TELLURIDE – The state’s first major professional cycling race in nearly two decades, the Quiznos Pro Challenge, will make its way around Colorado next August, but it will not stop in Telluride.
Town government and tourism officials involved in the effort to lure the new seven-day, seven-stage race announced over the summer by seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong and Gov. Bill Ritter received word earlier this week that Telluride and its partner city Durango will not appear on the inaugural route as both had hoped.
The towns had teamed up to offer two options that would showcase the stunning San Juan Skyway and the Four Corners region during the first stage of the race.
“We were told that they can’t say where the race is going to go, but it would not be Telluride and Durango,” confirmed Mayor Stu Fraser.
Nevertheless, the race organizers from Medalist Sports felt that the town’s presentation was extremely strong and indicated that they would be considering smaller towns in the southwest corner of the state for the 2012 race, Fraser said.
“In reality, I think it put us in a really good position for the next time around,” Fraser said.
“I think their decision was based on logistics,” said Telluride Tourism Board Chief Executive Officer Scott McQuade of the decision.
“We asked if asked if anything was missing from our proposal or if there was anything more that could we could have done,” McQuade explained, “But for the first year it seems they were more focused on ease of operations and the logistics of making the race work.
“I feel good about the proposal that we set forth,” he continued.
“I do think that should the race be successful they will come back to look at these communities as potential stages in the future.”
Fraser felt similarly.
“I really wish it had happened,” he said, but the bottom line is we know more now than we did before,” he said.
“We have a great opportunity to pull it off next year.”