For $10,500, you can race in USA Pro Challenge

Cycling fans will have a chance to race like a pro in this summer's USA Pro Cycling Challenge.

A lot of cycling enthusiasts would like the chance to ride with the pros in the 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge.

Now they’ll get their shot, if they pay $10,500.

The select few who can pay the fee will ride the seven-day course with retired professional cyclist and Colorado Springs businessman Chris Carmichael.

Dubbed the “Ultimate Cycling Experience,” the program is a partnership between USA Pro Cycling Challenge Carmichael Training Systems.

Amateur riders will be selected for the opportunity to ride every stage of the 2012 USA Pro Challenge hours ahead of the professionals. The amateur riders will eat, sleep and live like professional cyclists for all seven days of the race, Aug. 20-26.

Carmichael, CTS founder, will lead the selection process and ride with the team during the event.

“With the altitude and the length of the climbs in Colorado, this promises to be the hardest race experience to date,” Carmichael said. “The USA Pro Cycling Challenge has been instrumental in helping us create a truly unique experience for devoted amateur cyclists. It’s an insider’s view of what it’s like to live and work as a professional cyclist.”

In December, race officials announced Colorado Springs as one of 12 host cities in the second year of the seven-day cycling race, which is estimated to have had an $83.5 million economic impact on the state in its first year.

The USA Pro Cycling tour, which is classified as second only to the Tour de France, begins in Durango and ends in Denver. Cyclists will race out of Breckenridge to downtown Colorado Springs in stage five of the seven-day race.

Participants of the Ultimate Cycling Experience will work together as a cohesive unit, borrowing tactics and strategies from the pros, Carmichael said. In a serious point-to-point effort, the riders will have to push themselves to stay ahead of the fast-approaching pro peloton.

“We were so impressed by the number of people that came out to watch the inaugural USA Pro Cycling Challenge that we wanted to create even more experiences for our devoted fans in 2012,” said Shawn Hunter, CEO of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. “The CTS Ultimate Cycling Experience gives amateur cyclists the unique opportunity to see first-hand what the professional riders go through for their love of the sport.”

Included in the $10,500 price tag is access to the VIP tent in each finish city, accommodations, meals, amenities and post-race massages. Interested athletes should go to www.trainright.com/usapcc-2012 to apply for the CTS USA Pro Challenge Race Experience Team. Riders must be at least 18 years old to participate, and applications must be completed by Feb. 29.