referred to as “America’s Race”

The inaugural USA Pro Cycling Challenge took place for seven consecutive days and featured 136 of the world’s top athletes. They raced across 518 miles through some of the most beautiful cenery in the Riockies, including Aspen, Breckenridge, Steamboat Springs and Vail. The winner? Team Radio Shack’s, Levi Leipheimer, with a time of 20:00.24.

The hope is that the race will, once again, speed through the Vail Valley in 2012.

“This race comes with its own special energy,” says John Dakin, Vice-President of Communications for the Vail Valley Foundation. “It’s like nothing else.”

According to Dakin, over 25,000 people were in Vail for teh start of its leg of the race. More than 5,000 showed up in Avon for the next day’s start.

“It was a tremendous success for the first year out of the gate,” Dakin says. “Watching the television pictures, you could have easily mistaken it for Europe. I think that for the folks who were around in the old Coors Classic days, it looked and felt like those days had returned. Certainly, the host cities embraced having major international cycling back.”

Indeed, the powers that be are getting interested from other cities in Colorado, including Boulder, Ft. Collins and Durango to name a few, who want to be part of the itinerary next year. And they’re taking their time in making their final decision.

“There are many different elements that have to be considered,” explains Dakin, ” “For instance, Grand Junction already has an established course that was used for the Coors Classic, but is that a course that could be used today?

“And then they have to ask if you can get from point “A” to point “B” without closing I-70? They have to connect the dots. Do we have a time trial here? A race here? a Finish here?

“We might have a leg up because we’re a known commodity. Because we were part of the inaugural race, they are aware of what we can do and how we put things together. From a bid standpoint, the key is not only to rely on that but to think about what we can do to expand and enhance the race.”