Aug 21, 2011 11:13 PM by Matt Stafford

Bring on the fans!

It's bringing in some of the best cyclists in the world -- and plenty of attention -- to Colorado. The USA Pro Cycling Challenge kicks off Monday in Colorado Springs. The 510-mile race will feature several Colorado cities before its finish in Denver on the 28th.

Governor John Hickenlooper attended a Sunday press conference in Colorado Springs, on the eve of the race.

"We're not sure which of these riders is going to be the winner, but we do know that the real winner is going to be Colorado," Gov. Hickenlooper told assembled media from around the world.

Organizers say that aside from TV coverage, they're hoping for one-million people to show up to watch the race in person. As for Colorado Springs, the Downtown Development Authority is expecting somewhere between 50,000 and 200,000 visitors.

"This means an influx of cash," says Mary Kelly, a local economist.

Kelly says the onus is on the organizers to put together the race; Colorado Springs just benefits from hosting part of it.

"We're just here and they're just coming to visit us; they're going to spend money in our local economy and that's great for us," says Kelly.

The People's Pedal Party downtown Sunday evening was the last big event before the race, and there were enough bike riders there to get the feeling that Colorado Springs was a good choice for the race's kick off.

"I was just out for a ride and happened upon it and thought it looked like a lot of fun, so I thought I'd check it out," Elizabeth Smith says as she made her way through the Pedal Party.

Most people seem ready for the rubber to meet the road.

"To get them here and show them what we're about; it's going to be a great thing for the city," says Jaime Kratt.

"I think it's great to see that Colorado Springs is able to host an event like this," adds Smith.

They both say they're hoping to catch some of the race. Monday's section in Colorado Springs begins at 1:15 in the Garden of the Gods. Riders will make their way into downtown on Colorado Ave.

Colorado Springs drivers should keep in mind expected road closures for Monday because of the race. Colorado Ave. will be closed from Tejon St. to 31st St. The closure will start at 11:30 a.m. and isn't expected to reopen before 4:30 p.m.

For more on the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, click here


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