08 November 2010

2011 Quiznos Pro Challenge dares cyclists to try and bite off more then they can chew

International Pro-Cyclists to Compete Throughout Seven Stages, 11 Host Cities, and Nearly 600 Miles of Colorado’s Most Challenging Terrain

A new multi-day competitive stage race, reminiscent of the Coors Classic two decades prior, is set to carve out a new space in the international pro cycling calendar for 2011. Organizers of the Quiznos Pro Challenge™ officially unveiled details regarding the inaugural event at a press conference last Thursday, November 4th, in Denver, Colorado. Scheduled for August 22-28, 2011, the event will be made up of seven stages, traveling through Colorado’s most picturesque landscapes and visiting 11 host cities. Created to be the most challenging pro-cycling race in American history, the Quiznos Pro Challenge is set to cover nearly 600 miles of the region’s demanding terrain. (Photo, right: host city representatives proudly sport the team colors.)

The 2011 Quiznos Pro Challenge Stages:
August 22 – Stage 1, Prologue time trial, Colorado Springs
August 23 – Stage 2, Salida to Crested Butte, mountain-top finish
August 24 – Stage 3, Gunnison to Aspen, mountain stage
August 25 – Stage 4, Vail, time trail, former Coors Classic stage
August 26 – Stage 5, Avon to Steamboat Springs
August 27 – Stage 6, Steamboat Springs to Breckenridge
August 28 – Stage 7, Golden to Denver

(Photo, left: USA Cycling CEO Steve Johnson announces the next big thing in American cycling since the Tour of California: a grueling 600 mile, seven day race through the most majestic and treacherous terrain Colorado and the Rocky Mountains have to offer.) Colorado Governor Bill Ritter and Governor-elect and former Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper were joined by representatives from the 11 selected host cites, as well as guest speaker Shannon Sharpe. Sharpe, a Denver professional football legend and avid cyclist, spoke passionately regarding the importance of the race and its presence in the international sports world, as well as his personal respect for international cycling and the endurance it takes to compete at a top level. Joining him on the podium were professional cyclists Tom Danielson, Tim Duggan and Rory Sutherland, as well as Steve Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of USA Cycling.

(Photo, right: pro football player Shannon Sharpe, right, and pro cyclist Rory Sutherland trade team helmets.) The 120 world-class cyclists anticipated to participate in the seven-day race will begin their journey in beautiful Colorado Springs, then crisscross their way over the treacherous Rocky Mountains. The region’s unique topography will provide challenging climbs and extremely fast downhill legs with an awe-inspiring backdrop of several of the United States’ highest mountain peaks leading to the finish in Denver. “We are excited to welcome sports fans and the international cycling community to many of Colorado’s most beautiful regions,” said Governor Ritter. “The Quiznos Pro Challenge will provide a majestic tour of many of the state’s natural treasures while becoming the battleground for one of the world’s most intense competitions.”

The initial idea to bring a major stage race back to Colorado is credited to Quiznos Pro Challenge partner Lance Armstrong who expressed interest to Governor Ritter last year. The Quiznos Pro Challenge is now expected to become one of the most significant international pro-cycling events worldwide, created to reinvigorate the legacy of the Colorado-based Coors International Bicycle Classic which took place from 1979 until 1988. The official race routes for the 2011 event are in the process of being charted and will be announced in the near future.

Team face-off: Tom Danielson from Team Garmin-Transitions left, and Shannon Sharpe, retired NFL Denver Broncos alumni, right, flex their respective muscles at the Quiznos Pro Challenge announcement Thursday.

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