PHOTO: Chris Carmichael and Shannon Sharpe talked it over. Carmichael is the coach of seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong. Sharpe is a former Denver Broncos tight end and an avid cyclist.
Professional cycling is coming to Colorado Springs.
Organizers of the seven-stage, 600-mile Quiznos Pro Challenge bike race have awarded the race's prologue time trial to Colorado Springs.
About 100 cycling enthusiasts and representatives from communities across the state gathered beneath the golden dome of the state capitol on Thursday to hear the big announcement.
The Colorado Springs stage is set for Monday, Aug. 22, 2011.
"We're going to kick it all of in Colorado Springs," said Chris Carmichael, who headed up the Local Organizing Committee responsible for bringing the race to Colorado Springs.
Carmichael said he hopes to secure the stage route in four to six weeks.
"We're working on it," he said. "With the back drop of the Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak, and then a finish downtown, I think it's something we'll all like and it will show what Colorado Springs has to offer."
Other host cities are Vail, Colorado Springs, Crested Butte, Avon, Gunnison, Breckenridge, Salida, Aspen, Golden, Steamboat Springs, Denver.
Missing from the list is Boulder, arguably the most famous city for cycling in the west. Andrew Shoemaker of the Boulder race committee was too expensive. Medalist Sports, which is organizing the bike race, also asked cities to pay for hotel rooms for the racers and the key personnel. Shoemaker said motel rooms would be hard to find that time of year because classes at the University of Colorado are starting. (More on Boulder here)
Ellen Kramer, Quiznos communcations officer, said that a TV deal is in the works and will be announced in a couple of months. Teams competing in the race will be announced next month.
The prologue adds to a very busy nine days of outdoor events in Colorado Springs. The Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon will run on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 20-21, followed by the Quiznos time trial on Aug. 22. The Assault on the Peak bike ride from Mantou Springs to the summit of Pikes Peak will go on Sunday, Aug. 28.
Carmichael said the LOC is exploring ways to include all the events in a community celebration.
"We're looking at all these things to see if we can tie them together," he said.
The race won't come cheap. The price tag for the stage will likely run $150,000 or more, but Carmichael did not know the specific cost.
"It is a commitment for the community," he said. "We'll all have to support the race and show everyone that Colorado Springs can hold this type of event."
The investment will almost certainly pay dividends, with some expecting the race to infuse $1 million or more in the local economy.
Colorado Governor Bill Ritter, an avid cyclists, said Colorado is a natural location for a big pro stage race.
"This is a great state for cycling,” Ritter said. “We should host a pro tour more than any other state in the United States." He predicted that the Quiznos Pro Challenge will quickly be recognized as the premier stage race in the United States.
Steve Johnson, CEO of USA Cycling, said that racing across Colorado's Rocky Mountains will mean much to the state's citizens.
"With thousands of young Coloradoans exposed to the sport of cycling, I can guarantee you that at some point in the near future we will see a young Coloradoan standing on the podium at an international race who got his start when this event came through his home town."
The 2011 Quiznos Pro Challenge Stages
August 22 – Stage Prologue, Prologue time trial, Colorado Springs
August 23 – Stage 1, Salida to Crested Butte, mountain-top finish
August 24 – Stage 2, Gunnison to Aspen, mountain stage
August 25 – Stage 3, Vail, time trial, former Coors Classic stage
August 26 – Stage 4, Avon to Steamboat Springs
August 27 – Stage 5, Steamboat Springs to Breckenridge
August 28 – Stage 6, Golden to Denver
Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter, 11 city representatives and pro cyclists will gather at the state capitol Thursday to announce the stages, host cities and race format.
The race slated for Aug. 22-28, 2011, was created to revive the legacy of the Colorado-based Coors International Bicycle Classic.
Lance Armstrong was instrumental in bringing about the new race and said last summer that it would be similar to the old Coors Classic with a mix of
mountain, sprint and downtown stages.
Also, word is that several members of the Colorado Springs Organizing Committee will attend, including Chris Carmichael, who headed up Colorado Springs' effort to bring a race here.
It's looking good for a pro cycling time trial in our city, Aug. 22, 2011!
Thanks for the update!! I can't wait to hear what they decide upon!
Who's going to pay for all of this?
Nicole Drummer said:Thanks for the update!! I can't wait to hear what they decide upon!