Cycling

Mountaintop finish for 2014 USA Pro Challenge

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DENVER (AP)

Next year's USA Pro Challenge bicycle race will feature its first mountaintop finish with a stage ending atop Monarch Mountain. With a base elevation of 10,790 feet, it will be the highest stage in North America.

Race officials unveiled host cities Monday and are leaving it to fans to determine the final stage route.

In addition to Monarch Mountain, Woodland Park, known as the ''City Above The Clouds,'' was added as a host city for the Aug. 18-24 race.

The host cities and stages:

-Stage 1: Monday, Aug. 18 - Aspen Circuit Race

-Stage 2: Tuesday, Aug. 19 - Aspen to Mount Crested Butte

-Stage 3: Wednesday, Aug. 20 - Gunnison to Monarch Mountain

-Stage 4: Thursday, Aug. 21 - Colorado Springs Circuit Race

-Stage 5: Friday, Aug. 22 - Woodland Park to Breckenridge

-Stage 6: Saturday, Aug. 23 - Vail Individual Time Trial

-Stage 7: Sunday, Aug. 24 - to be determined.

Online voting at www.prochallenge.com/PickStage7 will determine the finish. The options are: Denver circuit race similar to this year's; Golden to Denver; Boulder to Denver; Boulder to Golden.

Some of the elite cyclists have long lobbied for a mountaintop finish.

''Colorado has some of the most beautiful mountains in the world and the USA Pro Challenge draws some of the best riders in the world, so it makes perfect sense to add in a challenging mountaintop finish,'' said Tom Danielson of Team Garmin-Sharp.

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