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Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com (File).

USA Pro Challenge changes ownership, seeks investors

The Schaden family is stepping down from its role as financial steward of the Colorado race, leaving organizers searching for investors.

DENVER — The USA Pro Challenge announced Wednesday that the Schaden family will step down from its role as the race’s backer to allow for a new ownership group to take over the five-year-old race.

“Five years ago, Rick and Richard Schaden were leaders in the creation of the USA Pro Challenge,” said Shawn Hunter, USA Pro Challenge CEO and co-chairman. “Without their incredible financial investments, America’s premier professional bike race would never have found its start. Our fans, our state, and all of our event’s partners and sponsors are grateful for all they have done.”

Hunter, and Ken Gart, a business and community leader appointed by Governor Hickenlooper to serve as Colorado’s Bike Czar, will lead the creation of a new community investment group that it hopes will operate the event without interruption. This group will be assembled immediately to search for potential investors to support the race.

According to organizers, the Pro Challenge has grown into the largest spectator event in Colorado history. The economic impact of the event is estimated at $130 million each year.

“It has truly been an honor and privilege for our family to have had the opportunity to be the founding fathers of such a great event, and we couldn’t be more proud of race management, as well as the thousands of volunteers, and the state and local promoters that have made this event such a success,” said Rick Schaden, outgoing chairman.

“The Schadens deserve our gratitude for their generous support,” said Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. “This race has grown to be one of our most celebrated events, and I look forward to assisting in this important transition.”