Peloton Aspen to open Pro Challenge
The Aspen Times
The annual kickoff party for the USA Pro Challenge in Aspen will return Friday, Aug. 15.
The fourth annual Colorado bicycle stage race is scheduled to start in 2014 with the Aspen/Snowmass Circuit Race on Monday, Aug. 18.
But first, the Peloton Aspen fundraising kickoff will raise money for the Aspen Hope Center and money to offset the local costs of hosting the USA Pro Challenge.
“The event includes opportunities to wine and dine with pro cyclists, commentators and other influential sports personalities,” according to the announcement from Peloton Aspen sponsor Steven Shane. The event includes a cocktail party, dinner and auction.
“Peloton Aspen has raised more than $120,000 for local charities,” the Shane statement said. “This year’s efforts will focus on supporting crisis intervention and prevention through the Aspen Hope Center.”
Tickets are available through http://www.pelotonaspen.com or aspenshowtix.com.
The event encourages visitors and locals to celebrate the cycling culture in Aspen with some of the pros who will be riding in the USA Pro Challenge.
The opening day’s Aspen/Snowmass Circuit Race will feature the same course as last year with three laps for a total of about 68 miles.
The afternoon start will send the cyclists from downtown Aspen to Owl Creek Road for the climb and then quick descent to Snowmass Village. They head down Brush Creek with a hard left-hand turn up Medicine Bow, near Highway 82. They climb Medicine Bow, Upper Ranch Road and then descend down across Highway 82 at Smith Hill Way.
Then, it’s the grind up to McClain Flats Road and the run back into Aspen for the quickie climb up Cemetery Lane.
As last year, the course will turn down and then back up Power Plant Road for the high-speed dash through Aspen’s West End. They’ll work their way back to Main Street for the rocket relaunch of lap 2 and then lap 3.
Peter Sagan of Cannondale won the Aspen/Snowmass Circuit Race last year after spending two weeks training in the area to adapt to the elevation. The Slovakian superstar went on to win four stages in the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado last August.
This year, Aspen also will host the start of stage 2.
A new addition to the USA Pro Challenge itinerary, the second day of racing will take the cyclists from Aspen down Highway 82 to Basalt, then to Carbondale via the Catherine Store route. Then, it’s on up Highway 133 and over McClure Pass, down McClure and then on to Crested Butte via Kebler Pass, with miles and miles of dirt and gravel surface.
The finish will be at Mount Crested Butte with a nasty, late climb to the ski resort.
For more information on the USA Pro Challenge stages in Aspen and Snowmass Village, including road closure schedules, visit http://www.aspenupcc.com
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This is the 53rd Aspen Ruggerfest, a year delayed after the 2020 tournament was canceled. It’s one of the country’s most prestigious and longest-running tournaments of its kind still left and draws in high-level players from all over the world.