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Colorado Springs, Woodland Park Selected to Host USA Pro Challenge

Published On: Nov 04 2013 02:47:28 PM CST
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

Race officials unveiled eight of the host cities that will serve as starts and finishes for the 2014 USA Pro Challenge.

Colorado Springs and Woodland Park were among the top finishers to host the race.

Next year will be the cycling race's fourth year. Colorado Springs was selected as a host city for the first two years of the race. Colorado Springs was not selected to participate in the 2013 USA Pro Challenge.

"It was disappointing," said former Olympic cyclist and coach Chris Carmichael. "But knowing that knowing the tradition of the sport, every year the route changes and we were glad it was in the state and I was confident we would get the race back."

Carmichael was a member of the 1984 Olympic Cycling team and the part of the first American team to compete in the Tour de France. He now owns Carmichael Training Systems. He wanted to see the USA Pro Challenge back in his city.

"We submitted a strong bid to get the race back and I would like to believe that we have the best place to ride a bike in the state and so we got the race back this year," said Carmichael.

A spokesperson for USA Pro Challenge said the race draws in 1 million spectators. Carmichael said even people outside the cycling community should be fans.

"(A) large fan base of cyclists come to Colorado Springs and they want to stay in hotels and go out to eat and go to bike stores and things like that so there is an economic side to it," said Carmichael.

The cyclists raced through Old Colorado City during the 2012 USA Pro Challenge. Business owners had mixed reactions to the event.

After the race in 2012, Jack Roth, with the Smoking Gift Headquarters, said he had high hopes for more clients during the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. He said some store owners in Old Colorado City had bad in the past, and said they decided to close up shop for race day.  Roth stayed open, and it didn't pay off.

“We had sales, but they were probably 35 percent to 40 percent lower than an average Friday. We just had no people,” said Roth.

Catherine Barbo owns Bon Ton's Café. Race organizers won't release the route until spring; Barbo hopes it will go past her restaurant in Old Colorado City.

"A lot of people come in and it exposes them to the area to not just Old Colorado City but to Colorado Springs because it brings a lot of tourists in that have never seen this area," said Barbo.

Barbo said sales might decrease temporarily, but it will help her business in the long run.

"I'm sure we might slow down for a few hours or even a whole day but we won't slow down for the remainder of the week because it will bring more people in," said Barbo.

Cyclists will ride between 550-600 miles in the race. Barbo hopes cyclists' fans will make the trek back to Colorado Springs.

A spokesperson released an outline of the race in a press release Monday.

· Stage 1: Monday, Aug. 18 - Aspen Circuit Race
· Stage 2: Tuesday, Aug. 19 - Aspen to Mt. Crested Butte
· Stage 3: Wednesday, Aug. 20 - Gunnison to Monarch Mountain (mountaintop finish)
· Stage 4: Thursday, Aug. 21 - Colorado Springs Circuit Race
· Stage 5: Friday, Aug. 22 - Woodland Park to Breckenridge
· Stage 6: Saturday, Aug. 23 - Vail Individual Time Trial

There will be the first-ever mountaintop finish during Stage 3 on Monarch Mountain.  Organizers are looking to fans to provide feedback on four different options for the final stage.  Fans will be able to help shape the race by giving their opinion on four options for Stage 7 by logging on here:

<http://www.prochallenge.com/PickStage7>

1. Denver Circuit Race similar to the final stage of the 2013 race
2. Start in Golden (2012 Stage 6 start city) and finish in Denver
3. Start in Boulder (2012 Stage 6 finish city) and finish in Denver
4. Start in Boulder and end in Golden

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