USA Pro Challenge Stage 6 Route Announced: Loveland to Fort Collins

Stage 6 of 2015 USA Pro Challenge will take Riders from Loveland to Fort Collins

Fans Helped Shape Stage 6 of Colorado Professional Cycling Race

Denver (Dec. 22, 2014) – With the majority of the host cities announced for the 2015 USA Pro Challenge, organizers looked to fans to help determine the start and finish locations for Stage 6. Thousands of fans submitted their opinions, providing more than 20 start and finish city options. In the end, nearly half the responses encouraged a return to Northern Colorado resulting in a Stage 6 start in Loveland and a finish in Fort Collins.

“Loveland and Fort Collins have been such great host cities in the past and we’re looking forward to visiting them again,” said Shawn Hunter, CEO of the USA Pro Challenge. “Last year, we gave fans the chance to weigh in on the final stage of the race and we got a huge response with people voicing their support for the two different options. This year, the fans once again showed their passion for the sport through an overwhelming number of responses regarding where Stage 6 should take place.”

After the initial host cities announcement just over two weeks ago, during which six of the seven stages for the 2015 race were revealed, fans were given the opportunity to provide suggestions for Stage 6 through Facebook and the race website.

USA Pro Challenge fan Michael DePalma wanted a return to Northern Colorado stating it, “offers some of the most spectacular cycling opportunities in the state.” And many spoke to returning to areas that were greatly damaged by the 2013 floods. Gary Crews said the Pro Challenge will, “help us further recover from the flooding and put a smile on the face of riders and residents alike.”

With the fans’ opinions taken into account, the Stage 6 host cities have been determined. And while the host cities are familiar to the race, after visiting them in 2013, the route through Larimer County promises to be new and unique in 2015.

“It has been incredible to witness the outpouring of support from the Northern Colorado community who has rallied together to bring back the USA Pro Challenge in 2015,” said Local Organizing Member Eric Thompson. “We are honored to have been selected for Stage 6 next summer and look forward to sharing the excitement with the cycling fans that made it happen.”

Taking place Aug. 17-23, the host cities and stages of the 2015 USA Pro Challenge include:

  • Stage 1: Monday, Aug. 17 – Steamboat Springs Circuit Race
  • Stage 2: Tuesday, Aug. 18 – Steamboat Springs to Arapahoe Basin
  • Stage 3: Wednesday, Aug. 19 – Copper Mountain Resort to Aspen
  • Stage 4: Thursday, Aug. 20 – Aspen to Breckenridge
  • Stage 5: Friday, Aug. 21 – Breckenridge Individual Time Trial
  • Stage 6: Saturday, Aug. 22 – Loveland to Fort Collins
  • Stage 7: Sunday, Aug. 23 – Golden to Denver

Additional details regarding the start and finish locations of the 2015 race, as well as the specific, detailed route will be announced in the spring.

About the USA Pro Challenge

Referred to as “America’s Race,” the USA Pro Challenge will take place August 17-23, 2015. For seven consecutive days, the world’s top athletes race through the majestic Colorado Rockies, reaching higher altitudes than they’ve ever had to endure. One of the largest cycling events in U.S. history and the largest spectator event in the history of the state, the USA Pro Challenge is back for 2015.

More information can be found online at www.USAProChallenge.com and on Twitter at @USAProChallenge.


USA Pro Challenge Professional Cycling Race Brings an Estimated $130 Million to Colorado!

USA Pro Challenge Professional Cycling Race Brings an Estimated

$130 Million in Economic Impact to the State of Colorado, 12 Percent Increase Over 2013

Largest Spectator Event in Colorado Leaves Lasting Impact on the StateIMG_8572

The 2014 USA Pro Challenge saw 128 of the best professional cyclists in the world compete in the toughest professional cycling race in the U.S.   over the course of seven days, Aug. 18-24. Fans came out in droves to watch the action-packed, heart-pounding racing through the Colorado Rockies. After traveling to 10 host cities for the official stage starts and finishes, and passing through many other notable towns along the way, the estimated economic impact of the race to the State of Colorado is $130 million, according to a study done by Sponsorship Science, a global sports research firm.

The Pro Challenge delivered another strong economic performance in its fourth running, with direct spending by traveling spectators contributing a significant portion of the economic impact. Both those fans from outside the state and Coloradans traveling 50 miles or more to take in an event stage contributed $130 million on lodging, food, transportation and entertainment, an increase of 12 percent year over year. This change was largely driven by a 10 percent increase in the average number of nights stayed and an 11 percent increase in per night average party spend, the result of a 15 percent increase in average per night lodging cost.

“Seeing the enthusiasm and passion from the fans lining the streets during the 2014 USA Pro Challenge really gave a sense of the growing support for the sport of cycling in the U.S.,” said Rick Schaden, owner of the race. “This race showcases Colorado to the world and creates an incredible economic impact locally that can be felt throughout the year. Further, it was great to see an increase in television viewership.”IMG_8230

Following an epic week of racing through picturesque Colorado scenery, America’s most challenging race came to a conclusion in Downtown Denver when Aspen resident Tejay van Garderen (USA) of BMC Racing Team maintained his lead and took the overall win for the second year in a row. The race received unprecedented coverage totaling 30 hours on NBC, NBCSports and Universal Sports in the U.S. Additionally, through 40 hours of international coverage, the race was seen in more than 175 countries and territories around the world.

A draw for Colorado travel, 56 percent of spectators claimed they would not have traveled to the state at this time if it were not for the race. And with that, 70.9 percent stated they are likely to return to watch the race next year.

Additional interesting analysis points include:

· Spectators traveled in groups, with the average party consisting of three people

· The average hotel stay for spectators increased in 2014 to 5.3 nights

· 53 percent of race attendees live in households with income exceeding $85,000 and within that group 32 percent had household incomes in excess of $120,000

· Spectators enjoyed their race experience, with more than 80 percent saying they were very satisfied or satisfied with the race

· More than half of spectators in attendance reported they ride a bike for fitness, with 47 percent saying they engage in road cycling a lot

· This was an audience that appreciates the world-class level of competition at the USA Pro Challenge and watches major cycling events on television, with 83.8 percent stating they watch the Tour de France

About the research studyIMG_8276

The USA Pro Challenge commissioned Sponsorship Science LLC, a global sports marketing & research consultancy firm with more than 50 years of executive experience working with events around the world, to continue conducting quantitative research measuring the change in overall economic impact of the Pro Challenge over time.

“While we conduct these types of studies for sports and entertainment clients around the world, across many platforms and geographies, cycling has always been a core sport, and one where we have a wealth of experience, ” said David Porthouse, SVP of Sponsorship Science, LLC. “Our history with the event and trust in the Pro Challenge management team, as well as the promoter Medalist Sports, has allowed us to develop the data and models used to accurately and fairly evaluate the growth of the race over time and its impact on the state of Colorado.”

Sponsorship Science, LLC designed the study from the outset to deliver consistent, defensible results which address many of the contentious issues surrounding economic impact reporting. Kevin Schott, director of Sponsorship Science notes the multi-year relationship with academia via Dr. Brett Boyle, professor within the sports business program at St. Louis University, has paid enormous dividends in terms of scientific rigor and credibility throughout the duration of this long-term relationship, serving as the foundation for the future. Key areas addressed included:

· Substitution effects – Since local fans will often spend similar amounts on local sports and other entertainment, Sponsorship Science, LLC did not include the local fan spend in the economic impact report, as a net impact, although local participation was thoroughly tracked, and forms a significant part of the appeal

· Time shifting – Colorado is an attractive destination for travel, so Sponsorship Science, LLC deliberately filtered respondents to ensure they were not capturing data from spectators already in Colorado, independent of the Pro Challenge, and also used elimination questions to remove those fans who intended to come to Colorado in the near future independent of the race. Despite these rigorous procedures, the number of dedicated fans travelling to the Pro Challenge has followed a long-term growth trend

· Sample sizes – Large samples were taken at all stages, distributed across the race locations, in order to create samples and sub-samples (by age, income, distance travelled, etc.) that are all statistically significant

 


Win Jens Voigt’s 2014 Tour de France Bike!

Jens Voigt’s 2014 Tour de France Bike to be Given Away through USA Pro Challenge Tour Tracker Sweepstakes

Fan Favorite Giving Bike to Fans During Final Professional Race

Woodland Park, Colo. (Aug. 22, 2014) –Trek Factory Racing’s Jens Voigt (GER) will be giving away the bike he rode during the 2014 Tour de France through a sweepstakes on the 2014 USA Pro Challenge Tour Tracker mobile app. Fans will have a chance to collect a piece of professional cycling history as Voigt hangs up his jersey and retires from the sport following the Pro Challenge.

“Yep, the Pro Challenge is my last race. I still can’t believe it myself,” said Voigt. “I’ve been a cyclist for 33 years…that’s been the most constant part of my life. It’s going to be a big chunk that’s closing. There are going to be a lot of challenges coming my way. It was a good career. I had some great moments. I met some of the greatest people in the world. I am thankful for the sport of cycling and what it gave to me.”

To enter to win the Trek Madone Team Edition bike Voigt rode in the 2014 Tour de France, fans can download the free USA Pro Challenge Tour Tracker mobile app on iTunes and Google Play. Then, click on the “more” button at the bottom of the screen and complete the entry form.

 

 

 

Entries will be accepted starting today (Friday, Aug. 22) through Sunday, Aug. 24 at 11:59 p.m. MT. Applicants must be over 18 years of age and a legal resident of the U.S. to win. The winner will be selected and notified on September 2. For full rules and details, please log on to prochallenge.com/Jens.

“I think I have a pretty good fan base in the U.S. and it just felt right to end my career here in Colorado,” added Voigt. “I am a big fan of the idea that you are the master of your destiny. I want to stop in good condition and put on a show one more time…finish feeling good and strong, knowing that I squeezed every little bit out of me.

About the USA Pro Challenge

Referred to as “America’s Race,” the USA Pro Challenge will take place August 18-24, 2014. For seven consecutive days, the world’s top athletes race through the majestic Colorado Rockies, reaching higher altitudes than they’ve ever had to endure. One of the largest cycling events in U.S. history and the largest spectator event in the history of the state, the USA Pro Challenge continues to set records in professional cycling by taking the riders to unprecedented elevations. Featuring a challenging course, the fourth annual race will spotlight the best of the best in professional cycling and some of America’s most beautiful scenery. More information can be found online at www.USAProChallenge.com and on Twitter at @USAProChallenge.

 


Altitude is more than you think. Even professional bike racers are worried about the altitude in Aspen

The conversation at the pre-race press conference and the press conference after stage one was the concern about the altitude.

Kiel Reijnen (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team had this to say about the altitude

“I am by no means a pure sprinter, but this course is a bit of a slap in the face, what a tough way to start a stage race. It’s a really deceptive stage. It’s difficult to control and it’s really unpredictable. I’m still out of breath and it’s been more than an hour since the finish, and I was already at altitude to begin with.”

Alex Howes (USA) Team Garmin-Sharp

“I myself am a victim of the high altitude. It was pretty relaxed for the first third of the race, but that last lap really heated it up and it was just full gas from there on. You see a lot of punch and lift from riders toward the end, and that’s not really something you see at this kind of altitude. It’s pretty exciting to see that out here.”

Colorado Resident Kiel Reijnen Takes Stage 1 of the 2014 USA Pro Challenge

Crowds of Cheering Fans Lined the Streets of Downtown Aspen to Greet the Best Riders in the World

Aspen, Colo. (Aug. 18, 2014) – Set against the beautiful backdrop of Aspen and Snowmass, the 2014 USA Pro Challenge got off to an exciting start with a circuit race of three 22-miles laps that included 2,300 ft. of climbing per lap, creating an aggressive day of racing. Colorado Resident Kiel Reijnen (USA) of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team took home the stage win, which also puts him in the overall lead heading into the second day of racing.

“This stage was really exciting last year. It was a nail-biter and this year was the same,” said Reijnen. “The USA Pro Challenge is a huge goal for our team. Everyone is here watching and it’s really important to the team we do well here.”

In a close finish, Reijnen took the stage win, followed by Howes in second and Ben Hermans (BEL) of BMC Racing Team in third.

After the conclusion of the first stage of the USA Pro Challenge, Reijnen holds the Smashburger Leader Jersey, Lexus Sprint Jersey and, new for this year, the Colorado National Guard Best Colorado Rider Jersey . Jacques-Maynes has the Sierra Nevada King of the Mountains Jersey and Summerhill was awarded the FirstBank Most Aggressive Rider Jersey. Clement Chevrier (FRA) of Bissell Development Team has the Colorado State University Best Young Rider Jersey heading into Stage 2 tomorrow.

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USA Pro Challenge Starts Monday

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Are you ready to race in Colorado?

The USA Pro Challenge starts Monday in Aspen.

Find the route near you and go see the race!

https://recreationlaw.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/e7fb4-routemapof2014usaprochallengecolroado.jpg

 


USA Pro Challenge brings out the best in its fans

Bicycle racing is more than just cycling. The atmosphere is always fun.

Why do spectators enjoy looking great at cycling raisesclip_image002

One of the great joys of watching the climbs on the grand European tours is the time we have to watch the outfits the spectators wear. That desire to be European fashion conscious has crossed the Atlantic and is growing in the US. The US Pro Challenge has seen an increase each year in the desire to be seen on the tour.

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People in costumes always waive and love to have their picture taken.

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Her sign says have you seen my friend. She must have known an orange cowboy hat and purple tights might make her friends hard to find.clip_image008

Do the riders have the time as they wiz by to see the outfits?

Some costumes are difficult to assign a category too, however at least he is riding a bike. That may or may not be good for cycling.

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Some of the outfits can be as easy as a hat to makes you stand out in the crowd or a hair color so you loved ones can spot you…..and hide. When wearing a similar hat the pope always seems to smile.clip_image012

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Do you think Jens saw him?

Then you see the group costumes where friends (or at least I hope they are friends) agree on a theme to wear to the raise. clip_image016

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I’m not exactly sure the true nature of some of the themes. The relationship between Santa Clause and a Yeti in Vail still has me confused. The Wheaties box is just an afterthought….I hope.

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It is bad when two people in a costume start to argue about it. It is always a hard to hear what the argument is about when both voices are coming from fur covered heads.

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Age is not a limiting factor in costumes. No matter how small you may be getting dressed up is part of the excitement of the tour.clip_image024

Unless maybe you dad makes you wear the costume, in the heat. But at least no one can recognize you if it covers your face.clip_image026

There always the marketing gurus who send employees out to represent their products. Energy snacks, water bottles two perennial favorites.

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The best are when friends know a rider in the tour and want to show their support. Although I’m not sure I would come out of the team RV to see my friends of a gold speedo was the costume of choice.clip_image032clip_image034

His face mask almost matches his tattoo.

Even the UCI gets into the race, maybe just a crown, but it is still more than a non-descript ball cap.clip_image036

What is curious is when a city gets into the act. The winner of the stage that ends in Breckenridge has the dubious honor of being photographed with a fur hat and shield. I thought winners were to be lauded, not punished?clip_image038

Even if you are not a big fan of bicycle racing (heaven forbid) you should at least stroll the start and finish near you to see the fans!


Buffets

BuffetsIMG_3233

You work with the PR team of a professional cycling team to schedule a time to talk to a rider. You email back and forth frantically during the race, at night and stop by the team bus in the morning to stand around wearing a pleading puppy face.

You get a date so you start working on your questions. You research the rider you got the time to sit down with, and you know the person inside and out. You start out with general ones, softballs to set the ground work, to start the information flowing. Then you start working your way to the tougher questions.

Then the day arrives. You attend the race and jot notes about your rider’s race that day. You get back to your room early to clean up, and you arrive ten minutes before the scheduled time.  Not too early to look too eager, but never late. You find a place to talk, secure yet open so everyone feels good and information will flow. The rider comes down and sits down to talk. You exchange pleasantries, and you start with the easy questions to get things rolling.

But the rider throws back a curve, and your prepared questions gently fall to the floor as you grin and jump on the answer.

Buffets. What is your favorite thing about racing in the US? Buffets.

I had the opportunity to interview Richie Porte of Team Sky at the USA Pro Challenge. Every statement above is true. I did not want to sound like an amateur or an idiot and by the end of the interview, I did not care. When you ask a professional bicycle racer what his favorite thing about racing in a county, and he says the buffet’s it throws you for a laughing out loud loop from which you never recover.

After talking to professional cyclists for years, this was the last answer I expected, but it was the first thing out of the mouth of Richie Porte during the USA Pro Challenge. However, after listening to him compare the fare offered at the Tour de France or the rest of the European races I understood. Based on Richie’s comments, it was easy to maintain weight on the Tour de France because if you waited too long there was nothing to it. Even if you got to dinner early, it still was slim pickings.

Richie Porte, along with Chris Froome had been in the US for two weeks training and enjoying the country before the USA Pro Challenge even started. Once the race started, they raced. However, they thoroughly enjoyed the racing in the US, buffets included.

The next thing Richie said was the fans were fantastic. I’m sure after watching the three segments of the Tour de France through the IMG_3228UK, he might change his mind, but he said the US fans were fantastic. If you went off the back in France, the fans called you names, gave you grief and sometimes spit at you.

Here in the US, the fans cheered and clapped for everyone, even the last rider was encouraged to ride better. US fans are just happy to watch great athletes race.

Teams enjoy coming to the US for the USA Pro Challenge besides the food and the fans. The views along the race course are unmatched outside of Nepal. The crowds are not only enthusiastic, but they understand bicycle racing. The word peloton in Colorado does not get you a questioning express. Coloradans understand bicycle racing.

After spending an hour with Richie Porte, I had a great time, met a great person and obviously, a great cyclist. Richie still had a smile and a great sense of humor even after a hard day riding in the thin air.

This tough piece investigating a Team Sky rider reads like a chamber of commerce piece encouraging people to come to Colorado. Obviously, the riders enjoy racing in the US.

A Start