Momentum building for new Colorado tour

A group of investors, led by Denver businessman Ken Gart, plans to unveil a new professional cycling race in Colorado for 2017.

A group of investors plans to unveil a new professional cycling race in Colorado for 2017. The group, led by Denver businessman Ken Gart, aims to create a better financial model for professional bicycle racing — one that doesn’t rely on an individual owner.

“Our goal is to capture the excitement of pro racing, while elevating our communities to the international stage,” Gart said in a statement. “We believe by innovating on the current approach, we can avoid the challenges that have impacted so many great American races in the past 20 years.”

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The Colorado race will also be linked to a proposed stage race in Virginia, says a source familiar with the event. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Virginia race is linked to Tim Miller, who was Chief Operation Officer of the 2015 UCI Road World Championships in Richmond.

Miller told the Dispatch that the group is still ironing out details of the event. ““There’s nothing official yet, but there is something that’s being worked on,” he said.

Details of how the races will be linked, however, was not available.

The news comes just weeks after Colorado’s USA Pro Cycling Challenge race announced it would not return. The race, which ran from 2011-15, was owned by businessmen Rick and Richard Schaden, who relinquished control of the event after its 2015 running. Race CEO Shawn Hunter attempted to form a new ownership group around the event. When a new owner could not be found, Hunter announced that the 2016 event would be cancelled.

Details are scarce at this time. A spokesman for the race said the event hopes to announce its final plans within the next 60 days. The spokesman said that the group is looking to overcome the financial challenges associated with the seven-day stage racing model.

A source familiar with the race said management is also looking at a hub-and-spoke format for the event. Unlike a point-to-point event, where a stage race travels across a region, a hub-and-spoke format has stages start in the same general area, thus avoiding the added costs of travel.

Before 2013, the Tour of Utah operated in this fashion, with most stages starting and finishing in the greater Salt Lake City area. The USA Pro Cycling Challenge operated a point-to-point event, with stages starting and finishing across the state.