2011 USA Pro Challenge
2011 USA Pro Challenge (Helen H. Richardson, Denver Post file)

The final stage of the USA Pro Challenge will start in Boulder and race through Golden, over Lookout Mountain and finish with three laps around downtown Denver.

The final stage was decided by fans who voted online. Fans had four options, including a downtown circuit race such as the 2013 race in Denver or winding routes from Golden to Denver, Boulder to Golden or Boulder to Denver.

The finish in Denver was certain — organizers have long hailed the city finish, which draws more than 200,000 spectators — but the start city remained open. The final stage borrows from all four options, with circuit-like laps around Denver and includes both Golden and Boulder.

"Cycling fans are so passionate and such an important part of the sport, so we decided to give them a voice in the route selection process," said Shawn Hunter, CEO of the USA Pro Challenge, in a statement released Wednesday. "We wanted to try something new and by incorporating fan feedback we have come up with what is going to be an incredible final day of racing."

The race returns to Boulder after the city's climactic hosting of the penultimate stage in 2012, which saw weary racers climbing the iconic Flagstaff Mountain in a fan-flanked battle that mirrored the Tour de France's famous Alpe d'Huez climb. Boulder did not bid to host the 2013 race and local organizers bid only to host a start for the 2014 race.


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The final stage of the Aug. 18-24 race will include the fan-favorite climb up Lookout Mountain before passing through Golden, which hosted big crowds in the 2012 race.

The race starts Aug. 18 in Aspen with a circuit race. Stage 2 rolls from Aspen, over Independence and Cottonwood passes and through Gunnison before finishing at Mt. Crested Butte. Stage 3 goes from Gunnison to Monarch Mountain ski area, marking the first mountaintop finish for the 4-year-old race. The 10,790-foot finish at the ski area will be the highest pro cycling stage in North America.

Stage 4 will be a circuit race in Colorado Springs. Stage 5 will go from Woodland Park to Breckenridge, which will mark its fourth hosting of the race in 2014. Stage 6 will be a time trial up Vail Pass.

Jason Blevins: 303-954-1374, jblevins@denverpost.com or twitter.com/jasontblevins