DENVER (CBS4) – The USA Pro Challenge wrapped up in Denver Sunday afternoon while the Denver Broncos were taking on the San Francisco 49ers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The two sporting events brought an estimated 250,000 people to downtown Denver and caused major traffic problems.
More than an hour after USA Pro Challenge winner Christian Vande Velde crossed the finish line there were still people celebrating at Civic Center Park. Fans shopped for race memorabilia, enjoyed great music, and sampled plenty of food from different vendors.
Many of the racers said the support from fans was incredible. State officials say the marketing Colorado has received because of the coverage is priceless.
“The racing in Colorado is incredible. Of course it’s always harder with the altitude, but the crowds and the people out here love to be outside, be active, ride bikes,” said Alison Tetrick, a cyclist from California.
Visitors from across the United States and even the world enjoyed the race, which is also a valuable marketing tool for the state’s tourism industry.
“The Pro Cycling Challenge just does a phenomenal job showcasing the state,” Tetrick said. “It really shows some beautiful areas. The fans really have the energy and welcome them with big open arms. I think that these riders will definitely want to come back.”
The race was also a priceless marketing tool for sponsors and industry vendors who set up tents and products at every entry and exit lining Civic Center Park.
The hope is that both the riders and the spectators left with a lasting and positive impression of Colorado.