Steamboat gets ready for cycling spotlight

Meeting discusses what to expect for USA Pro Cycling Challenge

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— Kim Hornsby said she had all of her questions about the upcoming USA Pro Cycling Challenge answered at a public meeting Monday night that focused on the race’s impact on Steamboat Springs.

“Now I know I can bike up Rabbit Ears Pass well ahead of the racers and cheer them on as they go by,” she said after the meeting.

Hornsby said that before she attended the meeting she wasn’t sure whether spectators would be allowed to watch the pack of cyclists — which will include this year’s top three Tour de France finishers — summit Rabbit Ears Pass on Aug. 27 when the riders depart Steamboat for Breckenridge.

“We weren’t quite sure they were going to handle this race the way races like the Tour de France are handled,” she said. “But it seems like the local planning committee has done their homework and will make this fun to watch.”

Hornsby and more than 50 other community members attended the meeting at Centennial Hall that outlined the logistics of the upcoming race and how it will affect Steamboat Springs when it brings 136 professional riders, some traffic congestion and a media spotlight to the Yampa Valley on Aug. 26 and 27.

At Monday’s open house, local organizing committee chairman Jim Schneider gave a 20 minute presentation that outlined the race’s route through the Yampa Valley and gave residents an idea of which streets would be closed during the race and which of Steamboat’s historic landmarks might make it on national television as the background for the peloton.

Meeting attendees also learned that on Aug. 26, racers will enter Steamboat via Routt County Road 14 and that visitors and residents should expect downtown traffic during the two-day event to be much like it was during last summer’s Lincoln Avenue repaving project.

And while much of the meeting focused on the implications of the road closures, Schneider also talked about the race’s benefits.

“We’re going to have a bunch of people coming to town at a time when it’s not typically full,” he said. “The race will bring with it a lot of benefits, and Steamboat also will have some incredible international exposure.”

For more information and to view a map of the race route and road closures, visit www.steamboatprocycling.com/community.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com

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