Boulder ponders USA Pro Challenge

Town officials are concerned the race may not return

BOULDER – Officials in Boulder are worried that a major international cycling race will bypass the city next year.

The USA Pro Cycling Challenge has drawn criticism from some residents, who are concerned about the effect the race has on open space and recreation areas.

Analysts say the economic effect was much less than the $8 million that the Boulder Convention and Visitors Bureau had predicted this year because many spectators were local residents. Members of the Boulder City Council say they still believe this year’s race was a success.

Durango had a similar response to the race, which began in downtown Durango on Aug. 20.

Officials from the USA Pro Cycling Challenge had told Durango to prepare for 20,000 to 25,000 visitors. By the city’s estimates, there were 11,000 to 13,000 spectators on race day, based on crowd counts and estimates based on mathematical formulas of people occupying so much sidewalk space.

Indications are that the event did not bring many extra visitors to Durango. The city’s hotel occupancy rate this August was about 84 percent, the same as August 2011, when the Pro Challenge did not ride through town, according to the Rocky Mountain Lodging Report. September had a higher occupancy rate of nearly 86 percent.

Still, several city officials said the national and international exposure from the race will help Durango’s tourism industry in the future.

According to the Boulder Daily Camera, race officials want to alternate the race course every year to keep it competitive. The race in August traveled through a dozen cities in Colorado, starting in Durango and ending in Denver.

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