USA Pro Challenge Cancels 2016 Race

February 12, 2016
Photo: USA Pro Challenge final day
Riders in the main pack work their way along a stretch from Boulder to Golden, during the seventh and final stage of the USA Pro Challenge bike race, in Denver, Sunday Aug. 24, 2014. The 78-mile seventh stage finished up with several laps around downtown Denver.

"Building a solid platform of this type takes time and the efforts of many diverse stakeholders, and while we will not be conducting America’s Race this year, we are diligently working to complete the necessary pieces for 2017," said the race's CEO Shawn Hunter in a statement.

The founders of the USA Pro Challenge gave up ownership of the race last September. The race is still seeking new owners and sponsors.

"It's a little bit sad for cycling and for Colorado," said former professional cyclist Scott Mercier, who was leading the charge to get the Pro Challenge's opening stage to the Western Slope. "I was just focused on trying to make sure if it happened that Grand Junction was prepared to host."

Mercier's group raised more than $105,000 to go toward the costs of the race after the City Council balked at the event's cost. He said the Pro Challenge would be the largest event in Grand Junction since the race's predecessor -- the Coors Classic -- three decades ago.

Like the event's organizers, Mercier says he's also turning his sights to next year.