If you go

What: Boulder City Council study session

When: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Boulder Municipal Building, 1777 Broadway

More info: To read the complete memo on a possible Boulder stage of the Pro Cycling Challenge and a possible Boulder Ironman triathlon, and to see the rest of the study session agenda, click here.

Local organizers are hoping Boulder will again host a stage of the elite USA Pro Cycling Challenge in 2014, and Ironman officials have approached the city about hosting a full triathlon here as well.

Both possibilities are in the planning phases, with a local organizing committee preparing to bid in November for a stage next year and Ironman in a "very early exploratory stage" of a Boulder competition.

The Boulder City Council on Tuesday will discuss whether to host two elite athletic events in a short time period next summer or fall and what sort of public process should proceed any decisions. The meeting is a study session, and no final decisions will be made.

Boulder hosted a stage of the 2012 Pro Cycling Challenge that ended with a dramatic finish on Flagstaff Mountain. Local officials and race organizers agreed that Boulder would not pursue a stage in the 2013 race but would consider submitting a bid for a future year.


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Andrew Shoemaker, chairman of the Boulder organizing committee for the Pro Cycling Challenge, said there seems to be excitement both from race organizers and local cycling fans to see the race return.

"It was a huge undertaking on the city's part and the race's part and not something that you can do every year, but it's something that Boulder can do to really elevate Boulder and cycling around the world," he said.

Rory Sutherland wins stage 6 of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Boulder in August 2012. Local organizers are hoping Boulder will again host a stage of the
Rory Sutherland wins stage 6 of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Boulder in August 2012. Local organizers are hoping Boulder will again host a stage of the elite race in 2014. ( CLIFF GRASSMICK )

The race also sparked controversy, with some activists expressing concern about what they saw as limited public process around the decision to host the race and about the potential environmental impact of the Flagstaff finish.

In a memo to the City Council, City Manager Jane Brautigam said race organizers "made it known ... they consider Flagstaff Mountain an indispensable part of any future Boulder stage."

Shoemaker said the Flagstaff finish made the Boulder stage distinct from any other stage in any other U.S. cycling race.

"It was one of the best days in the history of U.S. cycling," he said.

According a post-race analysis, the event cost the city $283,481 to host and had a direct fiscal impact of $48,000 from non-resident spectators.

The memo also said officials from World Triathlon Corp., which runs the Ironman competitions, had approached the city to see whether there would be support for a multi-year contract to host an Ironman event based around the Boulder Reservoir and downtown Boulder.

Ironman already holds three shorter events in Boulder, collectively known as the Boulder Tri Series. The proposal is for a full Ironman, with a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and a marathon running race.

The race would start with the swimming portion at 7 a.m., and competitors would have to finish the marathon by midnight.

According to the memo, the initial proposal calls for the swimming portion to take place at the reservoir, the bicycle race in Boulder, Weld and Larimer counties with a finish at Boulder High School and the marathon primarily along the Boulder Creek Path with a downtown finish.

An initial analysis by the city staff puts the cost to host the event at roughly $100,000. The memo said the economic impact might be significant because the Ironman is a largely amateur event, and competitors' friends and family members would attend the race to support them.

Dave Christen, race director of the Boulder Tri Series for Ironman, described the planning for a Boulder Ironman as being in the "very early exploratory stage." However, he said holding an event in Boulder makes sense.

"Boulder is an incredible triathlete community and for endurance sports in general," he said. "Operationally, this is where we call home, and it makes sense to explore this."

Christen said the logistical impact of an Ironman might be smaller than either the Bolder Boulder or the Pro Cycling Challenge, and the event would complement both of those other sporting events.

Boulder Ironman veteran Marty Kibiloski said it's surprising that Boulder doesn't already have an Ironman.

"I think it would make a lot of sense, and I'm kind of surprised it wasn't the second location picked once they left Hawaii," he said.

Boulder Mayor Matt Appelbaum said the city has to weigh the sentiment driving the desire to host such events with the costs and impacts.

"Both of these events fit in so well with Boulder and the Boulder brand," he said. "We can put constrictions around the events so they are less costly, both in financial and environmental terms."

Contact Camera Staff Writer Erica Meltzer at 303-473-1355 or meltzere@dailycamera.com.