Professional cyclists and Colorado residents Rory Sutherland and Timmy Duggan are set to lead the 2013 Pro Challenge Experience presented by UnitedHealthcare, a mass participation bike ride taking place in Fort Collins on Sunday, Aug. 11.
Fans will have the opportunity to meet and ride alongside Sutherland and Duggan, members of Team Saxo-Tinkoff, just one week shy of their respective participation in the 2013 USA Pro Challenge, which kicks off in Aspen on Aug. 19.
Open to all ages, the Pro Challenge Experience gives recreational cyclists an opportunity to challenge themselves against some of the most difficult and scenic terrain in the world. Beginning in Fort Collins, a host city for the professional race, Pro Challenge Experience participants can choose to ride one of three distances — 30, 52 or 108 miles of mountainous roads.
"The USA Pro Challenge has done a lot for cycling in the United States and the state of Colorado in general," said Sutherland. "This is my adopted region to live and I really love it. This is my way of saying thanks and giving back a bit. The Pro Challenge Experience will help set the stage and prepare me for what’s ahead.”
Sutherland, originally from Australia, won the Americas Tour title in 2012, which is based on the cumulative results of UCI-sanctioned events in North, Central and South America throughout the year. Perhaps he is best known for his incredible win on Flagstaff Mountain during Stage 6 of last year's USA Pro Challenge, during which he broke away from the field to a solo victory.
Duggan, a Boulder native, was on the 2012 Olympic Team and was the 2012 USPRO National Champion. In 2011, he was named the USA Pro Challenge's overall Most Aggressive Rider after helping his teammates to three wins.
"My plan is to ride the USA Pro Challenge again in my home state," Duggan said. “The crowds and enthusiasm are off the charts for the event. It's become one of my favorite events of the season, especially with so many family and friends around. To get involved in a way to promote the event and ride the Pro Challenge Experience is great opportunity to reach out to fans, many of which may be roadside the following week."
“The Pro Challenge Experience was created to foster that personal experience of getting out on the bike and enjoying the ride,” said Rick Schaden, owner of the USA Pro Challenge. “This is an opportunity for fans and recreational cyclists alike to ride with some of the most renowned individuals in the sport. And the best part is that anyone can do it!”
The cost to participate in the Pro Challenge Experience varies by distance and includes an exclusive commemorative shirt. A portion of the proceeds from the ride benefit the Noco Rebuilding Network, a local charity supporting the rebuilding efforts of those affected by natural disasters in Northern Colorado. Spots for the ride are limited and can be reserved at www.prochallengeexperience.com.
Referred to as “America’s Race,” the USA Pro Challenge will take place Aug. 19-25, 2013 and travel through eight host cities from Aspen to Denver. For seven consecutive days, the world’s top athletes race through the majestic Colorado Rockies, reaching higher altitudes than they’ve ever had to endure. After attracting more than one million spectators in 2012, making it one of the largest cycling events in U.S. history and the largest spectator event in the history of the state, the USA Pro Challenge is back for 2013. Featuring a challenging, 600-mile course, the third annual race will spotlight the best of the best in professional cycling and some of America’s most beautiful scenery.