What to watch for: A guide to cycling races and the Pro Challenge’s Steamboat stop | SteamboatToday.com

What to watch for: A guide to cycling races and the Pro Challenge’s Steamboat stop

Teams jockey to get their sprinters into position as the lead elements of the peleton thunder into Steamboat Springs in 2011 near the finish line for the fourth stage of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. This year's is expected to finish at about 4:45 p.m. Wednesday in downtown Steamboat.

Getting around

Daily road closure information during the event will be available by calling 511 or by visiting http://www.cotrip.org.

Share your experience

■ Share a photo or race-day story by emailing share@SteamboatToday.com or clicking here.

■ Tweet with the hashtags #ProChallenge and #SteamboatPC for tweets about the USA Pro Challenge and the Bike Town USA Stages

— If all you know about bike races is that the first one across the finish line wins, don't worry.

Here's a guide to help you know what your friends are talking about and what to look for as you line the race route for Wednesday's third stage of the USA Pro Challenge.

Key words

Peloton: French for "ball" or "platoon," the main group of riders in the race is known as the peloton. They ride together, packed tight, to conserve energy. Riders in the pack can save as much as 40 percent of the energy typically required to ride the 25 or 30 mph at which the group will be traveling. That's huge in a race, and anyone separated from that group won't be nearly as efficient.

Breakaway: A rider or a group of riders who separate from the front of the peloton. The peloton is more efficient, but the riders at its front aren't always going as fast as possible, prompting some riders to break free, hoping they can outrun the big group to the finish line.