OGDEN, Utah (VN) — Jens Voigt is about to be reminded what everyone who rides a bike in Colorado already knows. Everyone is a cycling expert, and there’s a good chance they’ve ridden all the lofty climbs in the race, too.
“It’s challenging. That’s why I’m here now,” Voigt said last week during the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah. “People said, if you really want to be good in Colorado, you should be in Utah, because this is a little lower altitude.”
Voigt (RadioShack-Nissan) rode in Utah to help prepare for the USA Pro Challenge. The team will ride for Chris Horner, who hopes to go better than he did in Utah, where he finished seventh at 1:19 behind BMC Racing’s Johann Tschopp.
Voigt rode the Colorado race last year and was impressed with the acumen of the fans and the state’s proud history of cycling, be it mountain or road.
“It’s a beautiful place. It had a lot of mountain biking of course, but a strong cycling community,” he said. “So, you’ve got some expert fans there. They really know the names, they know how hard it is to go up those climbs because they did it the day before, they did it last week. So, they appreciate the effort you put it. It’s a good audience there.”
Voigt, like even the most recreational of cyclists, has a unique ability to block out the pain and start fresh each day.
“Not to save my life I could name one city from last year’s tour of Colorado. I just go: Erase and rewind.”
The Pro Challenge begins on Monday in Durango, with a stage that ends in Telluride, via Lizard Head Pass, a long, steady climb at altitude.
The seven-stage race touches some of the state’s iconic climbs and towns, from the ski-town glitz of Aspen and Telluride to a stage that ends on Boulder’s revered Flagstaff Mountain, a climb that promises to be as packed as it is steep.
The final stage ends in Denver on August 26.