The USA Pro Challenge will not happen this year.
Organizers of the race, which would have counted 2016 as its sixth year hosting the world's top cyclists pedaling across the state, need more time to establish a new ownership structure and secure long-term investors. Pushing the race to 2017 gives organizers more time to enlist national sponsors and potentially add new Pro Challenge races across the country.
"What we don't want to do it put a Band-Aid on this. We are going to take a pause and focus," said Shawn Hunter, the longtime chief of the race. "Unless we can pull this off in a manner like we have for the last five years, we think the prudent thing is to hold off and launch in 2017."
Since October, Hunter has led a volunteer team in a search for community and national sponsors for the high profile race.
The USA Pro Challenge's founders, restaurant chain owners Rick and Richard Schaden, relinquished control of the race in late September, providing Hunter a chance to build a new ownership model not based on a single family.
In a statement sent to Denver7, Hunter states:
As we finish the transition of the USA Pro Challenge to a new ownership group, the focus has been on the continuing legacy of the race. The timing and work involved in this endeavor does not allow us to produce the event in 2016 and achieve all the goals of our important stakeholders. Instead, we have targeted 2017 to restart this iconic race. Since the inaugural USA Pro Challenge in 2011, the race has been a great Colorado community asset and has quickly become one of the most exciting races on the global cycling calendar, for fans and competitors.
While forming a new ownership group for the event, we have been focused on ensuring the longevity of the race, expanding its coverage, and aligning it with other United States cycling events and activities. Building a solid platform of this type takes time and the efforts of many diverse stakeholders, and while we will not be conducting America’s Race this year, we are diligently working to complete the necessary pieces for 2017.
We have made great strides over the past months and look to re-launch when we finish this phase of the process. We thank all of our world-class Colorado communities, sponsors and benefactors that have and continue to help us achieve the goal of producing the best race in the world. A special thank you goes to Rick and Richard Schaden who originally launched the race in 2011. Without their vision and support we would not be here.
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