With the Olympics now over, some of the most famous and accomplished names in cycling are turning their attention from London to Boulder for the sport’s next big event.
On August 25, the city will host the 6th stage of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, a weeklong race across Colorado. After passing through eleven cities, including Durango, Crested Butte, Aspen and Colorado Springs, the race will arrive in Boulder after an 11:10 a.m. start in Golden.
Daniel Oss of Liquigas-Cannondale sprints to the finish to win the final stage of the Pro Cycling Challenge in Denver last year. The race finished in the capital on August 28 after traveling to 11 cities across the state and riding nearly 500 miles. (CU Independent/Andrew Kaczmarek)
The largest crowds, likely thousands strong, are expected to gather around Pearl Street and the campus area to watch the riders, who finish the day on Flagstaff Mountain at approximately 3:45 p.m.
Despite taking place only two days before CU’s fall semester begins, the university has been involved in pre-race preparations, according to Barry Siff, a co-chair of the Boulder Local Organizing Committee. These include offering up its parking facilities in preparation for the influx of cycling fans.
“We knew this was going to take place close to when students would be returning,” Siff said. “So we wanted to make sure CU understood, being such a big part of Boulder. There has been great support.”
According to Julie Hudetz, a member of the USA Pro Boulder team who has been working closely with sponsors, hosting the stage will cost the city over $400,000, but could generate as much as $15 million in revenue.
“It makes sense that the community would step up and embrace this,” Hudetz said. “An event like this is going to attract people, and there’s a cost associated with making that happen. To have this awesome party, you have to pay the bill.”
Hudetz has been a key organizer of the downtown festival that will take place on race day. Pearl Street, from its 15th to 19th St, will be closed down to make way for sponsor booths, jumbotrons, local vendors, food trucks and live music. CU’s athletics departments will be represented, and Ralphie is due to make an appearance.
Working with Hudetz is Brian Bishop, who said that the stage and the festival will bring some much-deserved attention to Boulder. The city has long been considered a cycling mecca and is the hometown of several of the riders, including Olympian Taylor Phinney, who placed fourth in both the London road race and the individual time trial.
“It’s just such an incredible opportunity for Boulder to showcase what the city is all about,” Bishop said. “An active community, a college town that’s going to be on display alongside this first-class, world-renowned event.”
Danny Hiller, a 20-year-old junior communications major and a member of the CU cycling team, has been a part of the volunteer efforts leading up to the stage.
“Representing CU as a part of this is big for our team,” Hiller said. “We’re trying to make CU a part of Boulder’s cycling community, and going out there in support of this race will be a big part of that.”
2011 Tour de France winner Cadel Evans, Olympic bronze medalist Levi Leipheimer and the defending Best Young Rider of the 2012 Tour de France, Tejay van Garderen are just a few of the riders, representing 16 teams, that boast impressive resumes and international experience. The 103 miles they will ride on Saturday consist of sprints and thousands of feet in elevation gain.
The entire Pro Challenge will be televised by the NBC Sports Network throughout the week, and Boulder’s stage will be shown on NBC from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. The broadcast will reach almost 200 countries, and, said Barry Siff, it will be a day for the city to be proud of.
“Hosting the stage and having the finish be so scenic and beautiful…it’s a postcard from us to the rest of the world.”
For a map of stage 6, click here. For general information on the stage, click here.
Contact CU Independent Breaking News Editor Annie Melton at Anne.email@example.com.
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