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  • Tour of Colorado

    From Versus:

    Why American Cycling Needs the Tour of Colorado
    Posted by Neil Browne on 8/2/2010 at 12:00AM

    Last week the news "leaked" about a stage race that had been brewing for a while: the Tour of Colorado. Lance Armstrong had some conversations with the Governor of the Centennial state, Bill Ritter, last year with the idea that the state would host a UCI-level stage race.

    "Lance and the governor have had several conversations about their shared desire to bring a staged competitive race back to Colorado," said Ritter's spokesman to The Colorado Independent.

    When the Tour of Missouri was finally put out of its misery (its "will it be back, won't it be back" status with the pleas from social media such as Facebook and Twitter only delaying the obvious), a slot on the cycling calendar opened up. Miraculously filling that vacant month in August 2011 will be the "Title Sponsor Name to be Announced Later" Tour of Colorado.

    So, what was the holdup to re-booting a Tour of Colorado? The template, in a manner of speaking, was already there: the Coors Classic Stage Race. The stage race ran from 1979 to 1988 and, according to Coors Classic race promoter Michael Aisner, "The race became the fourth-largest event in the world behind the (Vuelta a Espana), Giro d'Italia, and Tour de France."

    That's a bold statement but it did attract the creme de la creme of European racers. Sure, they were here for a bit of vacation, but the stages were beautiful, challenging, and shown on national television--a rarity.

    An event like a Tour of "Whatever State" requires support from the local government and money--lots of money. Beth Wrenn-Estes stated to VeloNews that to run an event like this would require between $1 to 2 million. While that may seem like chump change, in these challenging economic times when everyone has been affected by the downturn in the economy, that kind of money isn't as easy to find under the corporate sofa cushions as before.

    Also, Colorado has changed, like most of the U.S., and road closures aren't an easy task in increasingly congested landscapes. Retail strip malls and shopping centers, as well as housing, continually add to the growing urban sprawl.

    However, it looks like someone has stepped up to the sponsor plate and will be funding Colorado's first major stage race since the demise of the Coors Classic. And with Govenor Ritter's cycling BFF Armstrong retiring from Tour de France competition, will that mean he might take part in the event?

    To secure a solid, successful beginning, Armstrong should not put away the cycling shoes for too long. The seven-time Tour de France winner never participated in the Tour of Missouri. Some could say that a marquee rider of Armstrong's value might have helped save the race with his appearance--c'est la vie. Armstrong also failed to race in the last edition of the Tour de Georgia.

    Here's the rub: If Armstrong, who owns a home in the state, decides to race the Tour of Colorado and then really retires from all competition in 2012, what would happen to the race? Will he have created another vacuum that can't be filled? Or will all this conjecture be for nothing as the subpoenas start piling up and he is too busy defending himself to race in 2011? Greg LeMond and Tyler Hamilton have been ordered before the grand jury and if the recent "Nightline" story featuring Floyd Landis is to be believed, there are plenty more people waiting to speak as well.

    We can't possibly foretell what the effect of Armstrong's participation will be in the Tour of Colorado. How much of a cycling messiah is he? Can he resurrect a stage race and leave it strong enough to continue after he is done with cycling forever? Cycling needs to stand on its own two wheels as a sport in the U.S.

    Late Breaking News Flash!

    One thing this new stage race won't be called is the Tour of Colorado. It seems that Sand Creek Sports actually owns that name and is willing to sue over it. In fact Patrick O'Grady at the Mad Dog Media blog points out that the Tour of Colorado has been in existence for three seasons. So with that in mind what could this stage race in Colorado be called?

    1."The Michelob Ultra Beer Run Stage Race"

    2."The Lance Armstrong Conveniently Located in a State Where I Own a House Stage Race "

    3."International Bike Racing Extravaganza Stage Race"

    4."The Invitational BFF's Who Can Keep a Secret Stage Race"

    5."The I've Done Too Many Good Things For People and This Is One Of Them Stage Race"

  • #2
    Re: Tour of Colorado

    So you're gonna be the Bhamhawker of WtW... posting a ton of threads on a sport nobody else cares about, but instead of soccer, you do cycling.