Grand Junction in, Fort Collins out for USA Pro Challenge 2016

Grand Junction backers raise over $100,000 to host race

The Grand Junction, Colorado city council approved funding to host the 2016 USA Pro Challenge in a 5-2 vote on Wednesday, freeing up $50,000 of cash and $35,000 of in-kind donations to go toward the event. The council had initially been opposed to the measure, but passed it this week after community organisers raised over $100,000, according to media reports.

It will be the first time the USA Pro Challenge will travel outside of the Rocky Mountains and Front Range regions and into the Western part of the state. Grand Junction is a popular mountain biking destination and home to the Colorado National Monument, a spectacular series of plateaus and canyons that formerly hosted the Coors Classic.

The USA Pro Challenge will not, however, be revisiting Fort Collins, as local organisers declined to repeat their involvement in the race.

“An every other year basis makes the most sense for us,” local organizing committee spokesman Eric Thompson said to The Coloradoan. “It gives us a chance to step back, see what worked and what we could do better.”

The race is still without a title sponsor, and under new ownership after previous owners Rick and Richard Schaden stepped out of that role in favor of putting the race under the domain of a group of investors.

The pair spent a reported sum of $20 million over the past five years to build the race to its current status. The event went from losing $10 million in the first year to coming $2 million shy this season. Current race CEO Shawn Hunter reportedly teamed up with Denver businessman Ken Gart, who leads Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper's 'Pedal Colorado' initiative, as part of the new ownership group.

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