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Women's Race Added To 2015 USA Pro Cycling Challenge

Mark Ireland
Flickr - Creative Commons

For the first time women will have their own race in the 2015 USA Pro Cycling Challenge. After four races of male only cyclists, officials are confident that the time is right.

"We're very excited about it. Some of the great riders, not only just in the U.S. but from Europe, probably will be racing here in Colorado next August," said race CEO, Shawn Hunter. "It would be the same week, much of the same roads. And we're working on those details now. It's a big undertaking and we want to do it right."

"...we think this will be by far our most exciting, not just in terms of competition, but in impact for our communities."

Other successful elements of the race will stay in place, including soliciting fan feedback through social media. Hunter said the information helped officials craft part of the 2014 race route which ended up as day 7 – the Boulder Golden Denver route – which also generated the most spectators.

"We're the first race in the world to ever involve our fans in selecting part of the route, I think we'll do that again this year." Hunter said. "Whether it's one day or a couple days. The feedback was phenomenal, it wasn't just a popular vote. It was fans weighing in on their communities their routes. And these are people out there riding the roads of Colorado year round so often time we'll uncover a gem that we weren't aware of."

Credit Mark Chance / Flickr - Creative Commons
Flickr - Creative Commons
A picture of the USA Pro Challenge peloton taken on August 27, 2011.

The 2014 USA Pro Cycling Challenge generated $130 million in economic impact for the state from the roughly quarter million spectators who traveled over 50 miles to attend, according to a sports research firm Sponsorship Science. More than 70 percent of spectators surveyed said they would return to Colorado in 2015 to watch the race.

But snagging of the coveted slots doesn't come cheap. For the 2014 race, host cities paid anywhere from $65,000 to nearly $1 million to host a stage start or finish.

The 2015 race route has yet to be released, but Hunter said they are "very close" to deciding which Colorado cities will be included.

"We start that process actually before the current race, so we actually started looking at routes for 2015 in early August," Hunter said. "We started with about 16 variations and we've narrowed it down to three finalists. And we think this will be by far our most exciting, not just in terms of competition, but in impact for our communities."

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