USA Pro Challenge introduces mountaintop finish on Monarch for Stage 3 |

USA Pro Challenge introduces mountaintop finish on Monarch for Stage 3

At last year’s post-race news conference, Garmin-Sharp rider Tom Danielson of Boulder suggested a mountaintop finish for this year’s race.

Pro Challenge organizers apparently took the advice to heart.

During Stage 3 Wednesday, riders will have to contend with not only a mountaintop finish at Monarch Mountain Ski Area, but also a climb up and over Monarch Pass on their way from Gunnison to Salida.

Spectators on the pass will have two chances to see riders pass the same spot on the course. Stage 3 starts in Gunnison and heads east for 35 miles before tackling the 11,300-foot Monarch Pass. From the top of the pass riders will then descend the eastern slope and do two 9-mile loops in and around Salida before returning to Monarch. Both of the day’s sprints will be in downtown Salida.

The final stretch of the stage includes close to 20 miles of climbing to the finish line at the Monarch Mountain Ski Area (10,800 feet).

Both King of the Mountain climbs will be on Monarch Mountain.

Wednesday’s stage will get underway with an 11:25 a.m. start. TV coverage is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. on NBCSN. The race can also be streamed live online at Organizers anticipate riders will finish the stage at around 3:40 p.m.

Breckenridge will host the Stage 5 finish Friday, Aug. 22, and Vail will host a time trial for the second year in a row Saturday.

The race concludes Sunday, Aug. 24, in Denver.

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