USA Pro Challenge: Aspen ready for fireworks finish Wednesday |

USA Pro Challenge: Aspen ready for fireworks finish Wednesday

Dale Strode
The Aspen Times
Bouilder's Taylor Phinney celebrates his big comeback victory Monday in Stage 1 of the USA Pro Challenge. Phinney won the Steamboat Springs Circuit Race to earn the yellow jersey for Tuesay's Stage 2.
Joel Reichenberger / Steamboat Today |

Aspen is ready for the fireworks.

The USA Pro Challenge fireworks, that is.

Aspen will be the finish for Wednesday’s Stage 3 of the annual Colorado bicycle stage race.

And Independence Pass is the final obstacle on the 107-mile stage that started Wednesday morning at Copper Mountain Resort.

The cyclists in the pro peloton launched the day with a climb of Fremont Pass before heading for sprint line in Leadville.

The racers then will climb Independence Pass from the east side before the spectacular, high-speed descent of the west side of the pass for the finish on Main Street in downtown Aspen.

Streets are closed; traffic barricades are in place to Wednesday’s Stage 3 finish.

The cyclists were scheduled to leave Copper Mountain at 11:15 a.m. Wednesday.

They are expected in downtown Aspen between 2:45 p.m. and 4 p.m., depending on the pace of the peloton and the weather conditions, particularly on Independence Pass.

The cycling carnival accompanying the USA Pro Challenge will be open all day Wednesday at Paepcke Park.

Awards and podium presentations will be held immediately after the conclusion of the third stage in downtown Aspen.

Aspen also will be the site of the start of Stage 4 on Thursday morning. The cyclists will go back up and over Independence Pass to start the stage that will finish eventually in downtown Breckenridge.

The USA Pro Challenge will stage the Breckenridge Time Trial on Friday before the Loveland to Fort Collins road stage on Saturday.

The 2015 race will close with the Golden to Denver final stage Sunday.