Some things just go together naturally, like peanut butter and jelly, Michael Bay and movies where stuff blows up, and the 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge and Fort Lewis College. The Challenge, which will be held in August 2012, is a stage race across Colorado that will bring some of the best cyclists in the world to Durango as Fort Lewis’ hometown was chosen as the kickoff point of the race.
It doesn’t take long to see why Durango is such a perfect fit for one of the premier cycling events in the world. Not only is Durango a great cycling community, but Fort Lewis College Cycling is the top collegiate cycling program in country two years running. The Skyhawks are the winners of 18 cycling national championships and just barely missed a 19th with a second place finish at the USA Cycling Cyclo-Cross National Championships earlier this month.
The route for the Durango stage of the Pro Cycling Challenge has yet to be determined, but what is known is that Fort Lewis College will be the site of the Cycling Village where the riders will live. In other words, for a few days in August, Fort Lewis will become the world’s epicenter of professional cycling. That’s fitting given that FLC is already the epicenter of collegiate cycling.
The list of the riders participating in the 2012 Challenge hasn’t been released yet, but a quick look at last year’s final standings reveals some huge names. The top five finishers read like a who’s who of pro cycling: Levi Leipheimer, Christian VandeVelde, Tejay Van Garderen, George Hincapie, and, of course, FLC alumnus Tom Danielson. Other cycling superstars that rode in the 2011 Challenge include Frank and Andy Schleck, Ivan Basso, and 2011 Tour de France winner Cadel Evans.
The 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge kicks off in Durango on August 20 and finishes in Denver on August 26. In addition to the race itself, both Durango and Fort Lewis College are planning events surrounding race day. Visit http://www.usaprocyclingchallenge.com for more information on the race and check www.fortlewis.edu in the coming months for more on the College’s events.