Camera's top 10 local news stories of 2012

Editor's note: The Camera is counting down the Top 10 local news stories of 2012 as chosen by newsroom staff. Readers also voted for their top picks.

10. Boulder's 'Falling Bear' rules the Web

9. Trader Joe's is coming to Boulder

8. NIST's David Wineland wins Nobel Prize

7. USA Pro Cycling Challenge wows Boulder

Readers' picks

10. CU men's basketball team wins Pac-12, breaks into Top 25

9. Boulder County's hot, dry summer

8.CU makes unprecedented efforts to snuff 4/20

7. USA Pro Cycling Challenge wows Boulder

Considering that in the late 1970s Boulder's Red Zinger Bicycle Classic race was considered America's answer to the Tour de France, it's no surprise that the USA Pro Cycling Challenge's 2012 stage six finish in Boulder was a momentous event.

The race skipped Boulder in its inaugural year, in 2011, but on Aug. 25 of this year, its Golden-to-Boulder stage brought professional cycling back to the city.

The Boulder stage presented numerous logistical challenges, but by the time it was over, local organizing committee co-chairman Barry Siff had dubbed it "the biggest day in American pro cycling history."

Organizers began pursuing a Boulder stage for the race in early 2011. Cycling enthusiasts cheered in April when the official route of the Boulder stage -- which led riders up Boulder Canyon, across the Peak to Peak Highway and twice through downtown Boulder before finishing with a grueling push up Flagstaff Mountain -- was announced.

A Boulder ordinance banning competitive events on city open space and concerns about extreme fire danger threatened to derail the race's heralded Flagstaff finish. Eventually -- with the help of an emergency city ordinance -- Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle OK'd the Flagstaff finish three days before the race.

Thousands of cycling fans gathered on Flagstaff Mountain for the finish, and thousands more attended the lively "Finish Festival" in downtown Boulder or observed the race elsewhere in town.

Boulder resident Rory Sutherland, a native Australian who moved to the city in 2007, was the first to cross the finish line near the Flagstaff amphitheater, winning stage six, though Illinois resident Christian Vande Velde would eventually win the race on its seventh day.

The overall economic impact of the race was debatable -- many businesses in the downtown area reported a boost in sales, while others reported a decline -- but a post-race survey showed 82 percent of local businesses wanted the race to return in 2013.

That was not to be, however. Local organizers announced in November that after speaking with USA Pro Cycling Challenge CEO Shawn Hunter, the race was unlikely to return to the city in 2013. The organizing committee chose not to submit a bid for next year's race, choosing instead to focus on a 2014 stage.