Saturday race day: the best watch spots and road closure update |

Saturday race day: the best watch spots and road closure update

Caddie Nath
Summit Daily News
Levi Leipheimer makes his way up the course on his way to winning the third stage, a time trial, in the USA Pro Cycling Challenge on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2011, in Vail, Colo. (AP Photo/The Denver Post, Helen H. Richardson) TV OUT MAGS OUT
AP | The Denver Post

Spectators and bike race non-enthusiasts alike are urged to get to wherever they need to be Saturday by 1 p.m., because by early afternoon nearly every major road through the county will experience delays or rolling closures as the remaining teams of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge approach.

Teams are expected to complete the 105-mile leg of the race from Steamboat Springs to Summit County in less than four hours, making the climb over Swan Mountain Road some time after 3 p.m. and reaching the finish line in Breckenridge by approximately 4 p.m.

Road closures will accompany the teams, their spectators and their support vehicles through the afternoon, making the county difficult to navigate by car after lunchtime, though it will be possible to get around by bike.

The Colorado Department of Transportation will start closures locally at 1 p.m. on Highway 9 northbound at Ute Pass Road. Rolling closures and delays will continue causing up to 30 minute waits at northbound Hwy. 9 in Silverthorne and U.S. 6 in Dillon shutting down the Interstate 70 off-ramps at the Silverthorne/Dilon exit from 2-3:30 p.m.

Swan Mountain Road, the most intense climb and steepest descent the teams will encounter in Summit County, will be a prime location for spectators. Local officials will close the road to traffic at 11 a.m. though cyclists and pedestrians will have access and some flexibility of movement up until the race moves through.

The campgrounds will also be accessible until the county implements the “hard closure” at approximately 3 p.m. No parking will be permitted on the paved portion of Swan Mountain Road. The road likely will not reopen until approximately 5 p.m.

Live coverage of the race as well as pre-finish programs will take place at and around the finish line in Breckenridge throughout the day. Highway 9 – essentially the only route into Breck from the north – is set to shut down from the high school into town between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Breckenridge’s Main Street will also be closed to traffic from 5 a.m. – 7 p.m.

The closures will cause interruptions in normal Summit Stage service from 1-6 p.m.

The Dillon Dam Road will be open all day, temporarily, providing access between Frisco and Dillon. The road closes again Sunday for resumption of construction activities.

For spectators the rolling closures, huge crowds and unpredictable pace of the teams will make catching more than one stage of the race tricky.

The choice watch-spots in the county are Swan Mountain road, site of the second King of the Mountain ascent, and the finish in Breckenridge, but the first King of the Mountain climb at Rabbit Ears Pass, the sprint through Kremmling and the start of the race in Steamboat Springs will also be prime and popular locations for spectators. Movement between the key places will be difficult and sometimes impossible.

Spectators who catch the first King of the Mountain at Rabbit Ears pass will not be able to make it to Swan Mountain for the second or to Breckenridge in time to watch the finish. Likewise, it won’t be possible to make it from the sprint in Kremmling to Swan Mountain Road or to the finish.

But, by backtracking through stage 4 to I-70, spectators who watch the start of the race in Steamboat Springs should be able to make it to the last King of the Mountain or to the finish line. Spectators on Swan Mountain Road might be able to make it to Breckenridge for the awards ceremonies. By leaving 45 minutes before the teams take off from Steamboat, fans will be able to make it to one of the King of the Mountain climbs or the sprint.

Teams are expected to cross the finish line by approximately 4 p.m., but all closures and delays are dependent on the teams’ pace. Awards ceremonies and a concert with Big Head Todd and the Monsters will immediately follow the finish in Breckenridge.

Racers will leave Golden for the final surge into Denver at 10:45 a.m. Sunday.

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