Pedal Power! A Vail Welcome

By Dan Berger June 1, 2011 Published in the Summer/Fall 2011 issue of Vail-Beaver Creek Magazine

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Cycling has always been a passion in the Vail Valley, as the area’s many cycling clubs, local competitions, and extensive network of paved trails attest. And now we’re set to welcome what promises to be one of the most prestigious cycling competitions in the country—the inaugural USA Pro Cycling Challenge.

The event is attracting major cycling talent, including Olympic gold medalist Fabian Cancellara, 2008 World Cycling Championships silver medalist Svein Tuft, and even Lance Armstrong, who helped create the event. At press time, as many as 128 professional cyclists from sixteen teams were expected to compete.

The seven-day race features six stages that pass through eleven Colorado communities. Stage 3, the time trial, will be held in Vail on August 25. Stage 4, a ride from Avon to Steamboat Springs, takes place the following day.

This is not the first time the Vail Valley has hosted such a major cycling event. It was a regular stop of the Coors Classic, then the country’s most prestigious cycling event, which ran from the late 1970s to 1988 and attracted such legendary competitors as Greg LeMond, Connie Carpenter, Davis Phinney, and Raúl Alcalá.

Of course, the Vail community is no stranger to major sporting events. We’ve hosted UCI World Cup Mountain Bike races and continue to host FIS World Cup ski races each winter. Vail also is the only American venue to have been awarded two World Alpine Ski Championships, one in 1989 and the other in 1999.

Much credit for making the Vail Valley such a popular venue goes in large part to community involvement—including countless volunteers—and the efforts of the Vail Valley Foundation, which attracts and coordinates these events.

Of course, there is more going on in the valley than cycling this summer. On the cultural side, there’s the Vail International Dance Festival and the Vail Jazz Festival, both of which are featured in this issue, as well as the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, with three world-renowned orchestras in residence.

Within these pages you’ll also discover how Vail has transformed into a wine town and learn about the increasing popularity of garden-to-table cooking among local restaurants. And there’s a plethora of other useful information that helps enhance the Vail Valley experience for locals and visitors alike.

So welcome to our community, enjoy the races, and have a great summer.

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