Steamboat Springs Kent Powell likes to think of the Bicycle Tour of Colorado as "just a little, hardcore tour."
Little might not be the most accurate term for the seven-day, 418-mile Alpine loop that climbs up and over eight mountain passes. The participation isn't too small, either. Last year's tour had 2,100 riders, and Powell, the tour's director, said he has an international field of more than 1,600 riders for this year's race, which starts June 24.
Powell announced Sunday that he will bring the start and finish of the 13th annual cycling tour back to Steamboat Springs. The tour, which establishes a new course every year, hasn't been through Steamboat in three years.
"Steamboat's a good town, and it's in a great area," Powell said. "I'm psyched to be back. Hopefully we'll keep the restaurants and hotels happy while we're there."
The riders should be happy as well. Participating cyclists will have check-in from 2 to 6 p.m. June 23 at Steamboat Springs High School before moving to the kick-off party at nearby Memorial Park, complete with a beer garden and live music.
The race then heads out the next morning over Rabbit Ears Pass, 57 miles to Walden and then over Willow Creek Pass and into Granby.
By Day 4, the Tour takes a midpoint break day at Copper Mountain, which will play host to "Sports Expo 2007" from 2 to 5 p.m. June 26. Powell believes what separates his tour - "the original Colorado loop tour" - from the state's other multi-day cycling tours is this layover day and the nightly entertainment.
From Copper Mountain, the Tour climbs to Leadville, follows the Blue River back to Kremmling, then cruises over Gore Pass and back into Steamboat on June 30.
Registration is still open. Visit www.bicycletourcolorado.com or call (303) 985-1180 for more information.
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