USA Pro Challenge Organizers Remain Committed To Colorado For The Long Term
Despite "whispers in the amply rumor-milled cycling world," organizers of the 3-year-old USA Pro Challenge are "committed to Colorado for the long term," according to Jason Blevins of the DENVER POST. Healthy crowds -- organizers said that there "were more spectators than the previous two years of the race -- and climbing television ratings indicate the race is finding its footing, despite losing money." Still, the privately funded event is "laboring without a title sponsor and loses" $2-3M per year. Race CEO & Chair Shawn Hunter said, "It would certainly be great to have a title sponsor that would accelerate our break-even in profitability, and our investors deserve that, because they've invested tens of millions of dollars to bring stage racing back to Colorado. But we will get there without a title." Hunter said that he is "in negotiations with international companies that have an interest in cycling and other endurance sports." He expects that he "could announce the race's main sponsor in the next 12 months to 15 months" (DENVER POST, 8/26). In Denver, John Henderson notes besides the "local celebration, the race did little nationally." TV ratings "were awful," and fans downtown "overwhelmingly wanted a tightly packed peloton rather than riders flying one by one" (DENVER POST, 8/26). In Colorado Springs, Nathan Van Dyne notes while "crowd estimates and economic impact numbers vary widely, the popularity of the event is undeniable." The atmosphere "all week near the tops of climbs was akin to Friday nights in LoDo" (Colorado Springs GAZETTE, 8/26). Organizing committee co-Chair Eric Thompson said that the "'big topic of conversation' among race organizers and law enforcement officials was general shock over the thousands of fans who staked out spots not just in cities but at locations all along the route" (COLORADOAN, 8/25).