More than a hundred professional cyclists are getting ready to pedal out of the Roaring Fork Valley. They’re racing in the fifth year of the USA Pro Challenge. Pro riders will take off from Aspen mid morning for a demanding day back up and over Independence Pass to Breckenridge.
Racers already tackled the pass Wednesday on the way to Aspen. Boulder rider Kiel Reijnen, of the United Healthcare team, won that stage. “And as soon as we were over the top [of Independence Pass] then it was a full gas chase down the descent and we all pitched in,” said Reijnen afterwards. “Fortunately I know the descent really well, so it made it easier to take some of those corners with some risks (sic).”
Brent Bookwalter, of Team BMC, is still in the overall lead. Aspen resident Tejay Van Garderen won the event last year. He’s not racing this year in order to compete in a European tour.