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Will the 2012 UPCC route roll like this?

December 9, 2011

2011 UPCC stage 6 downtown Golden at noon after last riders passed through (Mary Topping)

[updated 12/9/11]

The host cities and stages of the 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge (UPCC) were announced ahead of schedule, after the Denver Post unveiled nearly all of the cities together with route details shared by anonymous sources.

  • Monday, Aug. 20 Stage 1  Durango – Telluride
  • Tuesday, Aug. 21 Stage 2  Montrose – Crested Butte/Mt. Crested Butte
  • Wednesday, Aug. 22  Stage 3  Gunnison – Aspen
  • Thursday, Aug. 23 Stage 4  Aspen – Beaver Creek/Vail Valley
  • Friday, Aug. 24 Stage 5  Breckenridge – Colorado Springs
  • Saturday, Aug. 25 Stage 6  Golden – Boulder
  • Sunday, Aug. 26 Stage 7/ITT Denver

The UPCC press release indicated the final route will be determined in the spring, while the Boulder Daily Camera claimed it would be publicized more specifically in March.

The Denver Post article provides enough content to once again construct a hypothetical final route.

Stage 1, Durango to Telluride, via Lizard Head Pass.

113 miles, easy climbs with no grades over 4.1% for a sprinter’s finish. MapMyRide route for Stage 1. The 2012 edition eliminates the prologue feature of the inaugural race, a suggestion ProVéloPassion offered when examining the impact of route dynamics on GC standings.

Leopards Watering and Feeding in Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, pre-UPCC 2011 Prologue Recon (Mary Topping)

Stage 2  Montrose – Crested Butte/Mt. Crested Butte, via Blue Mesa Reservoir.

95 miles, easy climbs but short uphill finish to Mt. Crested Butte, which was part of the 2011 route, is likely a GC contender finish. MapMyRide route for Stage 2.

Stage 3  Gunnison – Aspen, via Cottonwood and Independence Passes.

130 miles with Indy Pass near the end will wear out much of the peloton and create a select finish with GC contenders and possibly strong descenderers like the 2011 finish into Aspen. Watch out for storms to again affect the race. MapMyRide route for Stage 3.

Independence Pass ascent view from 1K to top (Mary Topping)

Stage 4 Aspen – Beaver Creek/Vail Valley, via Independence Pass and Minturn.

98 miles, this route leaves Aspen up the steeper side of Independence Pass and winds through historic Leadville (North America’s highest incorporated city at 10,430 ft), along 10th Mountain Division Memorial Highway, and down past the quirky little town of Red Cliff. It continues through Minturn then into Avon (just west of Vail) and finishes uphill. It’s not the Mount Evans finish the UPCC said it was considering. But a 3 – 4 mile climb at about 6% grade from the town of Avon to the base of the Beaver Creek Village ski area should result in a select GC contender finish and small time separations. MapMyRide from Avon to Beaver Creek Village ski area.

Stage 5 Breckenridge – Colorado Springs, via Hoosier Pass.

About 104 miles, this includes three passes along a high elevation route — Hoosier Pass (11,541 ft), Wilkerson Pass (9,507 ft), and Ute Pass (9,165) — that drops into Colorado Springs for a break-away win or sprint finish.

Ward, Colorado. Roadside Art (Mary Topping)

Stage 6 Golden – Boulder, via Peak to Peak Highway.

About 60 miles as described by the Denver Post. Golden to Ward along the Peak to Peak Highway, Highway 72, includes about 5,000 ft elevation gain before dropping down Lefthand Canyon into Boulder. A finish downtown could promise a sprint finale. The shortage of miles in this stage begs further examination. A circuit in Boulder would raise the mileage and provide a feast for sprinters. Tom Danielson, in his comments on stage at the Team Garmin-Cervélo 2012 presentation on November 17th, suggested the Flagstaff climb is under consideration.

Stage 7/ITT Denver

The least amount of route information has been reported for the final stage, quite possibly because multiple options are under consideration or organizers have yet to identify a route. Repeating the 2011 circuit allows race organizers to memorialize another portion of the route in addition to Stage 3 over Cottonwood and Independence Passes; this yields a short eight mile time trial. This stage likely must cover more than eight miles to afford riders the chance to leapfrog in GC and maximize excitement in the final stage. Some scouting around downtown Denver is in order. A pass by the State Capital is nearly certain, and at least a small hill might lurk nearby to make the time trial that much more interesting.

These routes are rough approximations, and not meant to be interpreted as exact street-to-street selections.

  1. Donald permalink

    I am not too happy with a time trial the last stage in Denver. I would hope they can at least find a out and back route. otherwise it will be confusing if they do laps for the spectators.

    • So right. I’m going to credit that lap idea to no sleep. Good reason to update the post. Thanks for pointing that out.

  2. Updates made to Stages 6 & 7.

  3. Julie permalink

    Would love to see some pass-throughs in Golden again! That was a perfect recipe for cycling fans!

    • Hi Julie – that would be terrific. One option I’ve read about suggested a loop over Lookout, then on toward Boulder. Many riders mentioned how amazing Golden was in 2011. I’m sure Golden will top even that in 2012!

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