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From France to Durango: Many of the best pro cyclists set their sights on Durango

Where riders in FLC's Squawker have raced, the world's best cyclists will follow at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.
Where riders in FLC's Squawker have raced, the world's best cyclists will follow at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.

Fort Lewis College is an institution used to being in the spotlight when it comes to collegiate cycling. The Skyhawk Cycling Team boasts 19 USA Cycling national championships and has won the coveted title of best cycling program in the nation three years running. Now with the impending arrival of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, FLC is preparing to become the center of the professional cycling universe, at least for a few days in August.

Fort Lewis College will serve as the Cycling Village for the first stage of the Pro Cycling Challenge, which begins August 20. This means that many of the best professional riders in the world will be living and training on campus. The teams participating in the USA Pro Cycling Challenge were recently announced and the list reads like a who’s who of pro cycling.

Vincenzo Nibali of Liquigas-Cannondale and Tejay van Garderen of BMC Racing, two of the top five finishers in the 2012 Tour de France will compete. Last year’s Tour de France winner, Cadel Evans, also of BMC will be here. Peter Sagan, points champion for the 2012 Tour de France, will ride. The Tour de France’s top team, RadioShack Nissan Trek, is also scheduled to compete at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.

Of particular interest to local cycling fans and fans of Fort Lewis College will be the arrival of Team Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda. The team includes cycling greats Christian VandeVelde, David Zabriskie, and, of course, FLC alumnus Tom Danielson. Tom’s attempt to repeat as the top finishing American in the Tour de France was cut short in 2012 by a devastating crash, but he remains positive about his chances of competing at the Pro Cycling Challenge.

“Finally on my way home back to Colorado. Spirits up as soon I will be with my family and working hard for @USAProChallenge” Tom tweeted on July 8.

With less than a month to go before the kickoff to the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, both Durango and Fort Lewis College are working hard to ensure that the town and the College are ready to take full advantage of the national and international attention that these great teams and riders will bring with them.

Learn more about the USA Pro Cycling Challenge at www.usaprocyclingchallenge.com.

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