12/09/2011 05:19 pm ET | Updated Dec 09, 2011

USA Pro Cycling Challenge 2012 Course Leaked; Route Starts In Durango, Ends With Time Trial In Denver

If organizing the 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge course were a race, outsiders would say the Denver Post just earned itself a false start. Officials behind the Colorado road race had planned to officially release details of next year's course December 13. Those plans were upended Thursday evening, however, when 'anonymous sources' published proposed routes on the Post's website. Luckily for the Post, this isn't a race -- this is journalism, and jumping the gun is laudable (sometimes).

While the exact course has yet to be hammered out, USA Pro Cycling Officials today acknowledged a skeletal map:
Stage 1, Aug. 20: Durango to Telluride
Stage 2, Aug. 21: Montrose to Mt. Crested Butte
Stage 3, Aug. 22: Gunnison to Aspen
Stage 4, Aug. 23: Aspen to Beaver Creek
Stage 5, Aug. 24: Breckenridge to Colorado Springs
Stage 6, Aug. 25: Golden to Boulder
Stage 7, Aug. 26: Denver (time trial)

The approximately 520-mile route will climb five passes over 10,000 feet, writes the Denver Post. Organizers have done away with the 2011 course's opening prologue in Colorado Springs, opting instead for a likely route over Lizard Head Pass into Telluride. However the 2011 'Queen's Stage' from Gunnison to Aspen over Independence Pass (see video below) will likely remain a fixture.

According to Cycling News, organizers are also seeking to "bring the ... drama home" by placing the time trial in Denver as a last stage. The late time trial leaves potential for racers to recover lost time or build on a lead until the very end.

Further details on the course will likely be released at an official press conference December 13. Race officials will release the exact route sometime in the spring of 2012.