The 2011 Quiznos Pro Challenge Stages
- August 22 – Stage 1, Prologue time trial, Colorado Springs
- August 23 – Stage 2, Salida to Crested Butte, mountain-top finish
- August 24 – Stage 3, Gunnison to Aspen, mountain stage
- August 25 – Stage 4, Vail, time trail, former Coors Classic stage
- August 26 – Stage 5, Avon to Steamboat Springs
- August 27 – Stage 6, Steamboat Springs to Breckenridge
- August 28 – Stage 7, Golden to Denver
The Quiznos Pro Challenge™ officially announced the stages, host cities and race format for the inaugural 2011 international pro-cycling competition at a press conference today held at the Colorado State Capitol in Denver. Running from August 22-28, the event will be made up of seven stages, traveling through Colorado’s most picturesque landscapes and visiting 11 Colorado host cities. Created to be the most challenging pro-cycling race in American history, the Quiznos Pro Challenge is set to cover nearly 600 miles of the region’s demanding terrain.
Colorado Governor Bill Ritter and Governor-elect and former Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper were joined by representatives from the 11 selected host cites including: personal coach to Lance Armstrong, Chris Carmichael (LOC Chair, Colorado Springs), Scott Damman (City Councilman, Salida), Leah Williams (Mayor, Crested Butte), William Buck (Mayor, Mt. Crested Butte), Jonathan Houck (Mayor Pro-Tem, Gunnison), Mick Ireland (Mayor, Aspen), Dick Cleveland (Mayor, Vail), Ron Wolfe (Mayor, Avon), Scott Myller (City Councilman, Steamboat Springs), John Warner (Mayor, Breckenridge), and Jacob Smith (Mayor, Golden).
Denver professional football legend and avid cyclist Shannon Sharpe spoke at the event to help convey the importance of the race and the announcement to the international sports world. Sharpe expressed his respect for international cycling and the endurance it takes to compete at a top level while on stage with professional cyclists Tom Danielson, Tim Duggan and Rory Sutherland, as well as Steve Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of USA Cycling.
The 120 world-class cyclists anticipated to participate in the seven-day race will begin their journey in beautiful Colorado Springs, then crisscross their way over the treacherous Rocky Mountains. The region’s unique topography will provide challenging climbs and extremely fast downhill legs with an awe-inspiring backdrop of several of the United States’ highest mountain peaks leading to the finish in Denver.
“We are excited to welcome sports fans and the international cycling community to many of Colorado’s most beautiful regions,” said Governor Ritter. “The Quiznos Pro Challenge will provide a majestic tour of many of the state’s natural treasures while becoming the battleground for one of the world’s most intense competitions.”
The initial idea to bring a major stage race back to Colorado is credited to Quiznos Pro Challenge partner Lance Armstrong who expressed interest to Governor Ritter last year. The Quiznos Pro Challenge is now expected to become one of the most significant international pro-cycling events worldwide, created to reinvigorate the legacy of the Colorado-based Coors International Bicycle Classic which took place from 1979 until 1988. The official race routes for the 2011 event are in the process of being charted and will be announced in the near future.
“We had so much interest from incredible cities across Colorado that we could hold an event of twice the duration, said Ellen Kramer, Quiznos Chief Communications Officer. “We worked diligently throughout the selection process to incorporate cities that provide terrain that is unique to Colorado and delivers one of the most exciting cycling events in the world. The selected cities will make excellent partners and provide a demanding course for the world’s top cyclists.”