Levi Leipheimer (in yellow above) led a group of five American riders at the top of the final standings of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. The race ended in Denver in front of about 100,000 enthusiastic, and knowledgeable bicycle racing fans. Many of those fans had seen every stage of this year’s inaugural event, and many were from far away. This was a talented field of riders with the top international teams vying for the win.
Welcome back to Colorado and Denver…top tier international professional bike racing!
Now, fix the Denver finish area. True bike race fans love to see the race finish and the award presentations. Organizers in Denver, presumably the same people who organized the finish areas at every other stage, did everything they could to make that impossible. Except, of course, for the so-called VIP’s who paid big bucks for the solid line of tents lining the finish. They likely paid more attention to their ribs and beer than to the race in front of them. That’s fine. We expect that. But, putting the podium right in the middle of that narrow street severely limited the people who could actually participate in the awards. A wide-open and exciting racing event was reduced to a small stage with bad sound and limited visibility, and a scene that said nothing about Denver or Colorado.
We’ll even put up with the “Smashburger Finish Line” if the race organizers figure out how to properly set up a Denver-style podium. One for the fans!