Stage Race a hit in 1st year

Future looks bright as 4-day cycling event draws big numbers

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Today's road closures

Today, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. - There will be a one-mile criterium with closures of Oak, Pine, Eighth and Fourth streets. Residents who live inside the course should use the alley to cross over the racecourse. There will be course marshals at every intersection to assist motorists while the race is in progress.

Ski & Bike Kare Criterium

The loop starts at the Routt County Courthouse and goes on Oak, Pine, Fourth and Eighth streets. These roads will be closed to cars during that time. This criterium will be based on laps and also feature $750 in criterium primes. Criterium primes are prizes for winning specific intermediate laps. A bell will be rung to announce to the riders that whoever wins the next lap, wins the prize. The day begins with juniors at 7:30 a.m., with the top divisions starting last. The best places for spectators to view will be at the start line and around the corners.

— Even after spending the past three days overseeing the logistics of the inaugural Steamboat Springs Stage Race, director Corey Piscopo couldn't help but smile a little when thinking about future events.

Piscopo, who started brainstorming about the idea of a stage race in January, said initial signs from the weekend are the Stage Race could become a Steamboat staple.

"I think a lot of people would be really disappointed if we didn't do it again," Piscopo said. "We'd like to make it an annual thing. It's difficult to get the feedback from the town and the residents until after the race. But we've had very few issues with cars and traffic. That's all positive."

Originally, Piscopo said they needed 75 racers to break even. After putting out feelers, Piscopo thought he could get 200 riders.

Friday's opening race started with 305 riders, and Piscopo said when they closed registration Monday, he had between 50 and 75 more riders try to sign up.

Those are all good signs as the event looks to the future.

"I think it's definitely sustainable," said local racer Barkley Robinson, who competed in the first-year event. "I imagine there should be no problem making it bigger and better for next year. The feeling I got from all the racers is they've enjoyed it so far. So far, everything has been great."

"The stages that they have, these are world-class stages," said Rob Noble, who rides with Fort Collins-based Ciclismo Racing, an elite amateur team. "The only thing that puts this a tier down than other stage races we do is it's only three stages and a prologue. Most have five or six stages and a prologue. But for a first year, this is fantastic. I hope it succeeds and lasts into the future, because it could be a huge event."

Piscopo said there are several questions going into next year's potential race. First, he has to decide if organizers want to make the event bigger.

If the event does get bigger, Piscopo said, he would probably also have to change up the courses a little bit. He also has to talk with local businesses, among others, to see if Labor Day Weekend - generally the end of the road cycling season - is the best date to have it on.

"If we wanted to, we could make it a bigger event - 500 or 600 riders," he said. "We're just going to have to see if that's something we want. We might want to keep it smaller. But all the residents, and everybody involved, has been great."

Alex Hagman, of Fort Collins, was first to cross the uphill finish line at 2:55:34 in the Men's Pro 1-2 division. Jonathon Baker, of Boulder, was second with the same time, and Danny Summerhill, of Englewood, was third at 2:55:43.

Steamboat's Robinson finished 17th at 2:56:35, and Ian Pritchard was 39th finishing 23:20 behind Hagman.

Boulder's Marilyn McDonald was victorious again in 2:18:15. Julie Emmerman, of Boulder, was second with the same time, and Beth Fisk took third at 2:18:25.

Steamboat's Linnea Dixson finished 6th at 2:28:27, in the SW 4, SW 45-plus, SW 55-plus division.

The Pro Men 1-2 GC continues unchanged with Benjamin Day in first position with an overall time of 4:56:35. In the Women's 1-2, SW 3, SW 35-plus GC, Marilyn McDonald moved into first with a total time of 3:49:20.

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