Colorado to host new major stage race in 2011
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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Colorado to host new major stage race in 2011

by VeloNation Press at 12:15 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
First major event in the state since the Coors Classic

A major pro cycling event will be returning to the state of Colorado in 2011, according to the Denver Post.  The paper says an eight-day stage race will mark the first top level cycling event to hit the state since the Coors Classic in 1988.

With the recent demise of the Tour of Missouri, the event will help to keep the momentum the US has had with the Tour of California's move to May.  An official announcement is expected to be made this coming Wednesday.  According to the Denver Post's sources, the race will take place in August.

Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong met with Colorado Governor Bill Ritter last October to discuss bringing back the Coors Classic, formerly known as the Red Zinger Bicycle Classic, a race that was started by Celestial Seasons founder Mo Siegel nearly 4 decades ago.  The race brought Coors on board as the title sponsor four years after its inception, when the man hired to promote the race by Siegel, Michael Aisner, purchased the rights to the race for $1.

Armstrong, who has recently purchased a house in Aspen, described the state of Colorado is a natural race venue. Many professional cyclists take up residence there because of its challenging terrain.

Last year Ritter cited a serious budget crisis as the biggest obstacle, but said he would support Armstrong in bringing the race back by August 2011 if he could secure the funding.  Armstrong signed a three-year deal with Anheuser-Busch InBev to be the spokesman for their Michelob Ultra brand of beer, which could see the race born as the Michelob Ultra Classic.  The company already sponsors cycling and running events across the country and markets its beer as a low-calorie alternative to other alcoholic beverages.

The Coors Classic saw coverage on all of the major broadcasting networks, and cycling greats such as Bernard Hinault, Greg LeMond, Jeannie Longo, Andy Hampsten, Davis Phinney, Raúl Alcalá, Connie Carpenter, and Ron Kiefel are part of its rich history.

The timing of the event could see many professionals use it as preparation for the World Championships.

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