By: Kevin Rouse
Cue the 80's synth music, break out the old steel frame from storage and start growing that mustache—stage racing in Colorado is back. What Kevin Costner and his moustache did for cycling in the 1985 film American Flyers, the Quiznos Pro Challenge hopes to do one better in 2011.
With a major goal of increasing the visibility of American cycling both at home and abroad, the Quiznos Pro Challenge, set for August 22-28, 2011, hopes to resurrect the success of the Red Zinger and Coors Classics of yesteryear and re-establish Colorado as one of the premiere stage racing destinations in the world. Drawing the professional peloton to roads seemingly tailor-made for a grueling stage race, the Quiznos Pro Challenge is perfectly set to take advantage of Colorado's terrain, starting with a prologue in Colorado Springs, and ultimately ending in the heart of Denver.
Garmin-Transitions rider and Colorado resident Tom Danielson, a rider who's not known to shy away from the climbs, is excited to race in his own backyard, and has high hopes for the race both personally and on a broader level.
"It's difficult for us to live in Europe and race against Europeans on their home turf," said Danielson. "I'm super excited for the race, and I'm even more excited to actually show the world, through television, through the media, what Colorado's about."
While 23 cities submitted bids for next year's race, only 11 were selected, leading one to believe that expansion opportunity will abound for the race's second iteration. Team announcements will begin next month, with what is expected to be a mix of both ProTour teams as well as domestic squads.
The 2011 Quiznos Pro Challenge Stages:
August 22 – Stage 1, Prologue time trial, Colorado Springs
August 23 – Stage 2, Salida to Crested Butte, mountain-top finish
August 24 – Stage 3, Gunnison to Aspen, mountain stage
August 25 – Stage 4, Vail, time trail, former Coors Classic stage
August 26 – Stage 5, Avon to Steamboat Springs
August 27 – Stage 6, Steamboat Springs to Breckenridge
August 28 – Stage 7, Golden to Denver