The U.S. Department of Interior decided Tuesday that the greater sage grouse does not need protection under the Endangered Species Act. The bird spans 11 western states including Colorado, where it lives in pockets along the western slope, but is mostly concentrated in the northwest part of the state.

Gov. John Hickenlooper was one of the many people working to avoid a federal listing for the bird. While the sage grouse decision is a win for the governor, a few other initiatives – and longtime battles in Colorado – still need his attention.

Ride the Rockies kicked off its second day with a 96 mile ride from Grand Junction to Hotchkiss on Monday.

Hundreds of riders braved the heat and a steep climb over the Grand Mesa. 

The ride ended in Hotchkiss where cyclists didn’t descend onto the town all at once. Some rode in small groups and others were riding solo.

Carrie Yantzer, the principal of Hotchkiss K8, and a few other supporters greeted people as they peddled past.

Yantzer said she’s happy to see Ride the Rockies return to town. 

bikes, USA Pro Challenge, cyclists
Laura Palmisano

The second stage of the USA Pro Challenge bike race kicked off Tuesday morning. 

Over 120 top cyclists from around the world pedaled 105 miles from Aspen to Crested Butte. 

American Robin Carpenter won Stage 2 of the race. Golden native Alex Howes took second again. Howes now holds the yellow jersey as the race lead. 

About 50 race fans gathered on Highway 133 where it forks right to go up Kebler Pass or left to head up McClure Pass. 

The USA Pro Challenge started in Aspen on Monday.  Over 120 cyclists from around the world competed in a circuit race between Aspen and Snowmass. 

Colorado Public Radio talked to race announcer Phil Liggett.  He said the riders were worried about the opening day because aspen is already at altitude. 

"The guys who want to win this race…the race is over 7 days, a total of just over 800 miles in a week, it’s a tough week for them…but they know that a mistake on the first day and they may as well not bother with the rest of the week," Leggit told CPR. 

Joanna Calabrese

The streets of Paonia were packed with bicycles this past Tuesday, as riders in the 19th Annual Bicycle Tour of Colorado stopped into town on Day 3 of their 438-mile loop across the state.

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