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Lance Armstrong, Bill Ritter, Announce Colorado's Return To Elite Cycling With 'Quiznos Pro Challenge'

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What started as a conversation between Lance Armstrong and Governor Ritter last year has turned into a reality. And it has the wheels to prove it.

Colorado's return to elite road-racing, trumpeted by seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong at a press conference this morning, is slated for an inaugural run in August 2011. The race will be sponsored by Denver-based Quiznos, and called the Quiznos Pro Challenge.

While the exact route has yet to be announced, it is expected to last eight days and include several different stages. A Quiznos spokeswoman said Wednesday that races will occur "all over [the] state," with submissions being fielded starting tomorrow.

At a the press conference Wednesday, Armstrong acknowledged the difficulty inherent in comebacks--referring both to his own return to pro cycling, and the Coors Classic, Colorado's now-defunct stage-race that fizzled in 1988 due to a lack of funding.

VeloNation.com expressed enthusiasm for the event, as American cycling events have disappeared in the last several years. The Tour of Missouri and Tour de Georgia, two major U.S. races, were both canceled this year.

The Quiznos Pro Challenge will join the Tour of California as the only elite cycling events on U.S. soil.