Armstrong, Ritter discussing Colorado cycling race

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Renowned cyclist Lance Armstrong and Colorado governor Bill Ritter are reportedly “in close touch,” and are jointly planning a professional stage race to be held in Colorado during 2011.

Velo News, the international journal of competitive cycling, made the report earlier this week.

Other western states, such as California and Utah host stage races. As in the Tour de France, teams of professional cyclists compete in multi-day events which span hundreds of miles.

From 1975 to 1988, Colorado hosted an annual stage race, which began as the Celestial Seasonings Red Zinger in 1975 and became the Coors Classic during 1979.

At its zenith, the race included stages in Vail and Aspen, including the notoriously difficult Vail Pass hill climb.

But major sponsors withdrew their support, and the event was cancelled.

Subsequent efforts to revive professional stage races have had little success. Last year, the Vail Valley Foundation cancelled the “Colorado Stage International Cycle Classic” road bike race scheduled for August 22-24, 2008 because of difficulty in finding sponsors.

Armstrong said that Ritter is “motivated and eager” to make it happen, Velo News said.

“I spoke to the governor yesterday,” Armstrong said, “it’s ongoing.”

Armstrong said that the race might take place during August of 2011.

“It’s not an easy thing to pull off in terms of the logistics of the race, getting the racers, finding the space on the calendar, finding the sponsorship, all those things,” he said, “but if I was a betting man I would say it’s going to happen.”