The inaugural USA Pro Cycling Challenge concluded Sunday in Denver, Colorado's Civic Center Park. The seven-day, 518-mile long cycling race was the first in history to summit two 12,000 foot passes in one day, and marks the return of competitive cycling to Colorado after the Coors Classic ended in 1988.
American Levi Leipheimer won the USA Pro Cycling Challenge and his third stage race title this year with a seventh-place finish in Sunday's sixth stage.
Daniel Oss, who rides for the Italian Liquigas team, won the 70.9-mile final stage of the 518-mile inaugural event in 2 hours, 27 minutes, 8 seconds.
Leipheimer, a Montana native who lives in Santa Rosa, Calif. and competes for RadioShack, assumed his second race lead with a slim victory in the stage 3 time trial and led the race for five of its seven days.
Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Cervelo) finished second overall, trailing by 11 seconds and Tejay Van Garderen (HTC-Highroad) finished third, 17 seconds behind.
Elia Viviani (Liquigas) of Italy, victorious in stages 4 and 5, was second in the finale.
American Fred Rodriguez, a former three-time national road champion, was third.
Speaking after the race's finish, Governor Hickenlooper proclaimed the event "consistently above anybody's expectations," particularly the large crowds that lined the course.
"I've never seen crowds as big in any race outside the Tour De France as they were in this race, "said Jonathan Vaughters, CEO of Colorado-based Team Garmin-Cervelo to the Denver Post, "Every hilltop, every finish, every start."
It's hard to put into words and to describe the emotion and experience that I've had this week," said Leipheimer in a USA Pro Cycling press release, "Today has been the biggest crowd that I've seen in the U.S. and that is really saying something. This race really raised the bar for American cycling."
PHOTOS of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge's Stage 6 and the after party in Denver: