CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. (CBS4) – This week’s USA Pro Challenge is taking many of the world’s best cyclists through more than a dozen cities in Colorado. It’s very competitive for those cities to win a race stop.
The 683 mile route started in Durango on Monday and ends Sunday in Denver. Along the way, cyclists will race through several cities including Telluride, Crested Butte, Gunnison, Aspen, Breckenridge, Colorado Springs, Golden and Boulder.
Race officials said there were dozens of communities throughout the state that applied to be a race stop 10 months ago.
They try to blend a mix between new cities to keep the race fresh and also iconic finishes similar to one race stop, the shadows of Mt. Crested Butte.
“It provides a great venue for our local citizens to have a lot of fun for the event but it also allows the tourists to come out and visit Crested Butte,” said Crested Butte local organizing committee member Aaron Huckstep.
For the first time during this year’s USA Pro Challenge, racers revisited a town from last year: Crested Butte.
Huckstep said he submitted a proposal on behalf of Crested Butte in November 2011 to be a host city once again.
“We sure hope it’s becoming a staple for the event and that’s our intention,” said Huckstep. “That’s our hardest job because we have 30 cities competing for 12 positions last year and 30 great communities.”
USA Pro Challenge organizers said while they like to include new cities like Monday’s stage one through Southwestern Colorado ending in Telluride. That region was left out of last year’s race.
Race organizers are also trying to establish some locations as international cycling destinations.
“The greatest thing about this race is we get to showcase different pieces of the state every year to an international TV audience,” said Shawn Hunter, co-chairman and CEO of the race. “So we’ll move it around every year and showcase different pieces.
“What we want at the end of the day is for these communities to have a huge economic impact,” Hunter told CBS4.
Huckstep said there is not a direct correlation between the race and economic vitality but there could be something there, “If you look at the trends in our sales taxes we’ve seen over the last year, very positive signs that things here in Crested Butte are going very well.”
Huckstep said sales tax revenues are up double digits this summer.