Winter Park bids on 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge |

Winter Park bids on 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge

A large crowd cheers home the final sprint of stage 5 in Steamboat Springs during last month's USA Pro Cycling Challenge. Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi News
Sky-Hi News |

WINTER PARK – Julie Washnock camped on Independence pass on Aug. 23 to watch the pro cyclists race by on their way to Aspen.

“It was so exciting to be part of the first year’s event and to watch the time trial in Vail on Aug. 25.”

When told that Winter Park submitted a bid to be a host city next year Washnock was thrilled.

“Winter Park can show off what it offers to families, runners and mountain bikers.” she said. “We have amazing road biking and such an active community, it would be great to show it to the world.”

Winter Park is the only town in Grand County that submitted a bid to be a host city for the 2012’s USA Pro Cycling Event. Catherine Ross, executive director of the Winter Park Fraser Valley Chamber of Commerce organized the bid process.

“In order to apply, towns need to commit money and resources. The town of Winter Park has committed $50,000” Ross said.

‘Colorado’s Favorite’

The 2012 event is scheduled for Aug. 20-26 and the deadline for bids was Oct. 31. The cities that bid will know by the end of November.

“This is a huge promotional opportunity for the community and resort on an international scale.” Ross said. “Our economic engine is the ski area, and we want to showcase it.”

As part of writing the proposal, Ross and her team looked at what other towns did during this year’s race. They also had to propose three different routes.

One proposed route is a start at Winter Park Resort ending in Denver.

“We wanted to emphasize the closeness to the Front Range,” said Ross, “and send a strong message that we are ‘Colorado’s Favorite’.”

According to the USA Pro Cycling Challenge organizers, potential host cities are judged by a number of criteria such as full city services support, areas of lodging, volunteer recruitment, marketing, and local tourism. In Winter Park, the resort was targeted as the location where 480 rooms in close proximity met the proposed requirement. And, the lodging must be less than a mile from the starting line.

All proposed routes start or end at Winter Park Resort; and all lodging and activities will be hosted there as well.

Challenge support

In return, the USA Pro Cycling Challenge supports in-bound tourism efforts, attracting spectators from all over the world to stay, shop and dine in the host communities. Each host city receives significant exposure in all marketing and promotions of the race, providing the host community the opportunity to showcase and promote their destination to visitors both domestically and abroad.

Dr. Craig Kozak, an endurance athlete and local chiropractic doctor believes that Winter Park is a perfect location for a race stage with the challenging terrain over Berthoud Pass. “I watched the Denver stage race this year,” he said. “The quality road riding in Grand County is a perfect match for this race.”

From a business perspective Kozak said it is great exposure:

“There has been talk about a county-wide economic plan stressing that there is no reason Grand County can’t compete with other towns in the high country. Hosting a stage in the race is a great opportunity to show that.”

“Winter Park Resort is thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in the bid process for the 2012 USA Pro-Cycling Challenge,” said Resort Sales Director Cindy Harder. “The marketing value for our destination is enormous and we support the proposal submitted by the Winter Park-Fraser Valley Chamber of Commerce. We understand the process will involve many of our community members at different levels of investment and volunteer efforts. At this early stage in the bid process the USA Pro-Cycling Committee has not asked for a detailed budget.”

The inaugural race of USA Pro Cycling Challenge brought 120 top cyclists to Colorado. Some 135 riders raced 518 miles across Colorado. It is estimated that a million spectators traveled to Colorado for the race and 25 million watched on television.

An announcement will be made by the end of November to name the host cities for the 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge.

Kristen can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19610

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