Our View: Get out and cheer for Pro Challenge | SteamboatToday.com

Our View: Get out and cheer for Pro Challenge

Steamboat Springs will capture the international spotlight Wednesday and Thursday when the city plays host to the 2013 USA Pro Challenge. After hosting stages of the race in 2011, Steamboat sat out a year before wooing the organizers back to the 'Boat for this year's race.

The Stage 3 finish Wednesday afternoon should be electrifying as cyclists leave Breckenridge for the 106.1-mile trek to Steamboat, ending the day with a high-speed race down Rabbit Ears Pass right into downtown Steamboat. Lincoln Avenue will be the site of all the action, and a downtown festival is planned to coincide with the finish. On Thursday morning, action shifts to the base of Steamboat Ski Area for the Stage 4 start where cyclists will exit Steamboat via Twentymile Road for the 102.9-mile race to Beaver Creek.

The Pro Challenge is more than just the "World's Best Stage Race"; it's an opportunity for Steamboat to shine. Local residents are urged to be ambassadors for Steamboat by turning out in record numbers to line the race route and cheer on the world's most elite cyclists.

Our message to the community is simple: come out, cheer loudly and enjoy every minute of the exhilarating excitement a top professional cycling race offers. If you didn't turn out to watch the event in 2011, you missed a thrill. Don't focus on the road closures or increased traffic; instead, turn your attention to the economic impact the race will have on the community and then embrace the entire experience.

Playing host to the Pro Challenge offers Steamboat the opportunity to put its best foot forward. The race attracts a huge national and international television audience, giving Steamboat far-reaching exposure. Millions of viewers will tune in to watch the race, and they'll get a glimpse of Steamboat — a gorgeous mountain community known for skiing and biking, a town that produces world-class athletes and welcomes events like the Pro Challenge.

When organizers choose which mountain towns will host portions of the race, they consider the community's response and involvement in the event. Was the race well-attended by residents? Did they cheer loudly? Were the cyclists greeted by excited fans? The Pro Challenge is a huge boost to Steamboat's economy, and the long-term impacts of the exposure the event provides is phenomenal. Future visitors from across the globe will be watching the race, and when Steamboat's portion of the race is broadcast live, first impressions count.

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Plan now to be part of the excitement the Pro Challenge ignites locally. By getting out and supporting the race, you also can take pride in knowing you're doing your part to introduce Steamboat to a worldwide audience. The viewers across the U.S. and in 80 countries are potential visitors to our mountain resort community, and the payoff for hosting these Pro Challenge race stages next week is huge.

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