World’s best cyclists rave about USA Pro Challenge, starting Aug. 20 in Colorado

Cadel Evans

UPDATE: Get updates for each stage and final results right here.

The USA Pro Challenge starts today (Aug. 20) in Durango, with Stage 1 finishing 125 miles later in Telluride. Here’s an overview of the stagewhich you can watch starting at 2 p.m. MDT (pre-race show at 1:30 p.m.) on the NBC Sports Network or follow online here.

AUG. 17: On second thought, Andy Schleck will NOT race in the USA Pro Challenge as he continues to recover from a fractured pelvis. Learn more.

AUG. 15: It may only be in its second year, but the USA Pro Challenge has a great reputation among the world’s best riders.

At least that was the consensus of a story in the Denver Post, which quoted the likes of 2011 Tour de France champion Cadel Evans, veteran Jens Voigt and American Christian Vandevelde praising the race.

Of course, everything can’t be perfect. Hear what Vandevelde has to say about one big change in this year’s race, which begins with Stage 1 in Durango on Monday (Aug. 20) and finishes with a time trial on Aug. 26 in Denver. See the entire route.

Levi Leipheimer will defend his title in the race that also will feature the return to racing by Andy Schleck, who has been out since an April injury.  The race also will include six of the top 13 finishers from this year’s Tour de FranceVincenzo Nibali (3rd), Tejay Van Garderen (5th), Evans (7th), Janez Brajkovic (9th), Andreas Kloden (11th) and Chris Horner (13).  Taylor Phinney, who finished fourth in the road race and time trial at the Olympics, also will compete

Top teams participating include BMC, Radio Shack, Garmin and Astana. See all the teams on the race’s official website here to learn what other top riders will compete.

Race organizers, aiming to correct a big gap in last year’s TV coverage when viewers were left in the dark, have created a plan to ensure coverage of the thrilling downhill on Independence Pass into Aspen. Read how.  In addition to being streamed live online, the race will be aired on the NBC Sports Network Monday-Friday, then on NBC Saturday and Sunday. Find listings here.

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