Pro cycling race this week features Kremmling sprint
Kremmling, CO Colorado
KREMMLING – Top finishers from July’s Tour de France will be racing through Kremmling on Saturday, Aug. 27.
The first through third finishers, Cadel Evans of Australia and brothers Andy and Frank Schleck of Luxembourg, are among 128 pro riders in the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado, a similar but shorter race than the Tour de France. Included in the fleet is the top U.S. finisher in the Tour de France, Tom Danielson of Boulder, who placed 9th.
Riders will be racing through the mountains during seven days in six different stages, starting in Colorado Springs and ending in Denver. For stage five, riders start in Steamboat Springs and travel through Kremmling on to Breckenridge, where they will end for the day.
The competitor with the best overall cumulative time for the entire week wins the challenge.
The race was a vision of famed cyclist Lance Armstrong, who spent time training in Aspen and worked with then-Gov. Bill Ritter to attract a pro cycling race in the mountains of Colorado, according to USA Pro Cycling Challenge spokesperson Allison McGee Johnson.
Although races such as these have been rare, it is not the first in Colorado nor the states. International professional riders have been treated to races in California, and competed in another race like it in Utah, which wrapped up last week. A race called the Coors Classic was held in Colorado back in the 1970s.
“It’s the very first year bringing this level of professionals back to Colorado,” McGee Johnson said.
The leg from Steamboat to Breckenridge starts at 11:20 a.m. and is set to finish in Breckenridge around 3:30 p.m.
It’s estimated the lead riders followed by the peloton – or the large group in a road bicycle race – will pass through Kremmling at around 1:30 p.m., but McGee Johnson suggests arriving to the scene at 12:30 p.m. to ensure not missing it.
In the town of Kremmling, a sprint line is scheduled, described as “a race within a race,’ McGee Johnson said. Riders are timed in a sprint while still engaged in the stage race, and those with the fastest times achieve bonus points, achieving the coveted “sprinter jersey.” Each day, the leader of the stage race is given the “leader jersey” to wear. The person who ends up the leader jersey the day after the final race wins the overall challenge.
Kremmling “is a great place to watch because instead of it just being a pass-through, there is an actual sprint line, so there is actual action,” McGee Johnson said. And the Stage 5 race, which continues through Heeney and ends in Breckenridge, is anticipated to be the “fastest road-race finish of the seven day tour,” she said.
“I think it’ll be really exciting to see something of this caliber coming through Kremmling,” said Kacey Beres, executive director of the Kremmling Chamber of Commerce.
Beres said she hopes people in an estimated 300 to 600 support vehicles traveling with the racers will be able spend a little time in town, but understands there’s a time schedule to keep, and likely people will be “whizzing through.”
“We’re hoping visitors traveling through can stop and enjoy lunch in the town of Kremmling,” she said.
Because of road closure delays, Beres also worries for hunters’ ability to get to their hunting locations on the first day of archery season.
Kremmling residents can anticipate media helicopters overhead and vehicles based on cameras, since the action will be filmed for national and international programming.
The Stage 5 segment of the race is planned to be captured in the states on Versus television on Saturday, the day of the race. The pre-show begins at 1:30 p.m., then the live coverage at 2 p.m. and a post show at 9 p.m.
Tonya Bina can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19603
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