Pros, locals tackle 3rd day of Steamboat Stage Race | SteamboatToday.com

Pros, locals tackle 3rd day of Steamboat Stage Race

Stage Race closes with downtown criterium today

— With the Steamboat Springs Stage Race entering its final day, there are signs the event has reached what Corey Piscopo calls a certain level of legitimacy.

It goes beyond the increase in the number of cyclists participating in the second annual event — there are 355 this year compared with 302 in 2009.

The professional riders who showed up to race for four days in Steamboat are, in part, what makes this race legit, Piscopo said. The pro ranks include Garmin-Transitions team members Timmy Duggan and Peter Stetina; Chris Baldwin, of the United Healthcare-Maxxis team; and 13-time World Champion Jeannie Longo.

"If you can draw a caliber racer like that that would consider coming to your races, it means that you're legit," Piscopo said. "It means that you have a smooth, quality event because most pro riders are not going to take the time to do a race if they think it's unsafe or poorly run. There're definitely options out there for people racing."

Stetina, a 23-year-old Boulder native who is leading the pro men's field, spent most of the season racing in Europe. Like several of the pros racing in the Steamboat Stage Race, he is preparing for end-of-season national and international championship races.

"It was a perfect time to get in some speed work and fine-tuning in," said Stetina, who will compete in the USA Pro Cycling Championships on Sept. 18 and 19 in Greenville, N.C.

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The four-day stage race is unusual in the region and offers four different days of riding. Friday was a 10-kilometer time trial. On Saturday, riders did four to 10 laps on a 4.5-mile course at Marabou Ranch. Sunday was the Moots Road Race, with distances ranging from 22 to 70 miles.

"I was really impressed with the road ride course," said Julian Kyer, of Boulder, a member of the Trek Livestrong development team. "It turned out to be a lot more difficult than I expected it to be."

Kyer likely will be equally impressed with today's ride, a criterium that will offer him some different scenery.

"Crits get really old riding around in an industrial park for an hour," he said.

Today's Steamboat Ski and Bike Kare Criterium will have riders doing .08-mile counter-clockwise loops on Oak, Pine, Fourth and Eighth streets downtown. Pros will ride for an hour.

Spectators lined the streets during last year's event, and the same should be expected today, with more than 20 locals racing.

"To see locals out there racing, doing well, having fun, that's huge," Piscopo said.

The junior division, which includes riders from the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club's elite cycling team, will ride for 30 minutes starting at 7:30 a.m.

Steamboat's Brett Denney, Taylor Fletcher, Preston Roehrs, Ryan Kerin and Derek Leidigh will race for 40 minutes starting at 10:40 a.m.

Races will take place all day, ending with the pro men, who start at 2:40 p.m.

Visit http://www.bikesteamboat.com for more information.

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