Tom Danielson, shown here racing for Team Garmin Transitions at the Vuelta a Espana in September 2010, will race for Team Garmin-Cervelo in the Tour de France. Photo courtesy of wp.tomdanielson.com.
Tom Danielson left a lingering mark on Fort Lewis College. While a Business Administration major from 1997 - 2002, he raced for the FLC Cycling Team and in 2002 won an individual national championship in mountain biking while leading the team to one of its 16 national titles.
In 2003, Danielson returned to his alma mater to hand over a check for $7,000 to the Fort Lewis College Foundation to create the Tom Danielson Cycling Scholarship, the country's first-ever collegiate cycling scholarship.
Now Danielson, racing for Boulder-based team Garmin-Cervelo, is creating history again, carrying his legacy of success that began at Fort Lewis all the way to the Tour de France's global stage. Danielson earned a spot in cycling's most prestigious competition after finishing 9th overall in the Tour de Suisse on June 19.
Danielson's achievement parallels a year of accomplishment for his former racing team. For the second year in a row, FLC Cycling is the best collegiate cycling program in the country after earning the highest overall point total for the 2010-2011 season in USA Cycling's Division 1. The season-championship title is FLC Cycling's fourth since its founding in 1994. The team also won a national championship in mountain biking, finished second in the nation in cyclocross, and third in both track and road.
Danielson created the scholarship that now bears his name with his prize money from his victory in the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic in 2003. The fund was embellished by his winning a challenge from several local business owners, who said that if Danielson broke the long-standing record for the race from Durango to Silverton, they would each match his prize money and donate it to the scholarship. Tom was successful, and Fort Lewis cyclists have been the real winners ever since.
"It is special for me," Danielson told Cycling News at the December 2003 check-presentation ceremony. "When I was at school here I knew I wanted to be a pro and I also wanted a degree. There was a point where I became a bit lost in direction with school and cycling at the same time, and I wasn't really riding well. It was this cycling team and this college community that helped me get back on track."
Contribute to the Tom Danielson Cycling Scholarship via the Fort Lewis Foundation.
The annual Durango Fall Blaze Bicycle Tour also benefits scholarships for the FLC Cycling Team. The Fall Blaze offers three different tour options, including a 37-mile, 60-mile, and 100-mile ride. A cannon blast starts the tour and a police escort leads the riders out from the center of campus. There are several food/aid stations along the way, support vehicles on the course, and a party at the finish line back in the center of campus. All proceeds benefit the FLC Cycling Scholarship Fund. This year's tour is Saturday, October 1. Learn more and register at durangofallblaze.com.
Learn more about Tom Danielson here.
The 98th Tour de France begins July 2 in La Barre-de-Monts, France, and runs through July 24, ending at the Champs-Élysées, in Paris. Learn more about the Tour de France here.