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Historic gallery: The 1965 North American Bicycle Championship

BOULDER, Colo. (VN) — The ongoing 2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge traces its inspiration back to the Coors Classic (1980-1988), and its predecessor, the Red Zinger Classic (1975-1979). But stage racing in the Colorado Rockies dates back even earlier, at least to the 1965 North American Bicycle Championships.

1965 North American Bicycle Championship
The 1965 North American Bicycle Championships. Gary Wilson is the second rider in this photo. Photo: Rich Clarkson

BOULDER, Colo. (VN) — The ongoing 2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge traces its inspiration back to the Coors Classic (1980-1988), and its predecessor, the Red Zinger Classic (1975-1979). But stage racing in the Colorado Rockies dates back even earlier, at least to the 1965 North American Bicycle Championships.

The NABC was a two-day, 190-mile stage race starting and finishing in Aspen, held September 11-12. The race included a jaunt over Independence Pass, which the USAPCC will ride over during stage 2 Wednesday.

In a 1965 article in Sports Illustrated, the race was described as “a monster that humbled the Tour de France in every respect but distance.”

VeloNews is presenting an exclusive look at photos by famed sports photographer Rich Clarkson. For more, be sure to check out the link to the archived SI story and Clarkson’s gallery, where you can buy prints of these photos.

And if you can identify more of the riders or locations, please share in the comments section.