

ASPEN  - Saturday & Sunday, Pre-Race activities
On the path of the 2014 USA Pro Challenge - Aspen
Recommended Road Bike Rides Near Aspen
Saturday: 4:00-6:00pm - Tour team parking (mechanics) and Snowmass base village festivities
Saturday: 6:15pm-8:30pm - USA Pro Challenge Open Ceremonies at Snowmass Base Village, open to the public, free.
Sunday: 12:00-5:00pm - Aspen Festival at Paepke Park downtown, 5:00-7:00pm Aspen Sprint Challenge downtown.

ASPEN  - Monday, Stage 1
On the path of the 2014 USA Pro Challenge - Aspen
Monday: 2:40pm - Aspen Stage 1 Start ; Stage 1 Finish at 4:45pm
Best viewing: Downtown Aspen, KOM in Snowmass at the Fire Station, Snowmass Village.

On the path of the 2014 USA Pro Challenge - Aspen
Tuesday: 8:30-10:30am - Aspen Festival at Paepke Park
Tuesday: 11:10 am - Aspen - Stage 2 Star
Tuesday: 12:00-6:00pm - Festival in Crested Butte 
Best viewing: Start line in Aspen, Carbondale spring, McClure Pass, Kebler Pass, downtown Crested Butte, Mtn top finish up Mt Crested Butte.

GUNNISON - SALIDA - MONARCH MTN - Wednesday, Stage 3
Wednesday: 9:30-12:30pm - Festival in Gunnison
Wednesday: 11:30-5:00pm - Festival on Monarch Mountain Pass
Wednesday: 11:25am - Stage 3 Start in Gunnison
Wednesday: 3:50pm - Stage 3 Finish (mountain top finish on Monarch Pass!)
Best viewing: Start line in Gunnison, Monarch Pass, sprint in Salida

COLORADO SPRINGS - Thursday, Stage 4
On the path of the 2014 USA Pro Challenge - Colorado Springs
Thursday: 6:00am roads inside Garden of the Gods closed to all cars.
Thursday: 11:00-6:00pm - Festival downtown
Thursday: 12:50 - Stage 4 Start at 12:50 outside the Broadmoor Hotel
Thursday: 3:50pm - Stage 4 Finish in downtown Colorado Springs
Best viewing: Start line at Broadmoor Hotel, Historic Area on Colorado Blvd, Garden of the Gods (uphill sections), downtown Colorado Springs sprint and finish line.

BRECKENRIDGE - Friday, Stage 5
On the path of the 2014 USA Pro Challenge - Breckenridge
Friday: 9:00am-3:00pm - Festival in Woodland Park
Friday: 11:20am - Stage 5 start in Woodland Park
Friday: 12:00-5:00pm - Festival Expo at Blue River Park (and nearby parking lots)
Friday: 3:50pm (approximate) - Stage 5 Finish on Main Street
Friday: 7:30pm - Big Head Todd and the Monsters free concert at River Walk
Best viewing: Start line in Woodland Park, scenery along Terryall Rd, Johnston, Fairplay, Alma, Hoosier Pass,  climbs above Breckenridge, finish line on Main Street.

VAIL - Saturday, Stage 6
On the path of the 2014 USA Pro Challenge - Vail
Recommended road rides near Vail, Colorado
Saturday: 11:00-5:00pm - Festival in Vail Village 
Saturday: 11:30am - Road Closures
Saturday: 1:05pm - first racer, 3:50pm - last racer finishes
Saturday: 4:15pm - podium presentation in Vail Village
Best Viewing: Starting ramp in Vail Village, from the gate on Vail Pass bike path to the finish line near the top. 

BOULDER - Sunday, Stage 7 
Sunday: !0:30-2:00pm - Festival in Boulder
Sunday: Stage 7 Start in Boulder at 12:30pm at 18th and Pearl St
Best viewing: Team buses, sign-in, and Start line in Boulder

GOLDEN - Sunday, Stage 7
On the path of the 2014 USA Pro Challenge - Golden
Golden Events
Friday: 3:00pm Lookout mountain closes to traffic (through 2:00pm Sunday 8/24/14)
Sunday: Stage 7 Start in Boulder at 12:30pm
Sunday: the race will be in Golden from 1:00-3:00pm
Sunday: Stage 7 Finish in Denver at 3:50pm
Best viewing: Sprint in town or on Lookout Mountain

DENVER - Sunday, Stage 7
On the path of the 2014 USA Pro Challenge - Denver
Sunday: 11:00-5:00pm - Festival in Denver Civic Center Park
Sunday: 3:50pm - Stage 7 Finish in Denver
Sunday: 4:15pm (approx.) final podium presentation near finish line in Denver 
Best viewing: VIP tents, near Broadway, along 17th St, or in City Park

STAGES OF THE 2014 USA PRO CHALLENGE (Announced May 2014)

MONDAY, STAGE 1 : 65 miles Stage 1 Map PDF  Stage 1 Profile PDF
Aspen circuit race. 3 laps of nearly 22 miles each, and 2,300 ft. of climbing per lap. Similar to the 2013 circuit route.

Stage 1 Start time: 2:40pm
Stage 2 Finish time: 4:45 pm

State Highways Impacted: SH 82
2014 USA Pro Challenge - Stage 1 route map
Route map around downtown Aspen Stage 1
Aspen Circuit Stage 1 best viewing

TUESDAY, STAGE 2 : 105 miles Stage 2 Map PDF  Stage 2 Profile PDF
Aspen to Crested Butte, "the back way". Climbing two new mountain passes - McClure Pass and Kebler Pass, before a mountain top finish on Crested Butte Mountain.

Stage 2 Start time: 11:10am
Stage 2 Finish time: 3:50pm

State Highways Impacted: SH 82, SH 133

2014 USA Pro Challenge - Stage 2 route map
Route map through downtown Carbondale Stage 2
Route map through downtown Crested Butte Stage 2
Route map up Crested Butte Mountain Stage 2

WEDNESDAY, STAGE 3 : 96 miles Stage 3 Map PDF  Stage 3 Profile PDF
Gunnison to Monarch Mountain, climbing both sides with 2 loops near Salida; mountain top finish on Monarch Pass from the east side.

Stage 3 Start time: 11:25am
Stage 3 Finish time: 3:50pm

State Highways Impacted: SH 135, US 50, US285
2014 USA Pro Challenge - Stage 3 route map
Route Map through downtown Salida Stage 3

THURSDAY, STAGE 4 : 70 miles Stage 4 Map PDF  Stage 4 Profile PDF
Colorado Springs circuit race. Two initial laps near Broadmoor Hotel, then 4 laps of a 16-mile circuit with climbs through Garden of the Gods to downtown Colorado Springs.

Stage 4 Start time: 12:50pm
Stage 4 Finish time: 3:50pm

State Highways Impacted: US 24, I-25
2014 USA Pro Challenge - Stage 4 route map
Route of Stage 4 through Garden of the Gods

FRIDAY, STAGE 5 : 104 miles Stage 5 Map PDF (use this link:, Stage 5 Profile PDF
Woodland Park to Breckenridge, traditional road stage with climbing and descending in the last miles.
* Please note the route will go over Hoosier pass following Hwy 9 on both sides and not take the diversion onto the gravel roads on the north side of the pass.

Stage 5 Start time: 11:20pm
Stage 5 Finish time: 3:50pm

State Highways Impacted: US 24, US 285, SH9
2014 USA Pro Challenge - Stage 5 route map (route uses Hwy 9 over Hoosier Pass)
Route map of Stage 5 through Breckenridge
Profile of last miles of Stage 5 into Breckenridge
Recommended viewing Stage 5 Breckenridge USA Pro Challenge

SATURDAY, STAGE 6 : 10 miles Stage 6 Map PDF  Stage 6 Profile PDF
Individual Time Trial up Vail Pass bike path (same route as previous years).

Stage 6 Start time: 1:05pm
Stage 6 Finish time: 3:50pm

State Highways Impacted: I-70
2014 USA Pro Challenge - Stage 6 route map
Route of Time Trial through Vail Village east to Vail Pass
Best viewing of Time Trial on Vail Pass - USA Pro Challenge 2014

SUNDAY, STAGE 7 : 78 miles  Stage Map PDF  Stage Profile PDF
Boulder - Golden - Lookout Mountain - circuits in Denver (different route than 2013 in downtown Denver!)

* Please note that the route of the circuit laps in downtown Denver does not go down Speer Blvd or through Larimer Street this year. The race is concentrated around Civic Center Park, along 17th Street, and in City Park. The finish again is in front of the State Capital Building.

Stage 7 Start time: 12:30pm
Stage 7 Finish time: 3:50pm

State Highways Impacted: SH 93, US 40, SH 391 (Kipling Street), SH 121 (Wadsworth), SH 95 (Sheridan), I-25
2014 USA Pro Challenge - Stage 7 route map
Route Map through downtown Boulder Stage 7
Route Map through downtown Golden Stage 7
Recommended viewing Stage 7 USA Pro Challenge in Denver
Finish in Denver - 2014 USA Pro Challenge Stage 7 route

SHOP - buy your commemorative jersey or your tshirts and hats.


Where will you see the race?

I highly recommend going to Aspen the weekend before the race starts to see all the fun and ride on the roads with the pros (plus the pro riders loved visiting Aspen where the mood was excellent last year)! I also recommend staying over in Crested Butte or Gunnison if possible. I know lots of people plan to be in Colorado Springs for the three big circuits. Maybe schedule a half work day on Friday so you can see the finish in Breckenridge. And of course the Saturday Vail Time Trial. Also for the final day, go anywhere on the course near your home and enjoy the time with friends or family, the final day will be about atmosphere.

Fans at the race in 2012 in Golden, Colorado  ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer®
Cruise on downtown ©Photo by Laurie Valaer for Pedal Dancer

Colorado fans rock!

Colorado not only has a fit and active population, the state has a very knowledgeable fan base who understand cycling. Coloradans routinely enjoy a variety of outdoor sports and have embraced the USA Pro Challenge now in it's third year. I began the tradition in year-one of offering tips to fans on seeing the pro race in Colorado, so I will continue offering information, hoping to encourage new fans each year as well as making race day planning that much easier for experienced fans. Enjoy the race!


My brief recommendations for fans for how and where to see the race in 2014, include:
  1. Take a 3-day holiday (Sat-Tues) in Aspen/Snowmass to see the riders warm up (get out and ride your bike on the same road as the pros, as they train on Saturday and Sunday). Tour the Team parking area Saturday 3-6pm in Snowmass Village and see the mechanics setting-up the bikes. Watch the Opening Ceremonies and Team Presentation on Saturday night at 6:30pm in Snowmass Village. Be in the audience (if possible, or outside) for the pre-race press conference in Aspen on Sunday at 1:30pm. Attend the special events in the city of Aspen or Snowmass Village. Go hiking near the Maroon Bells, fish in the gold medal rivers nearby and then watch the pro teams race Stage 1 (Monday) and Stage 2 (Tuesday).
  2. Spend an overnight in Gunnison/Crested Butte; you will see the finish of Stage 2 (Tuesday) and the start of Stage 3 (Wednesday). When you are not watching the race - ride your own bike from Gunnison to Crested Butte or up Pottonwood Pass, or up Kebler Pass (both are dirt roads). Black Canyon of the Gunnison is nearby and fishing and other water sports abound in the area. Both town have excellent histories of being host cities and you can expect lots of events and activities for spectators before and after the stages.
  3. Spend an overnight (Wednesday night) in Salida to see the two circuit laps of Stage 3 before the finish on nearby Monarch Mountain. Or ride your own bike up to the Mountain Top Finish. Salida is a very nice town, with good atmosphere and plenty of restaurants.
  4. Last year watching the finish into the ski village of Breckenridge was excellent, plenty of fans turned out and the expo village was one of the best. You could always stay over in Summit County on Friday night and be right where you need to be when the individual time trial begins the next day in Vail.
  5. Ride your bike up Vail Pass to watch the Individual Time Trial of Stage 5 with the mass of fans. This year the ITT is on a Saturday so I hope lots of cyclists take the day to ride up the pass from Dillon/Frisco or from Avon/Vail. It can get hot on that mountain so bring water, but as a fan, it is a great place with hours of entertainment as the riders ride past individually.
  6. Gather a group of friends on Sunday and go anywhere along the route in Boulder, Golden or Denver to watch the race. The VIP tent at the finish in Denver is always a good one. Also be sure to take in a local brew and ride your own bike to the race for easy parking!
Double it up this year (see 2 Stages in the same city)
Aspen: Stage 1 Start & Finish + Stage 2 Start
Crested Butte/Gunnison: Stage 2 Finish + Stage 3 Start
Summit County: Stage 5 Finish, Stage 6 Start or Finish

See a start & finish on the same day (by driving)
Stage 1 see the Start and Finish in the same town of Aspen
Stage 2 see the Start in Aspen + the Finish in Crested Butte
Stage 4 see the Start and Finish in Colorado Springs
Stage 7 see the Start in Boulder + the Finish in Denver

See a mountain top finish (ride your bike to the top)
Stage 3 Finish on Monarch Pass (where you will be able to see the peloton twice)
Stage 4 Finish at Mount Crested Butte Ski Resort (it is short but it counts)
Stage 5 Vail Pass (ITT!)

Be on a mountain pass mid-way in the stage (great for everyone)
Stage 2 McClure Pass
Stage 2 Kebler Pass
Stage 3 Monarch Pass
Stage 5 Hoosier Pass
Stage 7 Lookout Mountain

Be at the party!
Saturday, August 17th, Opening Ceremonies - Team Introduction. Plus events before and after in Snowmass Village.
The cities of Aspen, Gunnison, and Golden really make fans feel welcome with lots of events.
Wednesday, August 20th, on Monarch Pass
Saturday, August 24th, on Vail Pass
Sunday, August 25th, 12-4pm, Golden and Denver, street-side and/or any pub near the route.

Attend the race with Children
I think that race starts are ideal for children. This is where children can safely see the riders in person (and with luck up-close to get an autograph). Young fans can watch as riders depart their team buses or roll to the sign-in stage. They can see the bikes and teams cars, they can hear the National Anthem and the race announcers. They will get a sense of the race atmosphere live, then when they return home to watch the race coverage on TV, they will know what it was like to be there. And maybe, they will have chosen a new pro rider as a favorite to watch into the future, or perhaps be inspired themselves to become a bike rider or racer.

If I were bringing children to the race (considering school days), I would attend the start in Aspen, the start in Boulder, or the finish in Denver. It is important to keep children off of the pavement (and dogs on leashes, or left at home). Children will also enjoy the sponsors' expo areas and event activities (Gunnison, Colorado Springs, Breckenridge, Vail, Boulder).

You can't go wrong, just get out and make your own experience!
©Photo by Karen Rakestraw for Pedal Dancer
What you can expect at the race - options for viewing the race for Fans:
Choose your experience:
  • Start Area: Lots to see as teams and riders prepare for the days race, fun photographs and autographs.Good for families and knowledgeable fans who recognize the riders easily. Fantastic during Individual Time Trials as the riders warm up, weigh & measure bikes then roll down the start ramp.
  • In any town: You can sit and enjoy a meal at a cafe and then go to the side of the road to watch the riders race by. Good for locals or those wanting to avoid the crowds. The peloton and support riders will take just over 3 minutes to pass by, but the waiting is short and fun. (Note that rolling road closures occur 30-45 minutes prior to the peloton arrival).
  • In the countryside: You may picnic or hike before the riders come through on the road, then watch the flash of color roar by.
  • On a mountain: Cycle out to a mountain pass to watch the riders climb, and pass by at a lower pace, or drive your car to set up your table and chairs and big signs. Lots of atmosphere and fun with the fans. Good for cyclists or those willing to drive up very early.
  • Finish Area: Enjoy a meal before or after the finish. Visit the Festival of vendors and sponsors. Watch a very fast exciting sprint finish to the line. Watch the podium presentations (crowded). Limited rider viewing, but fun anticipation and event atmosphere. Also good at the finish of a ITT where you can watch the time board of each arriving rider and their placement.
  • Stay over in a host city if possible, sometimes you will see staff walking around the bustling towns, mechanics working on the bikes,meet other fans, or see the riders stopping in for an early morning coffee. 
Typical timing of a race day stage:
  • 8:00-9:00 - arrive, park, have a meal in a restaurant or coffee shop (arrive 2-3 hrs before the start time), or begin your ride out onto the course.
  • 9:00-12:00 - watching fans, staff, riders at the Start area prepare for the day. Team buses arrive and riders appear 1.5 hours before the start time.
  • 10:30-12:00 - the race begins from the Start village. The roads in the direction of the race will not be passable while the riders are racing on them. Individual Time Trials start about 1pm.
  • 12:00-3:00 - riders hit the climbs for the day. Use your Apps to track the race.
  • 2:00-4:00 - watching fans and waiting for riders at the Finish area. The Lifestyle Festival is typically large and active at the Finish area.
  • 4:00-5:00 - riders race across the Finish line.
  • 4:30-5:00ish - awards ceremony on the podium at the stage near the finish line (within 15-30 minutes of the finish). Bikes are cleaned and packed up near the team buses. Riders might transfer to nearby team hotels in team cars. If the team travels to another city, they will load in the big team buses. 
  • 5:30-7:00 - give back to the host city and take in a meal or shop while the traffic settles. Or hotel it overnight and enjoy breakfast before seeing a stage start (when applicable).

USA Pro Cycling: Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  YouTube 

See and learn more about the Classification Jerseys of the USA Pro Challenge By Pedal Dancer
Buy your commemorative jersey or a tshirt and hat: USA Pro Challenge Shop

Stage 6 Individual Time Trial on Vail Pass - Photos of the Vail time trial roads and my recommendation for a great day to watch the race. This year the Individual Time Trial is on a Friday.

The frontage road in Vail, CO
A short 10-mile climb at altitude

There are no cars allowed on this section - this is FAN territory. Walk or ride your bike.
The side road was the old road over Vail Pass, now used by cyclists
The fun starts here. The side road on Vail Pass begins here - no car passage.

FAN EDUCATION - About the Race

Cycling Topics - learn more about the sport, By Pedal Dancer®
come watch a bike race ©Photo by Laurie Valaer for Pedal Dancer

How to read a Stage Log (time table):

On the first line, the start time is always definite. In the last two columns every street and turn is listed. Because the organizers of the race are not certain how fast the riders will be racing, they give several approximations of times based on average speed of a rider. The first column lists the slowest possible time at 22 mph for this stage, (speeds will vary based on flat or climbing stages). Column 2, 3, and 4 list other faster times according to increasing speeds. As fans it is best to be there by at least the fastest time listed on the log, but not to expect the riders until the slowest time listed in column 1 of the log. This insures that you will not miss seeing the race. Try to arrive much earlier to enjoy the atmosphere and avoid traffic. Pay attention to road closures.

Cycling Terminology for the USA Pro Challenge

Riders: In professional cycling the racers are generally called riders as opposed to racers or cyclists.
Staff: A cycling team is made up of many parts beyond the riders. The Team Manager handles general operations, commitments, and sponsorship. Directeurs Sportif drive the team cars and plan race strategy. Coaches, Therapists, and Team Doctors work together to train and keep the athletes healthy and riding well. Mechanics maintain all team equipment. Soigneurs are the run around guys/gals handling bags and supplies, food and water, clothing, and set-up; while making sure the riders know the way to the sign-in stage, start line, and hotel. They also give bidons and swag to small children. Some Soigneurs also give massage after the race to riders, or the team might have a designated Masseuse. Most of the team staff are a friendly bunch, but their priorities are rider safety and support so always stay outside the rope lines and ask first for autographs or swag.
Roster: A list of each rider on each team, their country, and their bib (dossard) number. Bring a roster with you so you may easily identify riders. Both the rider and their bike will be numbered. Some riders have their last name on their jersey of helmet.
Route map (Parcours): The course or path the riders will take from start to finish. Some stages will have laps where riders will repeat the same few blocks within the stage.
Stage profile: Map the ascents and descents along a stage. It is often fun for fans to see the riders on a climb where the rider's speed slows slightly (or coming around a corner).
Rolling neutral start: Riders begin at a start line but do not begin racing until a few blocks or miles into the route (the distance varies). A neutral start is used if the start area conditions are narrow, crowded, or unsafe for race conditions. A neutral start is also sometimes used as a show of respect. Stages 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7 all have neutral starts this year.
Rolling Closure: Rolling road closures affect all traffic on the race route - roads are not considered "closed" but instead closed  as the riders proceed along the route, enabling the racers to maintain a race speed. Rolling closures are exactly controlled and orchestrated by police, race marshals, local volunteers, and race officials for the safety of both riders and citizens. Roads are closed to all on-coming and entering traffic 20-30 minutes before the race caravan passes a stretch of road. Once the line of riders and official cars have passed each section safely, the road section will be immediately re-opened by officials or volunteers. Rolling closures are temporary moving closures, expect delays of 30-45 minutes.
Road Closure:  Road Closures are completely closed to auto traffic, but often remain open to pedestrian foot traffic and bike traffic up until a set time prior to the race passing through. Road Closure times will be posted by city officials notifying citizens ahead of time, all citizens must obey. Road closures are strictly enforced and necessary for safety, with no exceptions other than official race vehicles allowed passage.
KOM (King of Mountain): First rider to the top of a designated climb on the race route. Riders receive points, the rider with the most points wins the King of the Mountain (KOM) (climber's) jersey. The jersey transfers each day to the rider with the most points overall. There may be more than one KOM point in a stage, Stage 4 has 6 KOMs.
Sprint First rider to a designated sprint line on the race route. Riders receive points, the rider with the most points wins the sprint (green) jersey. The jersey transfers each day to the rider with the most points overall. There may be more than one KOM point in a stage, Stage 2 has 3 SPRINTS.
Leader: There will be a current leader out on course while the race is taking place, but the overall Leader (yellow jersey) is the rider with the lowest (fastest) overall time for all stages. The winner of each day's stage is called the Stage Winner, not the Leader.
Feed zone A designated area on the route where team staff must pass out food bags (musettes) to the riders containing food. Water may be handed to riders through team cars throughout the stage.
Breakaway: 1 to a few riders who are leading the race and ahead of the main peloton
Peloton: The main pack of riders chasing the lead breakaway.
Podium girls: A tradition in professional cycling to have 2 beautiful women present the awards to the riders at the finish of every stage.
Podium: Each day the top three riders finishing the stage are awarded 1st, 2nd, 3rd prizes on the podium. Then the 6 overall Classification jerseys are awarded.
Classification Jerseys: Awards for best type of rider in a field. This year the Tour of California will feature 6 classifications: Leader (fastest overall time, yellow jersey), Most Courageous (by vote, white jersey), Mountain (climber, red polka dot jersey), Sprint (fastest sprinter, green jersey), Best Young rider (under the age of 23, orange jersey), Most Aggressive (most combative/competitive, black jersey). As the stage race progresses the overall classification winner is presented with his jersey after each stage and will wear the jersey at the start of the next day's stage.>
Stage Race: a cycling race consisting of more than one day of racing, where points and time is tallied every day to determine an overall winner at the end of the race. The 2012 Amgen Tour of California will have 8 stages.
Bib Number or Dossard: please read an earlier Pedal Dancer post to understand how riders are numbered: Word of the Day: Dossard

*For more terminology read the Amgen Tour of California Bicycle Racing Terminology: A Primer. For a far more advanced international version read The Inner Ring's glossary of cycling terms Lexicon.

Enjoying the festival of sponsors and vendors is a great family acitvity
More about the USA Pro Challenge Race:

The event is called a stage race (UCI 2.HC). The same group of riders will race day after day for 7 days, from city to city across the state of Colorado, with no rest day. Although the Grand Tours in Europe (Tour de France, Giro d'Italia, Vuelta a Espana) are up to 3-weeks in length, and the Tour of California is an 8-day race extending over 2 weekends, the Colorado tour is a 1-week race from Monday August 19th through Sunday August 25th. Opportunities to be a fan along the route abound and are free (unless you would like to pay for a VIP package experience). The race was very popular with riders last year, who gave overwhelming praise for the organization of the race, and said they looked forward to coming back in 2013.

More information can be found online at and on Twitter at @USAProChallenge."

Roads, road closures, and traffic for the race


This section is intended to help you enjoy the race while understanding that the most important goal of race organizers is to keep the riders and citizens safe. You goal is to allow enough time to be safe to others, not be disappointed, and arrive relaxed and ready to have FUN!  Being out on the road as a fan is a fabulous experience, being in the mountains of Colorado is even better!

Road Closures

Wondering which roads will be closed for the USA Pro Challenge in your town this year?

All Colorado Road Closures for the 2013 USA Pro Challenge Bike Race

Road closures are a key concern, detailed information may be found here regarding roads, direction of traffic halted, and times:  Once you are on the website, please select from the Stage tabs on the page to see the road closures affecting roads near each stage.

CDOT has created an excellent website for fans regarding travel advisories for roads on the race route. For a highlight of important facts you need to know about road closures during the race see the Pedal Dancer Fan Guides by Stage, listed at the top of this page.

Definitions of types of road closures:

Full road closures: No traffic is allowed on the course other than official race vehicles. The routes of the Individual Time Trial on Stage 6 in Vail will have full road closure (closed all of the time). This is to allow for a constant stream of cyclists along the route. Certain mountain top roads might be fully closed to car traffic.

Rolling road closures Most other stages will have rolling full road closures. These will be expertly coordinated by race organizers and police, and should only close the road for 20-30 minutes as the caravan/convoy moves down the road. Non-tour vehicles will be allowed to precede the race and follow the race. Any on-coming traffic headed toward the race will be pulled over by motorcycle police.
Rolling closures are moving, as opposed to Full closures, meaning that all lanes of traffic will be cleared from the road, in both directions. All side traffic attempting to enter the road will be stopped until the race (and all support vehicles) passes through.

Mountain Pass Closures: mountain passes are generally closed for the duration of time it takes one car to complete the entire distance over the pass, and then double that time for complete safety. Some exceptions are made when a pass might be totally closed the night before to allow for maintenance or safety. These will always be publicized ahead of time. 

Photo © by Karen at Pedal Dancer®

Weather in Colorado

Mountains - Cool nights (50s), crisp mornings, bright clear sunburn hot mid-day temperatures (80s), afternoon rain showers, fantastic evenings. Denver (and the Front Range cities) hot and dry (80s-90s), with wind in the afternoon.

Riding in Colorado 

Please see my guide pages at: COLORADO CYCLING or PEDAL DANCER RIDES

When riding a bike in Colorado, safely estimate 14-16mph, as your average ride speed to allow for stops, regrouping, picture taking, weather, finding water (no domestiques) and food (no feed zones for you). Add in our famous altitude as an explanation for slower climbing speeds, and you realize why it is geographically and physiologically improbable to do it all on most stages.There are also long stretches of road in Colorado without water or facilities. Roads along the race route will have rolling closures, sag support vehicles may not be able to accompany their cyclists at every point on the stage unless you are riding the stage well in advance of the pros. Mountain passes will experience full road closures hours before (or rarely, the night before) the race. Riding to and from stages on a bike is highly recommended. Also getting in a good ride before or after seeing a stage could be great fun.

For a list of recommended rides in Colorado by 5280 Magazine, please read: Cycling Routes in Colorado by 5280


2013 Final General Classification Standings:

SUI 2 FRANK, Mathias (BMC RACING) + 1:30
COL 4 ACEVEDO COLLE, Javier Alexis (JAMIS)+ 2:10
AUS 5 MORTON, Lachlan David (GARMIN SHARP)+ 2:34

Tejay van Garderen wins USA Pro Challenge 2013
FINAL Classification Jerseys 2013:

Yellow (overall) - Tejay van Garderen (USA) of BMC Racing Team
Green (sprint) - Peter Sagan (SVK) of Cannondale Pro Cycling
Red (climber) - Matt Cooke (USA) of Jamis-Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home
Blue (young) - Lachlan David Morton (AUS) of Team Garmin-Sharp
Orange (courageous) - Ben King (USA) of RadioShack Leopard Trek

Matt Cooke, Peter Sagan, Tejay van Garderen, Lachland Morton, Ben King.  Photo ©by Ryan Wallace for Pedal Dancer®
Traveling in Colorado

Colorado State Parks Camping (camping available) 
State Parks website Camp Colorado website campground guide for the state of Colorado 
Campground Reviews 
Colorado Camping Guide 
Colorado RV Parks 
Go Camping America website 
The Colorado Vacation Directory (accommodations and camping)

Hotels along the Routes: First read hotel reviews, see images and locations on maps on and then call the hotel directly to make a reservation or ask if they have special online deals. or .

2013 - 2012 - 2011

You are currently on the Pedal Dancer Guide Page: USA PRO CHALLENGE 2014

For an archived version of the 2013 race, go to:
2013 USA Pro Cycling Guide for Fans
For an archived version of the 2012 race, go to: 2012 USA Pro Cycling Guide for Fans
For an archived version of the 2011 race, go to: 2011 USA Pro Cycling Guide for Fans


Posts by Pedal Dancer® - after the race 2013 (interest, travel and fan stories from the race)

RESULTS from the Race - 2013 USA Pro Challenge
STORIES Posts by Pedal Dancer® - from the race 2013 (travel and fan stories from the race)
PEDAL DANCER FAN GUIDES 2013 - USA Pro Challenge Race Day Planning for Fans - city event guides, route maps, road closures, and stage start and finish times. I live in Colorado but have chased Pro races for 13 years on the Continent and in Europe. I am now granted the thrill to be Media at this event but am always in touch with my roots as a fan. I share with you my inside tips on how to see and enjoy a professional cycling race.
Posts by Pedal Dancer® - pre race

Looking back at the 2012 race - race details, route maps, and posts and pictures by Pedal Dancer about the USA Pro Challenge
2012 posts by Pedal Dancer® - at the race
2012 posts by Pedal Dancer® - after the race
2012 posts by Pedal Dancer® - at the race

Looking back at the 2011 race- race details, route maps, and posts and pictures by Pedal Dancer about the USA Pro Challenge

©Photo by Laurie Valaer for Pedal Dancer®