The field for the men's pro division in the Steamboat Springs Stage Race flies around a corner in downtown Steamboat Springs on Monday, bringing to a close  the four-day event and the large competitive summer cycling calendar in Steamboat. The third-year stage race proved popular with competitors, but organizers questioned whether it'd return in 2012.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

The field for the men's pro division in the Steamboat Springs Stage Race flies around a corner in downtown Steamboat Springs on Monday, bringing to a close the four-day event and the large competitive summer cycling calendar in Steamboat. The third-year stage race proved popular with competitors, but organizers questioned whether it'd return in 2012.

Steamboat Springs Stage Race rides to a close

Cycling event delights 270 participants during weekend

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Boulder rider Scott Moninger sprays champagne after wrapping up the general classification victory Monday in the Steamboat Springs Stage Race.

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Steamboat cyclist Amy Charity leads the front pack of the top women’s division Monday in the Steamboat Springs Stage Race. Charity went on to finish fourth in the day’s stage and the four-day event.

— The final race of the Steamboat Springs Stage Race came down to a surprise ending Monday, with one finisher throwing up his arms in celebration — an ill-advised moment before such an act was warranted.

Whether the entire event is in line for a similar fate remains to be seen after the four-stage race delighted the 270 participating athletes but did comparatively little to enthuse Steamboat Springs.

“As far as the event itself, racers were really happy,” director Corey Piscopo said. “Everyone who does this event walks away raving. We have something really unique and special, and we’re happy about that.

But, Piscopo added, “my gut tells me there’s Bike Town burnout. We’re coming down to the end of the season and there’s been so much go on this year. There just wasn’t as much excitement.”

Piscopo said that manifested itself a number of ways. There was a lack of volunteers, and race staff had trouble finding the necessary 40 to 50 daily helpers needed for the four full days of action. There was a lack of spectators and even a lack of riders, with race registration dropping from 360 in 2010 to 270 this year.

“We had it last year, and this year I just didn’t feel it,” he said. “I don’t know if it will be back.”

Whatever the race’s problems, lack of racing excitement isn’t one of them as the final two days of the event offered thrilling, standings-altering finishes.

Monday’s finale was a perfect example. A half dozen riders broke from the main group early in the men’s pro, Category 1 and Category 2 criterium, which cut laps around downtown Steamboat Springs.

The riders in that group jockeyed for position as the time ticked down and it appeared Keith Harper would win a dash to the finish. He certainly thought so, anyway.

Boulder rider Colby Pearce didn’t stop and cut around to claim a narrow victory.

“It was really cat and mouse for the last three laps,” Pearce said. “Then we went around that last corner, I kicked super hard with everything. I wanted it and I could see we were wheel to wheel, and I saw him celebrate and I knew the line wasn’t there yet. I knew I had 12 meters at least.

“I pulled it off by a couple of inches. … It was a super fun way to close up a road weekend in Steamboat.”

Scott Moninger, another Boulder-based rider also on the Horizon Organics/PB Panache team with Pearce, didn’t ride in the breakaway, but did everything required to make an advantage gained on Day 3 stand up.

He won the general classification, finishing 41 seconds ahead of Nathan Wilson and 1:14 ahead of Pearce.

“It was pretty basic strategy. We had a pretty strong team and on a course this flat, the speed can stay pretty high and it’s easier to control breakaways,” Moninger said. “The guys kept the speed up and kept me out of trouble. We got the stage win and kept the overall, so it was a really good day.”

Nicole Duke won a sprint to the finish in the women’s top division, edging Amy Dombrowski and Kasey Clark. Steamboat’s Amy Charity led late in the race, but finished fourth in the stage.

That third-place finish left Clark on top of the GC standings, 27 seconds ahead of Duke and 1:03 in front of Dombrowski. Charity was fourth, 1:24 behind the leader.

Comments

Scott Wedel 3 years, 3 months ago

Wow, honesty that putting BTUSA label on something doesn't turn it into gold.

SB is event driven. This is a smaller event following too soon after a big event. Simple as that, SB is not some great lover of bicycle racing. SB is a great lover of events and the big bike race was a heck of a big event.

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1999 3 years, 3 months ago

this is a bummer for me. I really liked this race and it's local feel.

it would be truly a shame if the bigger race drives this one away. I know Corey put in so much time to make this race a great success.

I'd rather have this race than the pro challenge.

Don't give it up Corey.

come on Steamboat get your act together....lets not let this race slide away for precieved glitz and glamour.

this IS our biking roots...not the pro challenge!!!

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1999 3 years, 3 months ago

so I guess steamboat Is NOT ALL ABOUT BIKES HUH????

gee I thought all of steamboat goes gaga over anything and everything bking right.

i think this artcle proves what Scott says... People just love big events. it could have been the pro cattle drive challenge and we would have had a similar turnout.

STOP BTUSA>

waste of time, money , resouces and not taking us where we want to go.

we do not need BTUSA to continue to be the great biking town we are.

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