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TdeF Podium Going to Colorado

Aug 3rd, 2011 | By | Category: Blog, Races

Did you read the news this week that the top three podium finishers from the 2011 Tour de France are planning to grace the roads of Colorado during the inaugural USA Pro Cycling Challenge?

That’s right, cycling fans, Cadel Evans and the dynamic (ahem) duo of Frank and Andy Schleck will be racing their legs off in Colorado this month, along with a whole host of A-list international cycling talent. Final rosters for most teams are yet to be announced, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you see other jersey winners and GC contenders from this year’s Tour de France among the peloton in Colorado. It seems that the Lance-effect has come to Colorado.

Meanwhile next door in little old Utah, the list of teams and riders isn’t nearly as prestigious. To be fair, the Tour of Utah has never brought in the big name Grand Tour riders like its younger cousin in California does, but the upstart to the east sure seems to have attracted them. And fast!

The highest ranked ProTour rider coming to the Tour of Utah is Levi Leipheimer (currently number 23 in the rankings), a former winner of the race and someone who has long-term, deep roots in the state already. The rest of the lineup also includes big name racers with connections here including Dave Zabriskie and Jeff Louder, plus George Hincapie and Christian Vandevelde, but other than American and Canadian riders, where are the real contenders? In the past you could have argued that they were all in Spain for the Vuelta, but not this year. Just like California took Giro racers, Colorado is attracting top tier racers away from Spain too. When given the choice between Spain, Colorado, and Utah, it seems the latter was given the shorter end of the stick.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the fact that top level stage racing seems to be thriving in California and Colorado and that the top guys from the Tour de France think that the competition, courses and spectators of the United States warrant a visit. It’s just that I can help but continue to worry about America’s Toughest Stage Race and whether it will have a chance to survive in this environment.

When the race in Colorado was first announced, people said I was crazy to be concerned about the future of the Tour of Utah. The addition of race planning and executing professionals from Medalist Sports helped to assuage my fears, but these latest developments have my anxiety level for ‘our’ race rising.

I wonder if anyone has considered changing the name of the Tour of Utah and shuffling top-level sponsors a few times over the next year. That seems to have done the trick in Colorado.

After all, didn’t Missouri and Georgia once have major cycling stage races too?

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  1. I agree, I think the TOU will be dead in a few years. They need better sponsors and much more prize money. The amount they give is too little.