Cyclo-cross races may generate $1.5 million

BOULDER – The USA Cycling Cyclo-Cross National Championships is expected to generate $1.5 million in direct tourist spending in Boulder over a weeklong period, according to a USA Cycling spokesman.

The event at Valmont Bike Park started Wednesday and wraps up on Sunday with elite women’s and men’s events.

More than 7,500 people are expected to watch the elite races, said Micah Rice, the spokesman and the vice president of national events at USA Cycling, the nonprofit industry group based in Colorado Springs. The women’s elite race is will start at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, with the men’s elite race to follow at 2:45 p.m. Elite racers have won previous cyclo-cross events to rise to the elite national level.

In all, more than 2,000 registrations have been made for races at the event, according to organizers. Some of the people racing at the event may have registered for more than one race, however.

Direct tourist spending numbers are based on previous Cyclo-Cross events and economic impact analyses done in other cities, Rice said. Many attendees come to such an event the Monday before it starts and stay until the Monday morning after it’s over, he said. The city of Boulder is expected to put together its own final economic impact analysis following the event.

USA Cycling chose the Valmont Bike Park course for the 2014 cyclo-cross championships because it was built specifically for such an event by a former national champion Pete Webber, who lives in Boulder, Rice said. Last year’s event was held in Madison, Wisconsin; other events have been held in Bend, Oregon.

“It’s a very well-rounded course for a very well-rounded rider to win,” Rice said. “Everything about this venue was built with this event in mind, so it’s an easy ‘plug-and-play.’ “

In addition to hotel rooms, restaurant receipts and race registrations, the economic impact statistics are expected to include concessions and vendor fees. An expo held at the event features more than 35 vendors including local companies such as Skratch Labs LLC, Handlebar Moustache, Boulder Beer, Retul and Rocky Mounts Inc. in Boulder. National vendors include Specialized and Cannondale brand bicycles, Nationwide Insurance and Volkswagen.

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