Final mountain stage of Quiznos Pro Challenge to finish on Main Street, Breckenridge; local organizers gearing up for all-out volunteer effort
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — The Quiznos Pro Challenge cycling race got a big financial boost last week, as co-chairman Rick Schaden announced the investment of an initial $10 million to support the growth of Colorado’s international pro-cycling competition.
The seven-day, 600 mile race (Aug. 22 – 28) features a Tour de France-level field of cyclists that will sprint to a finish on Main Street in Breckenridge in the final mountain stage of a race that will be the biggest cycling event in the state since the glory days of the Coors Classic.
“This investment further demonstrates our commitment to the future of the Quiznos Pro Challenge,” said Schaden. “Showing financial stability demonstrates the event’s ability for longevity in the international sports arena for many years to come.”
Schaden is the founder and chairman of Consumer Capital Partners, a private investment, concept/brand development, and strategic advisory firm headquartered in Denver. He is also the founder and majority shareholder of Quiznos and other recognized consumer businesses. He is credited for taking the vision of professional cycling legend Lance Armstrong and former Governor Bill Ritter and creating a world-class professional cycling event here in the USA on the level of the Tour de France.
“What started out as a wacky idea is now reality … this is an amazing opportunity, not just for a professional event, but to tell the story of health and fitness and wellness and cycling,” cycling legend Lance Armstrong said last summer as he announced the formation of the pro stage race that will include a prologue in Colorado Springs and then move to the mountains before finishing with a Golden-to Denver leg. Here are stages:
Monday, August 22nd: Prologue – Colorado Springs
Tuesday, August 23rd: Stage 1 – Salida to Crested Butte
Wednesday, August 24th: Stage 2 – Gunnison to Aspen
Thursday, August 25th: Stage 3 (Individual Time Trial)
Friday, August 26th: Stage 4 – Avon to Steamboat Springs
Saturday, August 27th: Stage 5 – Steamboat Springs to Breckenridge
Sunday, August 28th: Stage 6 – Golden to Denver
Armstrong is credited with the initial idea to bring a major stage race back to Colorado. Organizers are hoping the race will become one of the most significant international pro-cycling events worldwide, reinvigorating the legacy of the Colorado-based Coors International Bicycle Classic which took place from 1979 until 1988. The official race routes for the 2011 event are in the process of being charted and will be announced in the near future.
Several top pro teams have already committed sending riders to the race, including Team RadioShack.
“I’m glad to see we have the new race in Colorado,” said Team RadioShack manager Johan Bruyneel. “As the race has a privately funded title sponsor, I am convinced it will continue for years to come. U.S. and world cycling need such initiatives,” said Bruyneel. “It is Team RadioShack’s job to show our support, appreciation and enthusiasm for these companies and those who are working to bring an international race to Colorado. It is an honor for us to start in this race, but we are more ambitious. We will be there with a strong team and aim to win.”
“It’s incredibly exciting that we’ve been awarded the Saturday stage,” said Mike Schilling, co-chair of the local organizing committee, which has already signed up several hundred volunteers to help with the event. Schilling said the race will be a chance to spotlight Breckenridge and the rest of Summit County in the national and international media. “It’s really a community event, with the town’s blessing and backing,” he added.
The Main Street finish in Breckenridge will also help showcase the town’s bike-friendliness, said Breckenridge Resort Chamber spokesperson Rachel Zerowin, adding that anyone interested in volunteering can get more information and sign up at the Quiznos Pro Challenge website. There’s also more local information on the race at this Facebook page.
You can also follow the Quiznos Pro Challenge on Twitter.
Other teams signed to the race include Liquigas-Cannondale (Italy), HTC-Highroad (USA), Slipstream Sports/Garmin-Cervelo (USA), and BMC Racing Team (USA). In total, the Quiznos Pro Challenge will host as many as 128 professional cyclists from 16 teams for the 2011 competition.
The five confirmed teams comprise some of the top cyclists in the world, including seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, world champion Thor Hushovd and former world champion Cadel Evans, as well as legendary team directors Johan Bruyneel and Bob Stapleton. The riders from these teams who will participate in the Quiznos Pro Challenge will be defined once the team rosters are finalized for the 2011 season.
More team info:
Team RadioShack (USA)
Team RadioShack is led by Sports Team Manager Johan Bruyneel, the most winning sports director in history with nine Tour de France victories, including seven with pro-cycling legend Lance Armstrong. The 2010 team was comprised of riders hailing from 16 countries, including Grand Tour leaders, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Andres Kloden, Jani Brajkovic (Slovenia) and Tiago Machado (Portugal).
Liquigas-Cannondale is an Italian professional cycling team ranked second in the UCI ProTour for the third consecutive year. Sport team manager Roberto Amadio has many returning stars including Vincenzo Nibali, who took the overall victory at the 2010 Vuelta a Espana, and Ivan Basso, who earned his second career Giro d’Italia win in May.
Led by Bob Stapleton, the HTC-Highroad team has the most victories in professional cycling with 389 wins since 2008, nine national titles and six world champions on its 2011 roster. HTC-Highroad is comprised of top young talent with 19 riders under the age of 26 making it one of the youngest teams in professional cycling. The team represents national champions of Germany, USA, Sweden, Czech Republic, Ireland, Italy and Slovakia.
BMC Racing Team (USA)
BMC Racing Team finished as one of the top 10 teams in the UCI world rankings, helping them earn ProTeam status for 2011. Competing in its fifth season overall, the team is managed by Directeur Sportif John Lelangue and includes former world road race champions Cadel Evans (Australia) and Alessandro Ballan (Italy), and U.S. national road champion George Hincapie. In addition to many 2010 wins, BMC Racing Team led both the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia in its first participation in both events. As a recent addition, Colorado native and multiple world and U.S. national champion Taylor Phinney will join the team’s roster in 2011.
Slipstream Sports/Team Garmin-Cervelo (USA)
Headquartered in Boulder, Colo., Slipstream Sports and Team Garmin-Cervelo are managed by CEO and Director Sportif Jonathan Vaughters, a Denver resident who had a 10-year career as a professional cyclist. The 2011 team – a powerhouse in the peloton – includes Ryder Hesjedal, who earned seventh place overall at the 2010 Tour de France; sprint sensation Tyler Farrar; world champion Thor Hushovd and Christian Vande Velde.
Filed under: Breckenridge, Colorado Tagged: | bicycle racing, BMC Racing Team, Breckenridge news, Coors Classic, Lance Armstrong, Liquigas-Cannondale, Quiznos Pro Challenge, Summit County News, Team RadioShack