ASPEN, Colo. -

The USA Pro Cycling Challenge is beginning in Aspen.

Over 120 of the world's top cyclists will be competing in a circuit race between Aspen and Snowmass on Monday, closing Colorado Highway 82 between about 1 and 5 p.m.

Following the opening stage, the cyclists will ride 105 miles from Aspen to Crested Butte on Tuesday. The hilly Stage 3 on Wednesday is a 96-mile trek from Gunnison to a steep finish at Monarch Mountain.

Aspen's Tejay van Garderen is the defending champion and favorite in the 16-team race. The field features three riders who finished among the top 12 in this year's Tour de France.