USA Pro Challenge Race Comes Through Colorado Springs

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Thousands of people packed the streets of Colorado Springs on Thursday for “America's Race.”

For seven straight days elite world athletes are racing through the Colorado Rockies in the USA Pro Challenge.

This race has an impact on our local economy. Many downtown business owners tell 11 News they are happy the race wove through Colorado Springs this year. One owner saw his business double.

The top cyclists in the world embarked on a 70-mile circuit through Colorado Springs. We caught up with a few athletes before they took off.

"It's going to be strongest man winning,” said Jens Voight of Trek Factory Racing.

“It’s difficult terrain in the Garden of the Gods stretch,” said Tom Danielson of the Garmin Sharp team.

The USA Pro Challenge says their race is the largest spectator event in the history of our state.

“It doesn't happen every year. We knew it was a once in a lifetime thing to do,” said spectator Julie Gilliam.

“I’m amazed at how strong these guys are,” said spectator Frank Szorc.

11 News talked to downtown store owners about the impact the race had on business on Thursday.

"Really pretty good for us today, lot of spectators all over the place coming in to get a snack,” explained George Stone, owner of French Fry Heaven.

“Around 3 o'clock a lot more people came in from Tejon to get ice cream,” said Tanner Howard of Josh and John’s Ice Cream.

The racers finished on Tejon Street. World class sprinter, Elia Viviani, crossed the line first, earning the stage 4 title.

But some racers say not so fast--there are still three more stages left.

“It ain't over until the fat lady sings, right? So we got three more days to go!” said Voight.

“You just have to stay calm and get ready to suffer,” said Tejay van Garderen.

Tejay van Garderen remains in the yellow jersey as the overall race leader. On Friday the competitors will race 104 miles from Woodland Park to Breckenridge.