USA Pro Challenge winds down in Denver Sunday

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FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- Fans got a front-row seat to the world’s best cyclists in Northern Colorado at the U.S.A. Pro Challenge Saturday.

But as the race makes its way toward the Metro Sunday, It could mean a big headache for drivers.

Several closures will take place downtown, and some will last until 5 a.m. Monday.

It didn’t seem to be much of a problem for drivers up north however, where cyclists tore through stage six of the competition.

It’s a sport of speed that brings out the fans just as fast.

“It’s four communities coming together in Northern Colorado, starting in Loveland and ending in Fort Collins," said U.S.A. Pro Challenge CEO Shawn Hunter. "I think we’ll see some of the biggest crowds we’ve seen in the history of this race.”

Hunter estimates more than 300,000 people at this second-to-last stage.

Crowds gather around the race perimeter to get a glimpse of the action. Last year, fans spent $100 million at the race.

Several tried to cash in on the crowd, selling $10 parking spots in their farm field.

A total of 125 cyclists from 31 countries tackle 115 miles, while their fans endure long a long wait for a payoff that lasts just seconds.

“Oh, like that,” said fan Sarah Spring, as she snapped her fingers.

Spring had a front-row seat to the cycling spectacle.

“I was never going to make it over to France to see the Tour de France. When I found out the race was coming to Loveland I was beyond excited,” she said.

The wait is worth it for some to see cycling at its best.

“You want to see people who excel in the sport, who are the best in the world at what they do. It’s a chance for local people to see elite athletes in the sport that they love,” said Dan Mader of Fort Collins.

His wife said the event also brings awareness to drivers about sharing the road.

“People have been talking about getting clipped by mirrors. He was hit by a hamburger thrown at him by a driver who was impatient. This is a good way to bring awareness to what these guys are doing," Heather Mader said.

Roads will be shared by cyclists and police blockades at Colorado's capitol city Sunday.

The race begins at 12:55 p.m. at Civic Center Park off of Broadway and 14th Ave. It ends at about 3:45 p.m. at the same place.

The city says parking will be a challenge, so it encourages people to use the bus or ride their bikes. There will be three free bike valet stations at: the Wellington Webb Building, the Denver Art Museum and 14th and Bannock.

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