Durango Selected as Start of Stage 1 for 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge

International cycling race begins August in Southwestern Colorado

DURANGO, COLORADO - With nearly 40 cities across the state expressing initial interest in the 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge, race officials have selected Durango as one of the 12 host cities that will serve as starts and finishes for the second annual stage race. After drawing more than 1 million spectators in its inaugural year, the 2012 race will return to Colorado from August 20-26, 2012, and will visit Durango as the start of Stage 1 on Monday, August 20.

The host cities and stages of the 2012 USA Pro Challenge include:

· Monday, Aug. 20 Stage 1 Durango > Telluride
· Tuesday, Aug. 21 Stage 2 Montrose > Crested Butte
· Wednesday, Aug. 22 Stage 3 Gunnison > Aspen
· Thursday, Aug. 23 Stage 4 Aspen > Beaver Creek/Vail Valley
· Friday, Aug. 24 Stage 5 Breckenridge > Colorado Springs
· Saturday, Aug. 25 Stage 6 Golden > Boulder
· Sunday, Aug. 26 Stage 7/TT Denver

 “The host cities selected for the 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge will enable us to showcase the beauty and hospitality of Colorado to a worldwide audience,” said Shawn Hunter, CEO of the USA Pro Challenge. “These cities are valued partners who will work with us, hand in hand, as we continue to raise the bar for professional cycling here in America.”
 
“Durango is proud to host the overall start of the 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge,” says Doug Lyon Mayor of Durango Pro Tem. “From the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic to Fort Lewis College’s 17-time Collegiate National Champion cycling program--Durango is home to the finest in cycling and the reason so many professional cyclists call Durango home.” No stranger to high profile races, this quintessential Southwestern Colorado mountain town will provide a breathtaking backdrop of the San Juan Mountains and plenty of summer activities and festivities to make it a perfect race-spectator destination.

“As home to the # 1 ranked Division I collegiate cycling team in the country, Fort Lewis College is excited and proud to be part of a premier US Cycling event that starts right here in Durango,” says Dene Kay Thomas, President of Fort Lewis College.  “We look forward to showcasing our campus as part of the Cycling Village and everything Durango has to offer.”

Durango's host city selection celebration will be held in conjunction with the USA Pro Cycling Challenge official announcement on Tuesday, December 13 at 5:30 pm at Steamworks Brewing Company, 801 East Second Street, Durango, Colorado! Everyone is welcome to join in the celebration.

Also new in 2012 is the placement of the Individual Time Trial on the final day of racing in Denver, keeping fans holding their breath to the very end to see who will be awarded the overall victory of the seven days of fiercely competitive racing.   Fans in Denver will have multiple opportunities to cheer for any given rider, as well as the benefit of both start line access to riders along the traditional team “pit row” and the thrilling finish line excitement.
 
A number of criteria were taken into consideration when evaluating potential host cities, including full city services support. The race also considered commitments in the areas of lodging, volunteer recruitment, marketing and local tourism, as well as an ability to host world-class athletes and promote the State of Colorado.  
 
Further details of the start and finish line locations, as well as the specific, detailed route will be announced in the spring.
 
About the USA Pro Cycling Challenge
For seven consecutive days, the world’s top athletes race through the majestic Rockies, reaching higher altitudes than they’ve ever had to endure – more than two miles in elevation. One of the largest cycling events in United States history, the 2012 race will feature the best of the best in professional cycling, competing on a challenging course through some of America’s most beautiful scenery.
 
Referred to as “America’s Race,” the second annual USA Pro Cycling Challenge will take place August 20-26, 2012. More than 1 million spectators are expected to once again line the route to see if Levi Leipheimer will defend his title as winner of the 2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge, while millions more around the world will watch the race on television and online through Tour Tracker.
 
More information can be found on the website www.USAProCyclingChallenge.com, and Twitter page @USAProChallenge. To follow the build-up in Durango, visit the Durango Facebook page at www.facebook.com/VisitDurango and Twitter @Durango.