Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Yesterday the Vail Valley Foundation made an incredibly difficult decision to discontinue our work on bringing a major cycling event back to the valley. The Colorado Stage, so well supported here in our community and among the broader cycling community, could not gather enough support from the corporate world to allow us to complete our mission of bringing pro cycling back to Colorado.
To know how difficult it was for us to cancel this event, you would first need to know the level of compassion and love the Foundation’s staff and board of directors have for this sport. Our staff includes some of the valley’s most dedicated cyclists, and our board has long envisioned a great road cycling event should take place here—a place that is so passionate about the sport.
I cannot offer you enough apologies. I cannot explain in enough words the sadness we all feel in losing an event we have longed to produce. Mostly, I cannot thank you all enough for the way you each embraced the concept of this event, the way you rallied around the challenges it would bring and the way you anticipated seeing the great cyclists of the world take on your own back-roads.
Special thanks go out to those who have labored hard and loved long this event. To the towns of Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Leadville, Alma, Buena Vista and Minturn, thank you for all you have done. To the Colorado State Patrol, words cannot express our deep thanks for your commitment to this endeavor. To the volunteers who had begun the work, to S.O.S. for their help, to the police departments and public works groups of Vail and Beaver Creek, you are unequaled in your commitment. To our partners USA Cycling, thank you for believing in us before, and believing in us still.
Please accept my deepest regrets on behalf of the Foundation and rest assured that if we could have done it, we would have. Please know that when the time and conditions are right, we hope to be able to say, “mission accomplished.”
President, Vail Valley Foundation
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
VVF TO CANCEL INAUGURAL COLORADO STAGE INTERNATIONAL CYCLE CLASSIC
VAIL, Colorado—In a move that’s unprecedented for the Vail Valley Foundation, the organization has been forced to pull the plug on the inaugural Colorado Stage International Cycle Classic road bike race scheduled for August 22-24, 2008.
“When requesting the event be placed on the UCI [Union Cycliste Internationale] calendar, we recognized the challenges facing us in finding enough sponsorship support,” explained Ceil Folz, President of the Vail Valley Foundation. “The declining economic picture has made these efforts increasingly difficult, and the final straw came last week when we were not able to close a deal with a presenting sponsor.”
An event the magnitude of the Colorado Stage requires a budget of nearly $2 million, says Folz. While that budget has been pared back significantly, the remaining shortfall was too large for the Vail Valley Foundation to absorb.
“Having to cancel the Colorado Stage is incredibly disappointing,” Folz continued, “because so many people have worked so hard to try and make it a reality. I know that a tremendous amount of interest has been generated in bringing major international road cycling back to Colorado, but we felt that delaying our decision any later would be unfair to the teams and sponsors that have already committed. A major bike race requires major corporate partners, and enough of those were just not in place.”
Support from the community has been enormous, led by the Town of Vail and the Beaver Creek Resort Company. Vail’s Mayor, Dick Cleveland released a statement Monday evening saying, “We’re obviously disappointed the event won’t happen here this summer as planned, but we’re optimistic we’ll have the opportunity to host the races in Vail when the time is right. The Vail Valley Foundation is an extraordinary partner of the Vail community and we commend the Foundation’s board and staff for the multitude of work that has taken place thus far to ensure the Colorado Stage would have been an event to remember. We’re hoping the legwork and coordination will be put to good use in the future, not only for this event, but for other world class activities we’ve come to expect from the Foundation and its longstanding reputation for excellence.”
John Garnsey, Executive Vice President of Vail Resorts’ Mountain Division added, “We understand and support the Vail Valley Foundation’s decision to not move forward with the Colorado Stage bike race. For 27 years, the Foundation has produced international-caliber events here in the Vail Valley, and we’re sure that when the time is right, our community will once again turn to the Foundation to lead the way.”
The Colorado Stage, a three-stage cycling race, was scheduled to feature a 135-mile road race from Breckenridge to Beaver Creek, a 72-mile circuit race in and around Vail Village and a 10-mile individual time trial from Vail Village to the East Vail cul de sac.
“I am confident that our team did all they could to make this dream a reality, and we’re so thankful to our partners who have committed and worked so hard up to this point. We are deeply disappointed to have had to make this decision, and we thank the cycling community for its understanding,” Folz concluded. “We believe in the sport of cycling, but feel the conditions were not right for it to be successful here at this time. We will continue to work with USA Cycling and UCI to determine the best methods and strategies to once again bring professional cycling back to the Vail Valley and Colorado.”
Sean Petty, CEO of USA Cycling echoed Folz’s sentiments, “I am hopeful and confident that we will have a major international cycling event in Vail in the very near future. We are grateful for all VVF has done over the years for cycling in the United States and worldwide.”
The Vail Valley Foundation is non-profit organization with a mission to enhance and sustain the spirit of the Vail Valley by providing leadership in educational, athletic and cultural endeavors. The organization produces the Birds of Prey world cup ski races, the Honda Session snowboard invitational, the American Ski Classic, the Vail International Dance Festival, as well as year-round free concert series. The Foundation is the managing organization of the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater and the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek, in addition to funding several educational initiatives for Eagle County students. For more information on all Vail Valley Foundation events, visit vvf.org.