Cycling Through Tahoe's History
From 1975 to 1988 the Coors Classic, hosted in-part by Squaw Valley, became the fourth largest bicycle race in the world after the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana. The race grew from a humble 3-day tour to a 2-week event spread across multiple states. The Coors Classic launched the careers of some of the world’s greatest professional cyclists and paved the way for the sport’s growth in the United States. Champions from the Coors Classic were likely to see their career excel rapidly to cycling's largest and most challenging race events. Additionally, the Coors Classic was a premiere event for professional women's racing. The events most decorated participants include familiar names like Davis Phinney, Greg LeMond, Andy Hampstein and Olympic gold medalist Connie Carpenter.
Original event poster at left, Andy Hampstein's race day bike at right, and a gritty mountain pass seen below to convey the challenge of rough roads and low-tech bikes/tires.
The summer of 1985 shook up the generally quiet summer in Lake Tahoe. Squaw Valley had the honor of hosting 2 stages of the Coors International Classic this year with world class participants like Greg LeMond and Bernard “Badger” Hinault. Stage 3 ended in Squaw Valley after traveling 191 kilometers up the hill from Nevada City. Stage 4 started in Squaw Valley with a 159 kilometer race down to Reno, NV by way of Carson City and Virginia City. The 1985 race awarded Greg LeMond the overall win and in 1986 Hinault took the overall win but LeMond held onto a sentimental victory in his hometown, Reno, NV. Squaw Valley remained the host for these stages through the race's last year in 1988.
The Coor's Classic was known by many as the USA's unofficial national tour. The event set a stage that helped foster the American cycling scene. Ironically, a lot of the 80's aesthetic style from eyewear to apparel design is making it's way back to the future and onto the shelves at Pacos this summer. The 80's are alive again, stop into the shop for some spirited reminiscing.