Thousands Flood the Streets to Watch USA Pro Cycling Challenge
KREX News Room
MONTROSE, Colo.- A pinnacle of professional cycling made its way through the Western Slope on Tuesday.
After starting in Durango Monday, 16 teams made up of roughly eight cyclists began Stage 2 of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Montrose Tuesday morning.
“Where football and baseball you have to go to the stadium, we're literally bringing it to people's front doors,” said Chuck Hodge, technical director of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. “Amazing skill levels they have. They do this for a living and they're out on their bike all day, every day.”
Teams from all over the world traveled to Colorado to compete in the race. Officials say the cyclists reach speeds of more than 25 mph on average.
There are a number of awards to be handed out, but in the end, only one rider wins the race. However, officials from the challenge say the race is more of a team-based event rather than an individual competition.
“Some good examples of how the teams work, you may send a rabbit type of rider go ahead and make other teams extend energy to chase them down while your leader is sheltering behind,” said Hodge. “There’s a huge amount of strategy involved.”
The challenge has been around for two years, but it's easy to understand why thousands of folks flooded the streets Tuesday. “This is just a thrill. We are so excited that this event has come to Montrose,” said Jan Stryker, a Montrose resident. “To have racers of this caliber passing through our town is just awesome.”
“It’s pretty amazing,” said Tom Clark, another Montrose resident. "It's a wonderful opportunity for Montrose and all of Colorado.”
Local shop owners are excited, too. “I think it's a wonderful thing to get the recognition, for all the countries to be in Montrose and see how beautiful we are and maybe we will get some tourists and a little more money in our community,” said Pamela Brim of Montrose.
The economic impact of the race on Montrose will remain unknown for the coming months, but city officials say they are hopeful.
The third day of the race will start in Gunnison just after 10 a.m. Wednesday and end in Aspen.