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Cycling

A lucrative finish line in sight

    Building on the success of USA Cycling’s recent national championship event that pumped an estimated $1.5 million into the local economy, Visit Bend is in preliminary discussions with the cycling organization to host one of the organization’s annual national championship events in Bend each year through 2020, according to Visit Bend President and CEO Doug La Placa.

    In a board of directors meeting Tuesday for Visit Bend, the city’s tourism-promotion agency, La Placa said indications are that Colorado Springs, Colo,-based organization was “blown away” by Bend after the Aug. 2 completion of the USA Cycling Junior, U23 and Elite Road National Championships. As a result, USA Cycling is interested in securing a 10-year host agreement with Visit Bend that would begin in 2011, La Placa said.

    “By all accounts… they came away very happy,” La Placa said.

    Tom Vinson, the national events manager for USA Cycling, said Bend “exceeded” the organization’s expectations for the recently completed race. The only thing he had concerns about was the heat, he joked. Daily temperatures soared during the final days of July and in early August.

    “The hospitality of Bend was wonderful… the venue was great and we received nothing but compliments from our athletes and their parents,” Vinson said. “The only downside, and something we don’t have any control over: it was warm.”

    La Placa said initial discussions about a longer-term agreement were held between Visit Bend and USA Cycling before its organizers left after the race’s conclusion. Visit Bend currently has a two-year agreement with USA Cycling to host the Junior, U23 and Elite Road National Championships and the Cyclocross National Championships in 2009 and 2010.

    La Placa emphasized the discussions are still preliminary but said he’s confident negotiations will produce some sort of hosting arrangement.

    — Excerpt from the Bend Bulletin, August 19, 2009


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