Challenge race to pedal without Springs

       After being part of the USA Pro Challenge its first two years, Colorado Springs will only be a spectator for the major international cycling race in 2013.

Part of the peloton surges down West Colorado Avenue east of Limit Street during last August's Stage 5 event in Colorado Springs.
Westside Pioneer photo

       The seven-stage event will be Aug. 19-25, taking in the cities of Aspen, Breckenridge, Steamboat Springs, Beaver Creek, Vail, Loveland, Fort Collins and Denver.
       In 2011 and 2012, the Colorado Springs route used Westside streets, including some in the Garden of the Gods and West Colorado Avenue, leading to a downtown finish.
       Pleased by the international TV coverage, attendance by thousands of people and the belief that the race gives the city an economic boost, local officials had sought to host a stage again this year.
       “Although we are very disappointed, we appreciate the opportunity to have had the Pro-Cycling Challenge here in Colorado Springs and hope they will be back in the future,” Mayor Steve Bach said in a prepared statement.
       Chris Carmichael, co-chair of the local organizing committee of USA Pro Cycling in Colorado Springs, pointed out that “it's a tradition of stage racing to have route changes yearly.” He noted a similarity between the Challenge and the Tour de France: The only part of either route that's the same each year is the finish city (Denver and Paris).
       In fact, including 2013, records show that Aspen will be the only city besides Denver to host stages in the Pro Challenge tour all three years. Others with two years will be Steamboat, Golden, Breckenridge and Beaver Creek.
       “Every year is a bid process,” Carmichael said. “We're fortunate to have gotten it the first two years. We look forward to recruiting the race back in the future.”
       If the Springs had been chosen again, the only certain aspect would have been a repeat of the finishing circuits in the downtown, which were popular with racers and spectators, he said. It was not known if Colorado Avenue would have been used again because bidding cities don't know the direction of riders coming in or departing. The avenue was geographically right last year because of riders wheeling down Ute Pass from Breckenridge and in 2011 for the Prologue Time Trial starting in the Garden.

Westside Pioneer article