USA Pro Challenge time trial in Vail could draw 30,000
By the numbers
30,000: Potential crowd in Vail for the Aug. 23 USA Pro Challenge time trial up Vail Pass.
600: Hotel rooms needed just for Pro Challenge staffers.
16: Teams participating in the challenge.
$450,000: Vail Valley Foundation’s budget to host the Aug. 23 Vail race and the Aug. 22 stage finish in Beaver Creek.
VAIL — The USA Pro Challenge tour of Colorado is quickly becoming a premier event on the pro cycling calendar. But for host towns, race stages are as much about future exposure as event-day crowds.
The Vail Town Council recently heard an update about the Aug. 23 Vail Pass time trial from Adam Lueck of the Vail Valley Foundation. Lueck told the council there could be as many as 30,000 spectators in town on race day, and that the tour itself would account for hundreds of hotel rooms on the overnight stop between the Aug. 22 stage finish in Beaver Creek and the Vail Pass time trial the next day.
Council members also wanted to know what the Foundation is doing to inform residents about road closures and other traffic impediments that go along with a big-time cycle race. Lueck said information will start going out closer to the event, and town public information director Suzanne Silverthorn noted that council members can talk about the event at the Aug. 14 community picnic in Bighorn Park.
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Exposure for Vail
But Lueck also spent a good bit of time talking about the exposure Vail will get from the event. This year’s event will be televised on the NBC Sports Network, a cable competitor to ESPN. As opposed to long stages, which feature starting and finishing towns, then long stretches of glorious Colorado scenery, the Vail Pass stage will put Vail front and center on the channel for two hours, as well as a two-hour webcast of the event. Every rider will come out of a start house with a big Vail logo on the front.
That’s “exposure” with a capital “E.”
“This is a two-hour commercial for Vail,” Lueck said.
With that amount of TV and webcast time, council members asked Lueck to be sure event announcers say the right things.
Council member Kevin Foley told Lueck that announcers last year mentioned only Beaver Creek as the host of the 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships. That makes some sense, since last year’s tour only stopped in Beaver Creek. Still, Foley asked Lueck to be sure the announcers mention Vail, too.
“It’s something we’ve been focusing on,” Lueck said.
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