Armstrong announces Colorado race

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 3:27 PM ET

DENVER -- Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong on Wednesday helped announce plans to hold an international pro cycling stage race in Colorado next August.

The event, which is called the Quiznos Pro Challenge, is expected to attract top international and North American teams and will be held from August 22-28. It will bring stage racing back to Colorado, which was host to the Coors Classic -- North America's biggest international cycling event at the time -- from 1979-88.

"The return of a major international stage race to Colorado is wonderful news, not only for the state of Colorado, but also for the continued development of American professional cycling," said Steve Johnson, chief executive officer, USA Cycling.

Armstrong began working with Colorado Governor Bill Ritter last year and will be a partner in the event, helping to plan and execute the race.

"What started out as a 'daydream' of mine on a long ride outside of Aspen will now become a reality," Armstrong said. "This race, although new, is already rich in history as is Colorado's storied cycling background -- a perfect way to honour our past champions and highlight our future ones."

The seven-day race will likely include mountain, sprint and downtown stages. It will be sanctioned by USA Cycling and the International Cycling Union (UCI), and will be managed by Medalist Sports, which also manages the Tour of California.

Major professional stage racing in the United States has undergone changes in recent years. The Tour de Georgia was contested from 2003-08 before being canceled for financial reasons each of the last two years. The Tour of Missouri was held three times (2007-09) before being canceled this year due to lack of funding.

Meanwhile, the Tour of California debuted in 2006 as an early-season race and flourished after being held in May of this year.

The Colorado event, sponsored by Denver-based Quiznos, will fill a spot in the calendar after July's Tour de France. Host cities, course routes and participating teams will be announced in coming months.


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