Leaked Pro Challenge Route

News & Results

12/12/2011| 0 comments
by Neil Browne

Leaked Pro Challenge Route

Colorado's biggest stage race is stepping it up in 2012.

Colorado's biggest stage race is stepping it up in 2012.

The announcement wasn't supposed to be made public this soon, but the Denver Post spilled the beans and disclosed the route for the 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge. In this year's edition, Boulder had been conspicuously missing. Considering that Boulder is one of the Meccas of American cycling this had to be addressed. And no sooner did the Post announce the details of the race than the Pro Challenge organizer's hand was forced and they confirmed what the Colorado paper had disclosed with an email sent out later that day.

While the start and finish towns have been listed the exact route hasn't been made public - however that doesn't stop us from making a few educated guesses.

When you're planning a stage race in the mountains of Colorado there aren't a lot of options when it comes to how the route details. As mentioned, the exact parcours won't be disclosed yet. But one observation that can be made is the 2012 route looks tougher.

The prologue is gone and instead replaced with a 111 mile stage over the 10,222 foot Lizard Head Pass. The Post states that stage 3 will be the same as the 2011 edition - taking the riders over Cottonwood Pass and Independent Pass.

The Denver Post describes stages 4 and 5 as ones in which the riders will have to drag themselves over some high altitude mountains. One stage that stuck out like a sore thumb to me was the Golden to Boulder stage. Like I mentioned Boulder HAD to be included in 2012 or there might have been looting at that city's Whole Foods. But the newspaper claims that the stage is only 61 miles in length? For a race that is hoping to be considered the best stage race in the country, 61 miles just isn't going to cut it. Joe Lindsey of the Boulder Report points out several options including a jaunt through the famous Morgul-Bismark course - a 13 mile loop route that was part of the Coors Classic in the mid-80s.

Sunday is no longer a promenade into Denver. In order to build racing tension a time trial finishes the seven day race. It's a 15 mile effort and to get the most bang for your tourism buck it has to finish in front of the Capital Building followed by the podium ceremony on the steps or front lawn. And let's throw in an appearance by the state's governor as well.

My first impressions are the 2012 race will be a harder edition. This year's enormously popular USA Pro Cycling Challenge pumped (according to Medalist Sports) 83.5 million dollars into the state's coffers - not bad. The crowds were huge on the mountain tops causing Garmin-Cervelo's Tom Danielson to compare them to Tour de France stages - albeit more compacted. However, like the Amgen Tour of California in those beginning years, a mountain top finish was missing. This year's Amgen did have their first true summit finish - the stage ending in

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