Pro Challenge May Have More Security

Apr 18, 2013

Crowd at USA Pro Challenge
Crowd at USA Pro Challenge
Credit Photo Courtesy of USA Pro Challenge

Colorado sporting events may see more security after the bombings at the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15th. One of the biggest events in Aspen this summer is the USA Pro Challenge. The road bike race in its third year. Now, state and local officials are looking closely at whether to beef up security.

Race organizers issued a statement earlier this week, saying they plan to review security procedures to make sure they are “doing everything possible to keep the USA Pro Challenge as the fun, safe family event it has always been.” The Colorado State Patrol handles security for a big part of the race. Captain Jeff Goodwin says the agency has already been planning for months... but the bombings in Boston might spur changes.

“Well I can’t divulge to you whether or not we’re going to make any plans and what those plans would be, but I’ll tell you what I can comment on, is we definitely are going to be sitting down at the table and discussing this with the owners of the race, to see if there’s any area that we need to improve.”

And that’ll include the company handling logistics for the race, Medalist Sports. So far State Patrol officials are confident in the security plans already in place. Goodwin and his crew are in charge of making sure the peloton--the main group of bike racers--is safe. The usual threats are people saying they are going to throw tacks on the racecourse--which can take down several riders and cause injuries. When it comes to handling security for spectators, that’s where local agencies call the shots.

“Sheriff’s departments, I think especially the municipalities will be brought in to, in my estimation they would be looking at security measures probably in a totally different way than they were prior to Monday, just because of what happened in Boston.”

Goodwin says those discussions have just begun.

“Everything’s at the starting point now, to come back to the table and have serious discussions about security protocols, not just along the route but I’m thinking in the start line and the finish line cities, and those talks are already underway and they’re going to continue right up until the day of the race.”

One of those cities is, of course, Aspen, which is hosting the start of the entire seven day affair. The Pitkin County Sheriff’s office handles local security for the race. And spokeswoman Blair Weyer says that’s on the agenda.

“We actually have our first meeting next week, and I can guarantee you this is something we take into consideration. The Boston Marathon will definitely be on our mind throughout the planning phases.”

The race director for the Bolder Boulder, one of the biggest footraces in the country, says he’s considering adding security this year. That’s scheduled for the Memorial Day weekend Another big Aspen event is the Food and Wine Classic in June. A spokeswoman told Aspen Public Radio that organizers take security very seriously. They too have been thinking about the Boston bombings and say, quote, “Our policy is that we do not disclose details of our plans -- that would defeat the objective at hand.”