Analysis by Joe Lindsey, Bicycling.com blogger and Colorado Resident
Riders will get an early taste of altitude on the 10-mile grind up Monarch Pass, which crests at 11,315 feet. But after that the route down US50 to Gunnison is mostly flat. Turning right up to Crested Butte there is some gentle climbing to town. The finish, rated a Category 3 climb, is neither long nor steep (2.1 miles at an average grade of 3.9 percent), but it starts gently and ramps up from there. It’s steeper than it appears on paper but still not a true summit finish. Peter Sagan is a likely choice for the win if he comes. Time gaps among the favorites will be mere seconds – a bit like the Super Besse finish in this year’s Tour de France. This is the first real crucial moment in terms of the overall.
Note: Stage route, exact start/finish, and sprints/climbs have been approximated from information provided by UsaProcyclingChallenge.com. Actual stage may vary slightly.
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Prologue: Monday, August 22 – Colorado Springs
Stage 1: Tuesday, August 23 – Salida to Crested Butte
Stage 2: Wednesday, August 24 – Gunnison to Aspen
Stage 3: Thursday, August 25 – Vail
Stage 4: Friday, August 26 – Avon to Steamboat Springs
Stage 5: Saturday, August 27 – Steamboat Springs to Breckenridge
Stage 6: Sunday, August 28 – Golden to Denver
MORE USA PRO CYCLING CHALLENGE COVERAGE ON Bicycling.com