Local organizers of the USA Pro Challenge were delighted to receive word this week that the Aug. 18 race start time has been changed to allow for a larger television audience on the East Coast.
The first stage of the cycling race was slotted for a 1:05 p.m. local start time, but now will begin at 2:15 p.m., or 4:15 p.m. on the East Coast. Representatives from the USA Pro Challenge worked with NBC, which will broadcast the first stage on NBC Sports, to make the change.
“If we could have picked an ideal time to start the race, this is it,” said Nancy Lesley, director of special events and planning for the city of Aspen. “We’re beyond thrilled. What an honor for our community.”
With the later local starting time, viewers on the East Coast will have an opportunity to watch the race live during a time when viewership is amongst the highest.
For local race organizers, having Aspen and Snowmass put on full display during such a high-profile time period on the East Coast is the kind of exposure they were hoping for.
“We can showcase Aspen and Snowmass as the premier summer biking communities they’ve become,” said Bill Tomcich, the president of Stay Aspen Snowmass. “To have all those extra viewers that will see our communities is priceless.”
Corey Enloe, the general manager at the Sky Hotel and member of the Aspen Chamber Resort Association, said the popularity of the race and exposure it’s bringing should convince the original naysayers that bringing the race to the Roaring Fork Valley was the right decision.
“We sure hear a lot about developing long-term sustainability in this community,” Enloe said. “Cycling is huge here. The race and the exposure it’s bringing will enhance the sustainability we’re looking for in the summer.”
Stage 1 of the race will feature three laps of nearly 22 miles each between Aspen and Snowmass. Stage 2 also begins in Aspen, then heads through Carbondale and up Highway 133 before reaching the finish at Mount Crested Butte.