DENVER (AP) – Organizers of the inaugural USA Pro Cycling Challenge said Tuesday that the weeklong bicycle race attracted more than 1 million spectators and brought $83.5 million to Colorado.

Levi Leipheimer won the 518-mile race in August, which included 25 hours of national television coverage and reached an international audience of more than 150 countries and territories.

The economic impact study was conducted by IFM, a global sports research firm, and based on interviews with 2,000 attendees. Among other findings, the firm reported nearly one-quarter of the spectators came from out of state.

More than $67 million was generated from direct spending by traveling spectators on lodging, food, transportation and entertainment, IFM said. The remainder came from team, staff, sponsor and vendor spending, employment created by the event and resulting tax effects of the race.

The race covered more than 500 miles of Colorado terrain, including Aspen, Avon, Breckenridge, Colorado Springs, Denver, Gunnison, Salida and Steamboat Springs.

The study found that the average size of groups watching the race was large, averaging five people, and the average household income of attendees was $113,918. The study found that nearly 85 percent of those visiting from out-of-state said they would return to Colorado because of their experience at the bike race.

The study didn’t look at how much money host cities spent on roads, police and other expenses. Aspen has said it lost nearly $16,000 on its sponsorship.

Bike race spokeswoman Stacie Lange said she couldn’t comment on Aspen’s experience but said all the cities and towns that hosted this year’s race, including Aspen, have asked to be included on next year’s race.

Applications are due by the end of the month and organizers expect to announce the host cities before Thanksgiving.

Next year’s race will be held Aug. 20-26.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


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