The upcoming Quiznos Pro Challenge, the first professional cycling race in Colorado since 1988, will pass through 11 communities from August 22 to 28. Among the many locales that lobbied to host legs of the race were Western Slope communities surrounding the Colorado National Monument. National Park Service officials denied their request, however, claiming the race and the estimated 30,000 to 50,000 attendees would damage the environment and negatively impact area wildlife (via the Denver Post).

But race organizers and other supporters aren’t convinced, and now Governor John Hickenlooper and U.S. Senator Mark Udall have joined their cause, hoping the monument can host a leg of the competition in 2012. “If the monument is able to responsibly host the event while protecting its natural and cultural resources, we believe that showcasing this majestic area as part of this world-class cycling event will bring beneficial commerce and attention to this important part of the state,” they write in a letter to the director of the Intermountain Region of the National Park Service (via the Aspen Times).