Tom Danielson crashes the party on Stage 3. Photo: Jen Judge.
Much has been made about the oversize, fanatical crowds at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. To wit, over one million spectators came out to watch the inaugural race last year, and with an additional stage and an added year of momentum, the numbers are expected to be even bigger in 2012.
It certainly looked that way atop Independence Pass during the third and queen stage of the tour. Though Highway 82 closed to cars at 10:30 a.m., and though overnight camping was prohibited, and though swirling black clouds portended wicked storms for most of the day, the roadsides at this 12,096-foot pass were still parked out and the scene was a carnival of bike culture.