When Josh Yeaton won the Superior Morgul Classic omnium in 2011, it reaffirmed his decision to give professional cycling a go -- or at least to try.

"My win in 2011 was the first time I really had done well at the semi-professional level," Yeaton said, who also won the criterium stage last year. "That was kind of an eye-opener for me. I thought 'This is a lot of fun and maybe with a couple more years of work, I can take it to the next level and become a professional level cyclist.'"

His Horizon/Panache teammate Chris Winn won the race's overall title in 2012, so whether Yeaton races to win or in a supporting role this year, he said he's eager to be competing in Superior again at the third annual three-day race Friday through Sunday.

Friday night features a time trial, followed by Saturday's criterium and Sunday's Morgul Bismark, a legendary 13.3-mile loop which includes a 750 vertical foot hump, affectionately named "The Wall."

For non-competitive cyclists who want a chance at "The Wall," race organizers are hosting a citizen's race Sunday before the pro men and women's races.

Knowing that he's had success at the Superior Morgul Classic in the past gives him added confidence this year, he said.

Meanwhile Winn, who moved to Colorado from Australia in 2008, said he doesn't feel any pressure to win again in 2013.

"It's a new year and certainly I'd like to repeat successes from last year, but we have to see how it plays out and see how the legs feel," Winn said. "If not myself, one of my other teammates can win."


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On the women's side, Exergy Twenty16 riders Heather Fischer and Cari Higgins are expected to race well in Superior. Fischer finished third in last year's omnium, while her teammate Higgins finished fifth overall and won the criterium.

"It's always a climbers course and we've got several good climbers who live in the area," Higgins said. "We'll put all of our resources behind Heather Fischer. She's the girl to beat."

Fischer, who was Yeaton's teammate on the University of Colorado club team and also graduated in 2012, said she's had a "learning year" as she's made the transition from amateur to professional. Last year, she finished third overall in Superior.

She spent March and April at the 2013 Spring Classics, a series of races in northern Europe, which didn't require a lot of climbing -- her specialty. Still, she's looking forward to meeting "The Wall" head on again this year.

"It's fun to ride a course with such history behind it," Fischer said. "That's why I like it. And I really like 'The Wall.' It's a fantastic race. It's a challenging course and it brings out a lot of the local talent."

The Morgul Bismark was made famous by the late 1970s-era Red Zinger Bicycle Classic, which transformed into the Coors Classic in 1980. The race continued until 1988, and started back up again in 2010, reborn as the Superior Morgul Classic.

The Superior Morgul Classic was organized by the Town of Superior until it handed over organizing and marketing duties to Without Limits (formerly Boulder Racing) prior to the 2012 race.

"(It's) obviously a fantastic event to highlight a historic bike course, so I think it has a positive effect on a lot of the restaurants and businesses," said Superior Chamber of Commerce executive director Heather Cracraft. "It's only the third year of the race, so we're still fine tuning all the details."

The chamber hasn't conducted any economic impact studies yet on the race, though Cracraft said that could be a possibility this year.

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Racers to watch

Heather Fischer: Exergy Twenty16. Known as a climber, look for Fischer on "The Wall" of the Morgul Bismark on Sunday.

Kimberley Turner: Naked Women's Racing. Tough as nails, Turner finished the Tour de Gila earlier this month after a nasty crash that exposed bone.

Robin Eckmann and Yannick Eckmann: California Giant/Specialized. Brothers from Kirchzarten, Germany. Competitors say they like to breakaway in road races and are often hard to catch.

Chris Winn: Horizon/Panache. 2012 defending omnium champ

Josh Yeaton: Horizon/Panache. 2011 and 2012 criterium winner, 2011 omnium champ

Kennett Peterson: Team Rio Grande. Peterson said he was unprepared for the classic last year, but this year he's on many cyclists' watch list.

Cari Higgins: Exergy Twenty16. 2012 criterium winner

If you go

What: Superior Morgul Classic

When: Friday-Sunday

Friday time trial elite race times: Pro men begin at 3:45 p.m., staggered times. Pro women begin at 4:24 p.m.

Saturday criterium elite race times: Women Pro1-2-3, 1:10 p.m.; Men Pro 1-2, 2:10 p.m.

Sunday Morgul Bismark elite race times: Men Pro 1-2, 11:20 a.m.; Women Pro 1-2, 12:34 p.m.

Where: Superior, various locations

More info: http://superiormorgul.com/