Race organizers of one of the country's largest professional cycling events on Thursday revealed the complete and highly anticipated route for the USA Pro Challenge bicycle tour.
As expected, the Aug. 24 stage of the seven-day event will begin near The Ranch before cruising along Colo. 392 through downtown Windsor. It will then wind south along Colo. 257 before moving through the southern reaches of Loveland, up the Big Thompson Canyon and around Estes Park. From there, riders will fly down the canyon, mosey through Masonville and along the eastern edge of Horsetooth Reservoir before ending the day in downtown Fort Collins.
"We've set out to create the greatest professional cycling event in the U.S.," Shawn Hunter, CEO of the USA Pro Challenge, said in a statement. "The competition continues to be fierce and the fans continue to come out in droves. In looking at the route we have outlined, each day is a challenge, which will create some amazing racing. This year is looking like it will be the best yet."
In total, Stage Six of the race spans about 115 miles and traverses the plains near Windsor and Loveland before climbing approximately 3,000 vertical feet -- a grueling challenge the tour is known for in mountain towns across the state. Race organizers expect this stage to be one of the most exiting days along the tour because of a high potential for leader changes up and down the road to Estes Park and along the rolling plains. Since the stage will wind through the region on Saturday, organizers are expecting an enormous turnout, and the race will be televised nationally, showcasing the region to an audience expected to be in the millions.
With the route now revealed communities from the high country to the Front Range are expected to roll out plans to accommodate the influx in spectators, shoppers and an almost definite surge in sales tax revenue and business in general.
"Working together as a region... It just kind of puts us in a place where we can continue to be the center of northern Colorado," Kelly Arnold, Windsor's town manager, said previously.
In 2012, more than 1 million spectators lined the 683-mile course, which challenges riders up numerous mountain passes and meanders through small communities across Colorado, according to the events website. For more information on the complete route, sponsors, logistics and exact plans, go to www.usaprocyclingchallenge.com. ___