Battle for the big screen heats up at USA Pro Challenge

The USA Pro Challenge in Colorado has gone a little Hollywood this week with several players from competing US Postal movies at the race to research their projects.

Jay Roach, a producer, director and writer with more than 40 films to his credit, told Cyclingnews on Thursday that he's at the race to learn more about the racing and the bike culture.

"I know a little bit about it," he said while watching the exciting finish of the fourth stage from Steamboat Springs to Beaver Creek. "I've certainly been a fan for years, but I'm here to get a little bit more of a behind-the-scenes view of it."

Roach includes among his credits the Austin Powers movies that featured Mike Myers; the Meet The Parents and Meet The Fockers movies that starred Ben Stiller, Robert Deniro, Dustin Hoffman and Barbara Streisand; Borat; Dinner for Schmucks; The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy; 50 First Dates; and Mystery, Alaska.

The story Roach is working on will be told from multiple perspectives, he said, with am emphasis on Lance Armstrong and Tyler Hamilton.

"We don't have the screenplay yet, we're just developing it," Roach said. "But it's been publicized already that it's based partly on Tyler Hamilton's story, so that's what it's all about."

Although the project has not yet been "green lit," Roach said, the project is in the development stage and rights to some of the materials have been purchased. However, the director could not put a time frame on when the project would be completed.

"It's hard to tell," he said of when movie-goers could look for the film in theaters. "We have to have a really great script first and a great cast. That's all accelerated now because there are multiple projects. But that's kind of fun. I'd say it's a race within a race."

Roach has been in Colorado since the beginning of the race and said he ran into an actor who has been cast in a competing project about Armstrong and US Postal.

"Ben Foster is part of another movie that also might be developing," he said. Foster is known for his roles in 310 to Yuma with Russell Crowe, Pandorum and the Mechanic.

"We bumped into each other," Roach said. "Our story is different, so we actually joked about it while we were here."

The director said that one of the most striking impressions he's taken away from his week at the USA Pro Challenge is the tight-knit community among the competitors and entourage at the races.

"It's a very tight community and a very supportive community," he said. "The sense of the culture of it and in a way how people are constantly working on the culture of it. It's evolved these past few years, and there's a pretty incredible sense of new optimism about how clean the sport is getting over time, and that's exciting to see."

Roach was also impressed by the excitement surrounding the Colorado race in just its third year on the calendar.

"You feel the excitement in the crowd, and there's nobody more excited about cycling than Coloradoans," he said. "You see them at the top of the pass after a good long day of partying, and you realize this has got a real shot at becoming a major event. It's in a beautiful setting, and it's very high-end racing. Chris Froome is here, Sagan's here, Christian Vande Velde is here. This is the real deal and it's in paradise."

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