A few weeks ago something in amazing happened in cycling, and it had nothing to do with a certain 7 time tour (or former now I guess) getting stripped of his titles. No, a even better spectacle was happening, one that was enjoyed by people on both sides of cycling's 2 largest fanbases (Europe and North America). This was the spectacle of not one grand tour, the Veulta a Espana, but two grand tours; the other being the USA Pro Cycling Challange.
What you say, the UPCC can't be a grand tour it's only 7 stages. Consider this though, where were the best riders, the grand tour contenders? Answer: they were (almost) all in Colorado, USA. Names such as Cadel Evans, Vincenzo Nibali, Tyler Farrar, Christian Van de Valde, Tejay Van Garderen, and Jens Voigt did not take to the Pyrenees but rather the Rockies in a quest for cycling glory. Meanwhile, the next to contenders and a certain cyclist who is just getting over a UCI ban battle it out on the a more traditional stage. The main reason the UPCC is what I consider a grand tour is that the quality beats the quantity of the Tour of Spain, and the Ports Classic.
How though, did it become this way? Easy, the American teams of Garmin, BMC, and a team that sure has a lot of Americans in Radioshack, bring the best riders from around the world to their home race. A fact that can be said for the Spanish race, but lets face it, the Spanish like their team riders to be all Spanish. This versus the very international American squads, who only contain a select few of America's best riders. Add this fact to the course and you have a recipe for a true classic that is here to stay.
The UCI finally found a winning formula for a race in the U.S., and have made it the race that the Veulta has been throughout history. Well it may not be the Tour de France the UPCC has proven it is a truly great race with great fans, in a great location. The most exciting part of all this then is what it could become. A Tour de West, with more than just Colorado, and/or more stages, and the possibilities are endless. Mix all these ingredients and you could have a replacement for our go to race after July has passed.