Fans can help choose the final stage of America’s most difficult professional cycling race. Michael Perini namers as Local Organizing Committee chair.
Woodland Park, CO -- (SBWIRE) -- 12/09/2013 -- After receiving interest from cities throughout the state, race officials have unveiled eight of the host cities that will serve as starts and finishes for the 2014 USA Pro Challenge, Aug. 18-24, 2014.
Woodland Park is one of several new additions to mark a pinnacle year for the professional cycling race, including the first-ever mountaintop finish during Stage 3 on Monarch Mountain. And with stages one through six in the books, organizers are looking to fans to provide feedback on four different options for the final stage.
“The host cities selected for the 2014 USA Pro Challenge will really highlight the majestic beauty of Colorado to our worldwide audience,” said Rick Schaden, owner of the USA Pro Challenge. “These cities are valued partners who help us continue to raise the bar for professional cycling in America.
After overwhelming support in 2013, the race is heading back to Aspen for the overall start of the 2014 edition, where elite professional cyclists from around the world will be put to the ultimate test in America’s most difficult cycling race. The host cities and stages of the 2014 USA Pro Challenge include:
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 (mountaintop finish)
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 – ???
Fans will be able to help shape the race by logging on to http://www.prochallenge.com/PickStage7 and giving their opinion on four options for Stage 7, including:
Denver Circuit Race similar to the final stage of the 2013 race
Start in Golden (2012 Stage 6 start city) and finish in Denver
Start in Boulder (2012 Stage 6 finish city) and finish in Denver
Start in Boulder and end in Golden
“We receive a lot of feedback from fans about the race and in particular the route, so, for the first time ever, we’re having fans weigh in on the final stage,” said Shawn Hunter, CEO of the USA Pro Challenge. “We’re excited to hear from our passionate fans. The 2014 edition is going to be bigger and better than ever.”
As new additions to the race, Monarch Mountain and Woodland Park, offer breathtaking scenery that will add to the overall impact of the race. Stage 5 start city Woodland Park, the “City Above the Clouds,” is renowned for its natural beauty and proximity to great outdoor adventures. Home to one of the sprint competitions during Stage 5 of the 2012 USA Pro Challenge, the city sits at an elevation of 8,465 ft. and is surrounded by national forest.
“We are thrilled that the USA Pro Challenge is coming back to Woodland Park in 2014 and that we have been selected as a host city venue," said Woodland Park Mayor, David Turley. "I know how excited our community was in 2012 when we were selected as a sprint location.”
“Being a host venue really is very special and we will be ready to showcase all who join us. It really is a strong indication of our passion for cycling, our beautiful location tucked next to Pikes Peak as well as the collaborative efforts and leadership we showed the cycling world last time around."
Michael Perini, owner of Perini & Associates, will return as the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) chairman. Perini was co-chair during the 2012 event. “We are a perfect community to host a start. I am glad to be back leading the committee that will make that happen,” Perini said.
Stage 3 will include the race’s first-ever mountaintop finish, presenting the riders with a brand new challenge. One of Colorado’s oldest ski areas, Monarch Mountain’s base elevation of 10,790 makes it the highest in North America.
“I have been lobbying for the USA Pro Challenge to add a mountaintop finish to the race ever since the first edition, so I was thrilled to hear Stage 3 of the 2014 race will finish on Monarch Mountain,” said Tom Danielson of Team Garmin-Sharp. “Colorado has some of the most beautiful mountains in the world and the USA Pro Challenge draws some of the best riders in the world, so it makes perfect sense to add in a challenging mountaintop finish. I have ridden Monarch many times, so I’ll be ready when the race rolls around in August.”
Known for lung-searing altitudes and intense climbs through the Colorado Rockies, the race is the largest spectator event in the history of the state. The 2013 USA Pro Challenge saw part-time Aspen resident Tejay van Garderen of BMC Racing Team take the overall win this past August in Denver, after assuming the overall lead in Beaver Creek at the end of Stage 4.
"The USA Pro Challenge is something that motivates me from the start of the year,” said van Garderen. “It takes place in one of the most beautiful places on Earth, and that happens to be in my backyard. I'm looking forward to defending my title on another challenging course."
Additional details regarding the start and finish locations of the 2014 race, as well as the specific, detailed route will be announced in the spring.
About the USA Pro Challenge
Referred to as “America’s Race,” the USA Pro Challenge will take place August 18-24, 2014. For seven consecutive days, the world’s top athletes race through the majestic Colorado Rockies, reaching higher altitudes than they’ve ever had to endure. One of the largest cycling events in U.S. history and the largest spectator event in the history of the state, the USA Pro Challenge is back for 2014. Featuring a challenging course, the fourth annual race will spotlight the best of the best in professional cycling and some of America’s most beautiful scenery.
About Rick Schaden
The owner and founder of USA Pro Challenge, Rick Schaden, is deeply involved in Denver’s restaurant scene as well as in the development of several major U.S. restaurant chains. Rick Schaden has invested in Denver gastropub Tom’s Urban 24, as well as the new fresh pizza restaurant chain Live Basil Pizza and the popular and rapidly expanding custom burger franchise Smashburger. A dedicated philanthropist, Schaden received the 2008 Stewart B. McKinney Award for his advocacy on behalf of homeless families and individuals. He currently supports Millennium Promise, a nonprofit that works to eliminate poverty, hunger and preventable diseases in underserved communities around the world, and the Denver-based nonprofit America’s Road Home, whose mission is to bring an end to family homelessness both locally and nationally.
More information can be found online at http://www.USAProChallenge.com and on Twitter at @USAProChallenge.
The City of Woodland Park Stage 5 Start official website page can be found at: http://www.city-woodlandpark.org/home/stage-5-start/
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