WESTERN SLOPE – For cities and towns in Southwest Colorado hoping to be one of the few locations to host the USA Pro Challenge next year, they are out of luck. The popular cycling race, being held in late August, will not be making any stops west of Aspen or Steamboat in 2013.
The Pro Challenge, according to an announcement on Wednesday, Dec. 19, will kick off in Aspen/Snowmass next summer, while cities including Steamboat, Vail and Denver will once again be hosts. Starting in Aspen and finishing in Denver, the 2013 Pro Challenge will not be revisiting stages in Durango, Telluride or Montrose, as it did last year.
The host cities and stages of the 2013 USA Pro Challenge include:
• Stage 1 in Aspen/Snowmass Circuit
• Stage 2 Aspen/Snowmass – Breckenridge
• Stage 3 Breckenridge – Steamboat Springs
• Stage 4 Steamboat Springs – Beaver Creek
• Stage 5/ITT Vail Time Trial
• Stage 6 Loveland – Fort Collins
• Stage 7 Denver Circuit
A number of criteria were taken into consideration when evaluating potential host cities, including full city services support, according to Pro Challenge organizers. The race also considered commitments in the areas of lodging, volunteer recruitment, marketing and local tourism, as well as an ability to host world-class athletes and promote Colorado.
Both the Town of Telluride and the City of Montrose were hosts to the event in 2012 and submitted applications to be hosts once again in 2013. While Telluride will not be a host for the 2013 event, Mayor Stu Fraser said on Wednesday that he still feels another Pro Challenge event will go to Telluride at some point.
“I believe it’s still in our future, just not for 2013, and that’s fine,” Fraser said. “We will try again next year. I feel really strongly that we had a really good stage. We know what needs to be done, I know we can do it less expensively and I know we can make it function better as an event in Telluride.”
Stage 1 this last August was met with mixed reviews in Telluride. Visitor attendance did not meet expectations and some retail business owners expressed concern that, perhaps, the event deterred from their business. Supporters of the event agreed that projected attendance numbers didn’t live up to expectations but the world wide television coverage the event brought to Telluride was immeasurable.
Jenni Sopsic, executive director of the Montrose Association of Commerce and Tourism, said it was the long-term benefits of being a host city that drove the organization to apply again in 2013.
“You are not going to see an immediate spike in sales tax revenues just because you are on a route, but there is a long-term benefit for being on the route,” Sopsic said. “We saw a lot of benefits for the community last year. Organizations came together to create such a wonderful event.”
Sopsic echoed Fraser’s comments in that she said the organization plans to apply to be a host city in future races.
“The race organizers have said they want to showcase as much of Colorado as they can and they are going to some amazing places in 2013,” she said. “We would have liked to have been on the route and we will continue to put in proposals in future years.”
Further details of the start and finish line locations, as well as the specific, detailed route, will be announced in the spring.
For more information on the USA Pro Challenge, visit USAProCyclingChallenge.com or Twitter page @USAProChallenge.