TheUSA Pro Cycling Challenge
,formerly (and briefly) known as the Quiznos Pro Challenge
, kicked off Monday in Colorado Springs and comes to Denver on the race's final leg Sunday.
The finish line will be on Broadway next to the State Capitol, but the last leg of the route will lead directly past the original Quiznos store at 1275 Grant Street, according to the race website -- a detail that could reflect the fact that Quiznos majority owner Rick Schaden last year forked over $10 million for Quiznos to become the race's title sponsor.
At this point, however, Denver-based Quiznos, which is having serious financial problems according to recent news reports, is just one of eighteen founding partners, a group that includes Smashburger, Nissan, the state of Colorado and King Soopers.
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Did those financial problems contribute to the name change? USA Pro Cycling Challenge spokeswoman Stacie Lange will only say that "the goal was to build one of the premiere races in the world, and having a name to reflect that vision was why we changed the name." The Quiznos investment, she adds, "provides the financial security of the race," but she won't say whether the company got a refund after the name was changed. Nor will she reveal how much the other companies gave.
The original Quiznos store -- commemorated with a sign out front that says, "The first store -1981" -- was opened by Jimmy Lambatos and Todd Disner, and served up New York-style toasted subs. Schaden ate there for the first time in 1984 and so enjoyed it that three years later he opened a franchise in Boulder -- with the help of his father, attorney Dick Schaden -- when he was still a student at the University of Colorado.
Lambatos and the Schadens teamed up, and Quiznos began expanding soon after. In 1991, the Schadens acquired all the stores and rights to the name. Today, there are approximately 3,500 Quiznos stores around the world, making it the second-largest sub chain behind Subways. The vast majority of those Quiznos locations are franchises -- which has led to other headaches for the company, as outlined in our 2007 Westword cover story.
But the original store at 13th and Grant, which cyclists will be pedaling past on Sunday, is still owned by the corporation.