BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. (CBS4)– The bicycle race wrapped up only last month but towns and cities across Colorado are already gearing up to be a part of next year’s USA Pro Challenge.

One place already putting together a plan for 2013 is Breckenridge. Although the bidding process doesn’t begin until October many communities believe the earlier the better.

Committees in each town hoping to be on the final route put up $100,000 to guarantee to race organizers a successful start or finish.

This week the Aspen City Council gave approval to go ahead with another bid. With its proximity to fan favorite Independence Pass, Aspen hosted both a finish and a start in this year’s USA Pro Challenge.

The event allowed two chances for thousands to see one stage of the bicycle race and it also helped sell out available lodging in the area.

The Town of Breckenridge believes the USA Pro Challenge has become a pinnacle event on their planning calendar.

“Both the start and the finish that we’ve had the opportunity to host have been really strong, a positive vibe within the community,” said Breckenridge Town Manager Tim Gagen.

While some businesses located in stops along the route have said they didn’t see an increase on race day, the towns say the race’s greatest benefit is exposure.

“A little bit of bounce in business but that’s not why we started doing it anyway. It was really to promote Breckenridge as a great bicycling community,” said Gagen.

The $100,000 bid pays for hotel rooms, logistics and entertainment. That’s money the organizing committees for each town said is well spent and earned back.

“The money we put up isn’t just about pro-cycling. It’s also about making it an event beyond the race itself so that the community and visitors that are here seeing it enjoy the whole atmosphere,” said Gagen.

The race is seen live by an estimated 15 million people in Europe which Breckenridge hopes will help tourism starting with this year’s ski season.

Stops that have been featured on both USA Pro Challenge races in Colorado include: Denver, Golden, Crested Butte, Aspen, Breckenridge and Colorado Springs.

PHOTO GALLERY: 2012 USA Pro Challenge


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