Lance Armstrong, Ritter making Colorado cycling announcement
DENVER, Colorado – A dawn bicycle ride Gov. Bill Ritter took two years ago with Jonathan Vaughters, CEO of Team Garmin-Transitions, may have led to high-level pro cycling’s return to Colorado.The eight-day race, scheduled for next August, will be announced at a news conference this morning on the state capitol steps. And the event will get a celebrity push from seven-time Tour De France champion Lance Armstrong. He announced on Twitter Monday night that he will join Ritter for the announcement.”Denver! Join me & Gov Ritter @ the Capitol 4 an exciting announcement Wed @ 10am. Bring ur bike because we’re ALL going for a ride after,” Armstrong announced.Ritter appears to be excited, too, Tweeting, “Looking foward to joining @lancearmstrong for tomorrow’s annoucement @10am at the Capitol.”The race, along with the Tour of California, will be the only ones on U.S. soil as the tours of Georgia and Missouri have been canceled.”Basically I told him, from an exposure and economic and enthusiasm standpoint, the state of Colorado should have a bike race,” Vaughters said. “It’s ridiculous that California has the biggest race in the U.S., and Colorado only has a couple of medium-level local events.”Vaughters said he remembers the huge crowds at the Coors Classic, Colorado’s last major pro race that ended in 1988. He said sales tax from visitors will be “10 times what the money spent on the race is going to be.”Vaughters said he hopes his Boulder-based team, which has competed in the last three Tour de France races, will be invited and expects all major European teams to take part.”To have two major races in the U.S. is pretty important,” he said. “The Tour of California is a great event, but Colorado is the state where the movement of cycling at the highest level was born. You’ve got to have an event that shows the world what U.S. cycling is all about.”The August dates, he said, will fit perfectly between the Vuelta de Espaa and the world championships in Copenhagen that fall.