Grand Junction dealt monument-al defeat in bid to host Quiznos Pro Challenge stage

The Colorado Monument says thanks, but no thanks, as Grand Junction hopes to revive a Coors Classic stage — the Tour of the Moon — for the 2012 edition of the Quiznos Pro Challenge.

One Colorado city missing out on the inaugural 2011 Quiznos Pro Challenge has begun work to secure a stage for 2012, but those efforts appear to have been dealt a blow this week. According to a report by local network affiliate NBC 11 News, an organizing committee in Grand Junction was denied access to the Colorado Monument — home to the Coors Classic Tour of the Moon — for the stage race.

According to the report, monument superintendent Joan Anzelmo distributed a letter denying a permit request that cited “safety, logistical, and preservation issues that conflict with federal guidelines for using parks.”

“I was disappointed that she didn’t approve it, but not discouraged at all,” said committee co-chair John Hopkins. “I think she gave us some good information to act on.”

Anzelmo, who met with members of the committee Thursday, wrote in the letter that, “The proposed race route would have the racers travel along the exceptionally narrow and precipitous Historic Rim Rock Drive, where crowds would likely be stacked up to view the racers and inadvertently trample native vegetation and fragile biological soil crust … and litter the route and adjacent canyon terrain with paper, plastic, food, and beverage debris.”

According to NBC 11 News, Anzelmo offered a counterproposal in the Thursday meeting that would invite riders to the monument for a ceremonial lap without the race caravan.

Hopkins said his group would press on with a counterproposal of its own and would work to identify alternative routes that would allow Grand Junction a place in the 2012 race.

“I think there’s still a reasonable opportunity to get the monument,” said Hopkins. “We’re still going to look at that.

“The monument is our first choice, there’s no doubt about that. … But we’ll move and look at other options out there.”

The inaugural Quiznos Pro Challenge is scheduled to run August 22-28 and will visit Colorado Springs, Salida, Crested Butte, Gunnison, Aspen, Vail, Avon, Steamboat Springs, Breckenridge, Golden and Denver. For a detailed rundown of the start and finish cities and proposed routes, see our story on the 2011 route announcement.