Towns near Vail will bid again for pro cycling race
VAIL, Colorado – The USA Pro Cycling Challenge was a full-fledged hit when it rolled through the Vail Valley last month. That’s no guarantee the races will return, but it won’t be for lack of effort from local residents.
The Vail Valley Foundation last year put together the valley’s bid for a pair of stages – a time trial from Vail Village much of the way up Vail Pass and the start of the stage from Avon to Steamboat Springs. Getting the bid, then pulling off a great event, took a lot of time, effort and money.
“I know I was getting emails at 3 a.m. about it,” said Jamie Gunion, of the Vail Recreation District. Adam Lueck (of the Vail Valley Foundation) put in some crazy hours to make it work.”
Foundation Vice President of Communications John Dakin said a proven record with the event will be an important part of selecting stage stops for next year’s event.
“Other communities will say, ‘We can do a good job,’ but we can say we’ve done a good job,” Dakin said.
Hosting successful events, combined with Vail’s relatively central location in the mountains, would seem to make the valley a logical spot for the tour for years to come. But, Dakin said, there are no guarantees.
“We’ve got the tour saying they want to take the race to different parts of Colorado,” Dakin said. “There were some cities that were major parts of the old Coors Classic that weren’t part of the Pro Cycling Challenge this year.”
Both Front Range and Western Slope cities and towns that hosted the old Coors Classic races, last run in 1988, will surely ask to be part of future events.
Grand Junction used to host a Coors Classic stage that featured the road around the Colorado National Monument. That city will surely want another shot.
So what does the Foundation need to do to present the best bid possible?
“We mostly have to show we’re capable of hosting a great event,” Dakin said.
And there’s always the matter of financial support. To that end, the Vail Commission on Special Events has already reserved about $100,000 for next year’s event, and other communities will surely be asked to help.
But the payoff can be significant. Thousands of people turned out for this year’s events in Vail and Avon.
“(The recreation district) had a booth outside the tennis center for the Vail event,” Gunion said. “It was crazy – it was really great.”
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Editor’s note: The following letter to the community was submitted to the Sky-Hi News by Winter Park Mayor Nick Kutrumbos.