Steamboat bikers seek stage race stop
Local cyclists to submit Steamboat request for 2011 event
Steamboat Springs — Colorado cyclists celebrated a Wednesday announcement that a major professional stage race would return to the state next year. By Thursday, local riders and cycling advocates already were trying to figure out how they could use Colorado’s good news to bring world-class competition to Steamboat Springs.
Race officials with the newly minted Quiznos Pro Challenge said they’d accept and review requests from communities across the state eager to host the seven-stage event before settling on a final course. Steamboat figures to submit a request, then do everything it can to ensure it makes the cut.
“The race is a perfect fit for Steamboat Springs,” said Robin Craigen, president of Routt County Riders and a member of the Bike Town USA task force focused on building Steamboat into a world-class cycling destination. “With all of our experience hosting World Cup events in the winter, we have the experience. We have the infrastructure and, of course, we have the assets.”
It’s unclear what race organizers will be looking for in a host city. The start and finish of the event, scheduled for Aug. 22 to 28, 2011, hasn’t been announced.
If Steamboat is included, it could be done from numerous directions. A stage ride through Rocky Mountain National Park eventually could make its way to Steamboat. The course also could head north from Vail to the Yampa Valley.
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What kind of challenges organizers would design into a Steamboat-area ride also is up in the air, but Craigen was quick to point out the attraction of Rabbit Ears and Gore passes.
“I cannot imagine a more appropriate community than Steamboat Springs,” City Manager Jon Roberts said. “This is something the city certainly will pursue aggressively, and we will lend all-out support to the Bike Town USA group to see if we can land one of the stages.”
The potential for landing a stage could be huge.
“It could have a significant impact along with all the other initiatives we’re focused on accomplishing,” said Grant Fenton, also on the local bicycle task force. “We certainly hope to participate in a number of cycling events while at the same time attempting to build world-class infrastructure in town for cycling.
“It’s safe to say a community committee will really spend some time to analyze all aspects of this race to get a potential stop in Steamboat.”
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