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Colorado stage race to launch in 2011

After two years of speculation, a new eight-day Colorado stage race is set to roll out in August or September 2011.

According sources that spoke with VeloNews on the condition of anonymity, the event will debut next year as an eight-day UCI stage race, following a schedule similar to that of the now-defunct Tour of Missouri.

Lance Armstrong and representatives from Governor Bill Ritter’s office have worked together since early 2009 to bring a major stage race to the state. Medalist Sports, promoters of the Tours of California, Georgia and Missouri, are involved in the event as well, and according to sources, an official announcement on the event will come next week.

Despite studies showing positive economic impact from the event, the State of Missouri Tourism Board withdrew its title sponsorship of that state’s own UCI race earlier this year. Medalist pulled the plug on the Tour of Missouri in May, opening a slot in the calendar for a new event in 2011. With the Missouri race’s September time slot open, as well as a new, two-race ProTour series in Canada the same month, the late season, pre-world championships timeframe for the Colorado race is a feasible scenario.

Colorado and Maryland have been among the states rumored to be vying to replace the Tour of Missouri as home to the second major stage race in the U.S. behind the Tour of California. All signs this week point toward Colorado assuming that position.

Sources did not comment on the title sponsor for the race. Coors Brewing Company sponsored the last major race of this kind in Colorado, the Coors Classic, which disbanded after its tenth running in 1988. Speculation has surrounded Armstrong’s role in the new race and whether he would bring the title sponsor to Colorado.

Medalist representatives declined to be interviewed for this story, opting to withhold comment until the official announcement.