Tour de Steamboat will feature biking celebrity Andy Hampsten
July 9, 2010
Steamboat Springs — One of the nation's most acclaimed cyclists, famous for his accomplishments in the renowned European road tours, is coming to Steamboat Springs.
No, the news is not on repeat. The Tour de Steamboat, scheduled for July 17, will feature Andy Hampsten, America's Lance Armstrong before Lance was Lance.
Hampsten is still the only non-European to have won the Giro d'Italia, taking that crown in 1988. He helped usher Greg LeMond to a Tour de France title and finished fourth himself in 1986 and 1992. He's also a repeat winner of the Tour de Suisse.
Now he's headed to Steamboat to help with the ride that serves as a fundraiser for Sunshine Kids, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing fun activities for children battling cancer.
"Hey, we have Andy Hampsten and Kent Eriksen," Tour de Steamboat co-director Katie Lindquist said with a laugh, lining up her event's star-power against the recently announced news that Armstrong will ride in the Aug. 8 Ride 4 Yellow event in Steamboat Springs.
More seriously, Lindquist said the Tour de Steamboat is different from the August ride. The July 17 event will be a strong as it ever has been, will feature its largest field and will offer its most diverse options in its sixth year.
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The popular 110-mile Gore Gruel ride is back, as is the 40-mile out and back to Stagecoach Reservoir. New this year is a 25-mile loop around Sidney Peak Ranch.
"Sidney Peak will have some climbing, but in general, it's a very quiet road. It's an entry-level ride on what's usually a private road, so it's a great opportunity," Lindquist said.
Registration for the event is going well, she said, and organizers expect the extra ride to help expand the event to more riders.
Last summer's event attracted about 325 riders. This year's is expected to hit its cap of 500.
"We've got the perfect storm," said Laura Cusenbary, who helped organize the event and currently is in San Diego with her husband, Brad, who is battling his own cancer diagnosis.
Sunshine Kids helps children diagnosed with cancer take vacations and explore new, fun activities. During the process, they can temporarily put aside worries and forget about their diseases.
Supporting that group took on extra meaning for Brad Cusenbary, another event organizer, when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He said Thursday that things are going well for him.
"Things are going great — better and better every day, so we'll see," he said.
He's also excited about the momentum building for this year's Tour de Steamboat.
"Looking at the preregistrations as an indicator and because the route we've added, this is a growing event, and it's going to be spectacular," Cusenbary said.
Registration remains open for the event, but a $25 late charge will be added. The 110-mile ride costs $100, the 40-miler is $70 and the new 25-mile trip is $60, all after the late fee.
The event also includes a benefit dinner from 6 to 9 p.m. July 16 at Sheraton Steamboat Resort. The dinner is hosted by Prudential Steamboat Realty. Hampsten will be the keynote speaker. The cost for the benefit dinner is $25 per person, and children younger than 8 are free. All proceeds will go to the Sunshine Kids.
For more information and to register, visit http://www.tourdesteamboat.com or call 970-879-0480.