Tucson officialy proclaimed 'Winter training Capital' by Mayor
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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tucson officialy proclaimed 'Winter training Capital' by Mayor

by VeloNation Press at 10:33 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

Tucson Mayor Bob Walkup officially proclaimed the city of Tucson the “Winter Training Capital” in a ceremony Monday night. The event was held in conjunction with the “Evening With the Pros” reception hosted by UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team Presented by Maxxis team sponsor TriSports.com. More than 50 people attended the event at the TriSports retail store, which is in its second year sponsoring the team.

The Arizona town has been a winter hotbed for US-based professional cyclists for years. With more Americans heading across the pond to Europe to compete, the US and its regions that typically experience mild winter climates are being slowly incorporated into the plans of some European-based teams. Lance Armstrong's RadioShack squad recently held a training camp based out of the desert city, and BMC Racing recently took advantage of the warm weather in California's Augoura Hills.

Europe has experienced an extremely harsh winter this year, and while a trip to the US likely won't fit within most team budgets, the lure of sunny skies, golden tans and most importantly, solid training, could become a draw if unruly winters persist.

Having Mayor Walkup embrace the road cycling culture in Tucson sends a clear message highlighting the town's warm welcome to teams from abroad.

UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team director Gord Fraser, who started training in the Tucson area in 1991, has called Tucson home for over 12 years. The Canadian started his own business running cycling camps in the area based on the ideal training conditions.

“Tucson is one of the best cycling destinations, not just in winter, but all year round,” he said. “But certainly in the winter it’s hard to beat for weather. It’s usually pretty sunny. This has been the wettest it’s been in years here and we’ve only had one day of rain so far during camp. We may have another, but it’s perfect for what we need right now. Guys are getting what they need for training. Camp’s going really well.”

The former Canadian road race champion spent the bulk of his career sprinting to wins on the North American racing circuit. In 2000, Fraser had the chance to race with the world's best cyclists with his then Mercury team. He didn't waste the opportunity, and came home with a win in the GP Rennes and shocked the Euro sprinters winning the opening stage and taking the leaders jersey in the Critérium International.

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