BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – Coloradans who grew up enjoying the Coors Classic were happy to hear some of the top professional cyclists in the world are returning to Colorado in August for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.

Tour de France winner Cadel Evans will be participating along with Andy Schleck and his brother, Frank. But Coloradans are probably most excited about Tom Danielson, the top American finisher in France. He’s the early favorite to win the race, and why not? Colorado is Danielson’s home turf.

Boulder’s own Danielson talked to CBS4’s Vic Lombardi about his bike, racing and his next challenge.

“It’s so light, actually, my team has to put weights inside of it,” Danielson said about the weight of his bike. “We have to race with the lightest bike possible, which is 14.5 pounds, so we have to race with our bikes at that limit, so we have to weigh it down.”

Lombardi, a self-proclaimed cycling layman, asked Danielson why cyclists wear everything so tight.

“Aerodynamics are part of the game; basically your wind-resistance. The tighter things are, the least amount of drag that you have and the faster that you can go,” he said.

Danielson said for climbing, it’s power versus weight.

“The idea is to be as powerful as you are and be as thick as you can be and be as light as you can be,” he said. “I’m about 130 pounds, maybe a little bit more.”

He said the average cyclist is probably a little bit on the lighter side.

tom danielson pkg for all a Boulders Own Tom Danielson Early Favorite In Pro Cycling Challenge

Tom Danielson gives CBS4's Vic Lombardi a cycling lesson (credit: CBS)

Danielson said he tries to ride at least 100 miles a day while training. Lombardi asked him if he’s at a major advantage since he lives and trains in Colorado.

“I think so. At least I’ll go to bed believing that. This is like a home game or home field advantage with the Broncos or whatever. You know, I’m playing on my home field.”

They say the Tour de France takes years of a cyclist’s life.

“I think anytime you do something hard, that’s the sort of the phrase you like to say and it’s one of the hardest experiences you’ll ever have in your life, probably. There’s a pain that you have every day, but there’s also the stress and danger.”

The final stage of the Pro Cycling Challenge will feature a climb of Lookout Mountain. Lombardi said when he makes that climb on a bike he’s happy to make 30 minutes. Danielson did in 16:02 — the fastest ever.

LINK: USA Pro Cycling Challenge


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