Route Set For First Women’s USA Pro Challenge

Cyclist Mara Abbott
Cyclist Mara Abbott climbs Lookout Mountain.

Organizers of the inaugural Women's USA Pro Challenge announced details of the course Thursday.

“The goal in developing the route for this first Women’s USA Pro Challenge was to create a challenging and diverse course using the incredible terrain that Colorado offers,” Sean Petty, race director for the Women’s USA Pro Challenge, said in a statement.

Mara Abbott, a Boulder native who will be racing on Team Wiggle Honda, added "August can't come soon enough."

"All of the communities have bent over backwards to be able to put on a good show for the first year of this race, and I’m so honored that they are showing how much they care about women’s cycling and giving us this opportunity," Abbot said in the statement.

The women's race, set for Aug. 21-13, will coincide with the last few days of the men's contest that starts Aug. 17.

Here are highlights of the women's route:

Stage 1 – Breckenridge Individual Time Trial –- August 21, 2015

Women’s racing at the USA Pro Challenge kicks off on the same 2015 time trial course that will be shared with the male riders.

The 8.5-mile time trial starts out flat then it’s on to the climb up the steep grades of Moonstone Road for a test of climbing skills. Finally, the race could be won or lost on the technical Boreas Pass descent. The winner will feature a very strong, all-around time trialist and set the stage for the GC battle.

Stage 2 – Loveland to Ft. Collins - August 22, 2015

A gentle roll-out through Loveland will let the women riders settle in before this day of racing turns extremely competitive. Once west of Loveland things tilt up and keep climbing for nearly 20 miles as everyone tests their legs on the climb of Buckhorn Canyon. But if the climbers want to win this day they will need to hold off a charging field as the stage furiously descends Rist Canyon and the 18 miles back into Fort Collins. Can the climbers hold off the sprinters or will Fort Collins be treated to a mass field sprint by some of the fastest women in the U.S.?

Stage 3 – Golden Circuit - August 23, 2015

The women have tested their time trial legs and their climbing legs, now it’s time to test their elbows in some shoulder to shoulder technical circuit racing served up Colorado style in Golden.

This final stage is no mere promenade or flat four corner coronation for the current leader. With hills, technical corners, and plenty of time bonuses up for grabs on this tight 1.5 mile circuit, the overall winner will have to prove their worthiness for one more day. If they survive this circuit they will truly be a worthy winner of the first-ever Women’s USA Pro Challenge and will have proved their skill in all disciplines of the sport.