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Bend cycling attracts top riders while boosting region’s economy

    Although the sun set Sunday on two weeks of top-level bike racing in the high desert, Bend’s opportunity to lay claim to the title of cycling capital of the United States is just dawning.

    By seamlessly hosting the nation’s longest running stage race one week and the national championships for elite, under-23 and junior road racers the next, the city burnished its bike-haven reputation and boosted its faltering economy as thousands packed hotels, jammed restaurants and filled the streets.

    And there’s more to come. USA Cycling will bring its cyclocross national championships in December. And in 2010, all three events — the Cascade Cycling Classic, road nationals and cyclocross nationals — will return to the area’s beautiful landscape that offers challenging but safe courses for competitors at every level.

    “We’re already looking forward to it,” said Tom Vinson, USA Cycling’s national event manager. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more participants next year because word of mouth is so incredibly powerful and we have a lot of happy campers here.”

    — Excerpt from The Oregonian, August 3, 2009


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