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Breckenridge to host start & finish of 2013 USA Pro Challenge

Popular bike race also features a Lovelend to Fort Collins stage

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2012 USA Pro Challenge riders on a warmup lap in Breckenridge. Bob Berwyn photo.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — The USA Pro Challenge will be back in Summit County for the third year in a row,with Breckenridge hosting both the finish of Stage 2 (Aug. 20), with riders rolling into town after climbing and descending Independence Pass, and the start of Stage 3 (Aug. 21), as the race heads to Steamboat Springs.

The 2013 edition of the popular race gets under way Aug. 19 in Aspen with a circuit stage and finishes Aug. 25 with another circuit race in Denver. The rest of the stages:

  • Monday, Aug. 19    Stage 1   Aspen/Snowmass Circuit
  • Tuesday, Aug. 20   Stage 2   Aspen/Snowmass – Breckenridge
  • Wednesday, Aug. 21   Stage 3   Breckenridge – Steamboat Springs
  • Thursday, Aug. 22   Stage 4   Steamboat Springs – Beaver Creek
  • Friday, Aug. 23   Stage 5/ITT   Vail Time Trial
  • Saturday, Aug. 24   Stage 6   Loveland – Fort Collins
  • Sunday, Aug. 25   Stage 7   Denver Circuit Continue reading
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Park Service eyes new plan for Colorado National Monument

Bike race controversy sets stage for possible rule changes

Colorado National Monument. Bob Berwyn photo.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Officials at Colorado’s namesake national monument say that, after two years of controversy over holding a stage of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, they will develop a plan for managing visitor activities along Rim Rock Drive in Colorado National Monument.

The plan will outline a transparent process for National Park Service review of special events such as sporting events, bicycle tours, organized picnics and weddings. The plan will also address requests by private businesses to offer services in the monument.

“Colorado National Monument is a world class scenic wonder, so it is no surprise that it is also a highly sought-after venue for special events,” said John Wessels, NPS Intermountain Regional Director. “The Visitor Activity and Commercial Services Plan will bring greater transparency to our decision-making process, and will draw upon the community’s knowledge and connections to the monument to inform our decisions on future activities.” Continue reading

Cycling race gives Colorado economy a $99 million boost

2012 USA Pro Challenge once again draws more than 1 million fans

USA Pro Cycling racers ride a warmup lap on Park Avenue in Breckenridge, Colorado.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Despite the dark shadow cast by Lance Armstrong, cycling remains an extremely popular spectator sport, with this past summer’s edition of the USA Pro Challenge once again drawing more than 1 million viewers, according to race organizers.

Almost incredibly, race organizers this week sent out a press release on the race that didn’t include a single mention of Armstrong, who helped found the race, or the fact that the winners of the first two editions of the race, Levi Leipheimer and Christian Vande Velde are inextricably linked with the Lance Armstrong story.

Instead, the press release focused on the economic benefits of the race, estimating that it generated a $99.6 million economic impact on the state, as visitors flocked to towns along the route, spending money on lodging and in local restaurants.

Fans from outside the state and Coloradans traveling 50 miles or more to take in an event stage contributed $81.5 million on lodging, food, transportation and entertainment. The remaining economic impact comes in the form of team, staff, sponsor and vendor spending, employment created by the event, and the resulting tax effects of the race. Continue reading

USA Pro Challenge: Voigt claims big stage win

Van Garderen back in overall lead

Jens Voigt is all smiles after winning the Aspen to Beaver Creek stage. Photo by Daniel Dunn. Click the pic to visit Dunn’s Facebook page.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Jens Voigt, the King of Pain, put the big hurt on the USA Pro Cycling Challenge Thursday, pulling away from the field in a high country rain storm and easily winning Stage 4, from Aspen to Beaver Creek.

As the riders headed out of Aspen, they almost immediately began the climb back up Cat. 1 Independence Pass (12.095 ft.), a breakaway of about 16 riders formed off the front, which included Voigt and KOM contender Camilo Castiblanco (COL) of EPM-UNE. As they continued up the climb, Voigt pulled away on a solo breakaway, followed by a couple of chase groups that would eventually merge before cresting the top of the summit.

With a solid five-minute lead, Voigt crossed the line at the top of fan-packed Independence Pass first to take maximum points. In an effort to gain some ground in the KOM competition, Castiblanco struck out on his own from the chase to take second place, followed by Lachlan David Morton (AUS) of Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda in third. Continue reading

USA Pro Challenge: Danielson wins stage 4, Vande Velde claims overall lead after tough Cottonwood Pass stage

Stage Four: Aspen to Beaver Creek!

The peloton climbs toward the summit of Cottonwood Pass during stage three of the USA Pro Challenge from Gunnison to Aspen, August 22, 2012 in Chaffee County, Colorado. Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — After a breakaway near Cottonwood Pass, American Tom Danielson held on to his lead in Stage 3 of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, crossing the finish line in Aspen with the peleton closing fast. Full standings here.

Tom Danielson, riding for Garmin-Sharp, launches a solo attack to the summit of Independence Pass en route to winning stage three of the USA Pro Challenge from Gunnison to Aspen, August 22, 2012. Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images.

During his breakaway, Danielson led the pack by up to a minute, a lead that would have given him the yellow jersey — but that honor ultimately went to Christian Vande Velde, who now holds the overall lead.

Italian Damiano Caruso (Liquigas-Cannondale) took second in the stage, with Danish racer Jakob Fuglsang (RadioShack-Nissan-Trek) taking third.

The 130 mile Queen stage started in Gunnison and inlcuded two sprints and three King of the Mountain competitions.

Stage four starts 11.35 a.m. in Aspen with an uphill finish in Beaver Creek.

Stage 3

  • First Place – Tom Danielson (USA) of Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda
  • Second Place – Damiano Caruso (ITA) of Liquigas-Cannondale
  • Third Place – Jakob Fuglsang (DEN) of RadioShack-Nissan-Trek

Jerseys

  • Exergy Leader Jersey – Christian Vande Velde (USA) of Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda
  • Waste Management Sprint Jersey – Damiano Caruso (ITA) of Liquigas-Cannondale
  • Nissan King of the Mountains Jersey – Tom Danielson (USA) of Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda
  • Aquadraat Best Young Rider Jersey – Joseph Lloyd Dombrowski (USA) of Bontrager Livestrong Team
  • Evolve Most Aggressive Rider Jersey – Francisco Jarley Colorado Hernandez (COL) of EPM-UNE

Park Service: No bike race in Colorado National Monument

Grand Junction group seeks to host USA Pro Cycling Challenge stage

The National Park Service won’t allow the USA Pro Cycling Challenge to hold part of a stage in Colorado National Monument.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The USA Pro Cycling Challenge won’t be going through Colorado National Monument in 2013, as the National Park Service once again denied a request by a local organizing committee to use the monument for part of a stage in popular race.

According to a post on the Grand Junction local organizing committee’s Facebook page, the group submitted a third request to use four miles of road in the monument — from the Glade Park turnoff to the east entrance — as part of a Grand Junction-based stage.

Local organizers persisted in their efforts to route at least part of stage through the monument for several reasons — the monument has a legacy of cycling from the Coors Classic days, said John Hopkins, co-chair of the local organizing committee.

“We tried very hard to meet their concerns,” Hopkins said, explaining that latest application focused on a short stretch of road through the monument considered to be a public right-of-way.

Organizers believed the route could be used without harming park resources or the visitor experience, but, in the end, couldn’t convince the park service.

Hopkins said the group will now prepare a bid that showcases some of the other highlights of the Grand Valley area, perhaps included a route that would take cyclists over the Grand Mesa, a spectacular flat-top mountain that towers over the Colorado River Valley.

Some of the area’s famed orchards and vineyards could also serve as a backdrop to a stage that would showcase sprinters in a time trial, he said. Continue reading

Breckenridge: Local USA Pro Cycling Challenge organizers host community info meeting for this year’s race

Forest Service details camping rules for Independence Pass spectators

The highest elevations of Independence Pass will be closed to camping, but the U.S. Forest Service will allow roadside camping in other areas along the road for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The Olympics are winding down,but local sports enthusiasts are gearing up for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, which returns to Breckenridge for the second year with an Aug. 24 stage start that will see riders heading up over Hoosier Pass and down the Front Range of the Rockies to Colorado Springs.

The local organizing committee for the race is hosting an Aug. 15 informational meeting to give detailed information on community impacts, including road closures, parking, transportation and a detailed event schedule. The meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers of the Breckenridge Town Hall, 150 Ski Hill Road. A question and answer session will follow the presentation.

Meanwhile, fans hoping to get a close look at the racers as they traverse Independence Pass won’t be able to camp at the top of the pass like last year. U.S. Forest Service rangers say that last year’s crowd was rough on the fragile tundra in the area, leaving behind piles of human waste. As a result, they closed the area to campers for this year’s race, to the dismay of some fans who said the area was well policed and cleaned up after last year’s race. Continue reading

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