Contract outlines perks for cycling pros

The city of Durango will be responsible for providing 75 downtown hotel rooms on a Sunday night, a gala banquet for 300 as well as a lot of trash receptacles, towels and box lunches, but it still expects to make a big profit on the USA Pro Cycling Challenge next month.

As the host city for the first stage of the professional bicycle race through the Rockies, Durango has budgeted $500,000 for the event, but aside from a lot of staff time, its direct contribution is just $50,000.

The city already has raised $300,000 from sponsorships and continues to fundraise, expecting contributions to come in after the event is over as corporate sponsors might contribute toward a thank-you party for race volunteers, for example, City Manager Ron LeBlanc said.

Plus, the amount of sales tax generated during the event should more than cover the city’s contribution of $50,000. The city also will benefit from invaluable exposure as the race will be broadcast to more than 200 countries.

“Our out-of-pocket (expense) is 50 grand, but we get an unbelievable amount of exposure,” Mayor Doug Lyon said. “That’s fabulous.”

On Tuesday, the City Council agreed to the contractual terms with Classic Bicycle Racing to host the race Aug. 20.

It granted the sports company exclusivity in accepting sponsorships for products and services such as energy bars, Lasik surgery and waste management. The city agreed that firearms, pornography and tobacco would not be acceptable categories for sponsorships.

“The Fallen Angel is excluded,” joked Councilor Christina Rinderle, referring to the local adult store.

The city is not paying a direct fee for the privilege of hosting the event, but the host is expected to pick up many of the costs associated with the race, such as a news conference, a continental breakfast for the media and a by-invitation-only gala dinner for 300 at Fort Lewis College on the Saturday night before the Monday race.

The college is providing 445 rooms for cyclists for a week leading up to the race. Cyclists will be entitled to four towels per day as well as a mid-week cleanup of their rooms.

Race officials also have requested a set number of downtown hotel rooms with a maximum of 75 hotel rooms at the Strater, DoubleTree and Rochester on the night before the race.

Except for the Sunday night before the race, Classic Bicycle will be reimbursing the city at $90 a room.

“As soon as the final room numbers are known, we will have a much better understanding of how much fundraising is needed,” LeBlanc said.

Among other terms, Durango will provide a “no-ambush zone” of no merchandise, advertising or “inflatable items” around a one-block area surrounding the start and finish area.

For the next two years, the city will not host another competitive bicycling event involving three or more professional racing teams, especially not any event involving the Union Cycliste Internationale. The union organizes world championships like the Tour de France.

Exemptions to the competition clause were made for the Iron Horse Challenge, collegiate events or any mountain bike event.

jhaug@durangoherald.com

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