Cycling classic cancelled for 2003 |

Cycling classic cancelled for 2003

BOULDER – Count the 2003 Boulder to Breckenridge Cycling Classic as a victim of the shaky economy.

The third-year event, which had gained notoriety as one of the most difficult one-day bike races in the world, was cancelled this week because it couldn’t secure a title sponsor.

The race started in 2000 as the (Celestial Seasonings) Zinger Cycling Classic, then became the Saturn Cycling Classic the past two years. But Saturn pulled its name – and money – from the event in March, leaving race director Len Pettyjohn scrambling to secure a title sponsor less than five months before the scheduled Aug. 9 event.

Although he had a handful of companies on board as presenting sponsors, Pettyjohn couldn’t find one to pay for the right to put its name on the race. The companies he targeted had already settled on budgets for the year.

“Selling it in the spring for a summer event was difficult,” Pettyjohn said. “It was the end of the budget cycle. There just wasn’t enough time. No one has discretionary funds this year, especially in this economy.”

The race had become somewhat of a festival in Breckenridge. While the field was huffing along the 140-mile route from Boulder to Breckenridge – via Guanella and Hoosier passes, among others – the town hosted a sports expo, free recreational rides and the Nicole Reinhart Criteriums through downtown.

Even though the town of Breckenridge didn’t want to lose the event, when Pettyjohn approached it about filling in the sponsorship void, it couldn’t find the funds.

“I think there were a lot of years we would have been able to step up to the plate,” said town of Breckenridge events assistant Julie Foster. “But this year, the money just wasn’t there. It’s a tough year for everybody.”

Both Pettyjohn and the town expect the event, which was televised last year on ESPN2, to be back in 2004. But Pettyjohn lamented the loss of continuity that this year’s cancellation will cause.

“You hate to lose the continuity because an event tends to grow year by year,” Pettyjohn said. “And when you have a break, you’re not starting from scratch, but you lose a lot of momentum.

“It’s a real loss,” he continued. “It brought a lot of people to Breckenridge. We’re very disappointed, and we’re already working on proposals for 2004 and working with sponsors, so hopefully we’ll be back soon.”

That weekend (Aug. 7-10), the annual Vet’s on the Rockies Corvette festival will hold its 30th anniversary in Breckenridge, having moved this year from its traditional venue in Frisco.

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