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Jul 10, 2010 12:08 AM by Andy Koen

Cycling championship begins

Once again Cheyenne Mountain State Park is a flurry of carbon-fiber frames, aluminum alloy wheels and bright spandex outfits as the Carmichael Training Systems International Classic mountain bike race returns to the Pikes Peak Region.

Race promoter Andy Bohlmann has a hard time concealing his excitement about hosting one of professional cycling premier events.

"It's huge!" Bohlmann exclaimed. "We are on the international calendar. We're thrilled."

Bohlmann says the success of last year race encouraged him and track designer Matt Benassi to make year's race is bigger and better with three stages of racing.

Friday night's time trials are just a warm up for Saturday's short track sprints.

"We'll have high speed laps, 2 minute 3 minute lap times and we're going to be using the photo finish camera, I mean we're going to have full on bike sprints," Bohlmann said.

A field of sixty professional riders, their teams and trainers are all setting up camp in the park for the event. 

The classic is the fifth and final race in the USA Cycling PRO-XCT Series.

"The riders earn international points, pro-ranking team points, both men and women, and we have a $10,000 cash prize list for the pro men and women," Bohlmann explained.

Thanks to events like the Classic and next months Assault on the Peak, Colorado Springs is quickly growing its reputation as an elite destination in the cycling world.

"Within the community I think we've been known as a very strong cycling destination for a very long time, but now I think the words just really getting out there," says Chelsy Murphy of the Convention and Visitors Bureau Experience Colorado Springs.

She points out that the city was recently ranked 18th among the top 50 bike-friendly cities in America by Bicycling Magazine. 

"I think it's just really showing the nation that we're the place to come for cycling," said Murphy.

American Georgia Gould recorded the fastest time among the pro women Friday night at 19:14.  Canadian Max Plaxton leads the pro men with a time of 17:14.

Friday's times will be added to the overall results from competitions on Saturday and Sunday to determine a champion.

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