GOLDEN, Colo. (CBS4) – Lance Armstrong won’t be riding in the bicycle race he helped bring to Colorado, but organizers say the Quiznos Pro Challenge will be just as exciting without him.
The 39-year-old cycling legend announced his retirement Wednesday morning, almost a month after finishing 65th in his last competitive race in Australia. His career has been amazing, including an unprecedented seven straight Tour de France titles.
Last August Armstrong was in Colorado to announce the return of professional cycling to the state after more than two decades. The Quiznos Pro Challenge will visit 11 cities this August — all hoping that tourism and business will follow.
Cyclists in Colorado, in particular in Golden, are very excited about the upcoming event. Event coordinators say it was never clear if Armstrong would compete in the Colorado event, but they are confident he will still serve as an ambassador.
The Quiznos Pro Challenge is dubbed “America’s Race.” It’s 7 days, some 600 miles and will be the host to the best pro-riders on Rocky Mountain terrain.
Shawn Hunter is co-chair for the race. He says the news of Armstrong’s retirement doesn’t concern event coordinators.
“I was part of launching the tour of California 5 years ago when he was retired the first time. We had 1.3 million spectators our first year, so we anticipate there are going to be large numbers gathered at the start and finish cities on the route and it could be the biggest spectator event in Colorado history,” Hunter said.
It’s Armstrong’s second try at retirement, appropriately dubbed “2.0.” On twitter, thanked fans for the support.
Armstrong’s representatives told CBS4 his retirement is effective immediately. He will not race the Quiznos Pro Challenge, but will be present at events to support his own racing team, RadioShack.
“Seeing him retire is going to be sad,” said Ben Teschner, a cyclist and on the Golden committee promoting the Pro Challenge. “Golden is ramping up to have lots of events, education and outreach. The whole town is really coming out for this event — a trademark for Golden.”
Hunter said a large event like the Pro Challenge is built around the sport, not one person. In this case Colorado’s terrain is emerging as one of the big stars in the race.
The Quizno’s Pro Challenge is just a few weeks after the end of the Tour de Drance. Organizers expect many of the same cyclists from the Tour will come for the race in Colorado.