Windsor and Loveland will be among the top destinations for some of the best cyclists in the world next August when one of the sport’s premier races rolls through the region, organizers announced Wednesday.
Specific details for Stage 6 of the third-annual USA Pro Challenge won’t be announced until the spring, but tentative plans have it moving through part of Windsor — possibly down Main Street — before heading to Estes Park. The day will wrap up in Fort Collins.
The 2013 Challenge will skip over Boulder, a major change from 2012, opting instead for the Colorado communities farther north.
“I think we saw that we’re part of this whole region,” said Windsor Town Manager Kelly Arnold of cycling culture in the area. “We felt it was a very natural fit for Windsor to be a part of this. It’s going to be fun. We’re really looking forward to it.”
In 2012 alone, more than 1 million people came from near and far to watch the about 120 racers whir past from the sidelines. The week-long event spanned 683 miles and was broadcast internationally to 175 countries, according to one market study.
The series of circuit races and time trials is broken into seven stages beginning Aug. 19 in Aspen. From there, it will cruise through mountain towns including Steamboat Springs, Beaver Creek and Vail before ultimately ending Aug. 25 in Denver.
It is considered by many to be one of the toughest road events around, putting riders through a week of torturous and grueling mountain climbs, reaching above 12,000 feet.
Racers will net more than 40,000 feet in elevation gain during the race.
Communities across the state have vied for a chance to be along the route since the race began in 2011. Communities that are absent from the course, despite repeated efforts, include Colorado Springs and Grand Junction, though organizers said those would be on the shortlist for future years.
Determinations are made based on city services, marketing potential, volunteer recruitment and overall ability to host, among other things.
In the past two years, organizers estimated nearly $200 million went back into local economies between travel, lodging and dining — a major shot in the arm any community would be thankful for. Exact economic impacts for Windsor are anyone’s guess, but all signs indicate it could be a weekend for the record books.
“It just brings a fun event to Windsor,” Arnold said. “Everybody’s pretty excited.”