Inducted in 2005 for Contributor
Promoter – Coors International Bicycle Classic 1979 TO 1986, Michael Aisner became public relations director for the Red Zinger Bicycle Classic in 1977. For the next two years, Aisner helped grow the Red Zinger using unique exposures for cycling and the race, including a race film short shown in movie theaters before feature films.
In 1979, Aisner took title sponsorship of the Colorado stage race to the Coors Brewery, starting a near decade relationship with the event that eventually became recognized as the fifth largest stage race in the world. Over the years, it expanded to over two weeks, including stages in Hawaii , California , Wyoming , Nevada and Colorado.
Under his ownership and direction, the Coors International Bicycle Classic has been credited with launching the careers of notable cycling stars: Greg LeMond, Davis Phinney, Jeannie Longo, Alexi Grewal, Steve Bauer, Andy Hampsten, Phil Anderson, Raul Alcala, Connie Carpenter to name just a few. The internationally unique Pro/Am mix included the Soviet gold Olympic team, Bernard Hinault, Giuseppe Saronni and many other well-known cycling names. The race was considered the biggest, most important women’s race in the world and it influenced Tour de France race director Jean-Marie LeBlanc to include a women’s division in the Tour.
In 1980, Aisner promoted an indoor track race in Denver , which became the first cycling event ever televised on the then new cable outlet, ESPN. Aisner was named one of the Top 10 Most Influential figures in international cycling by a French sports publication and he held a seat at the UCI, representing the USA . The race’s success as an effective marketing and media tool led Aisner to the annual IEG Sponsorship Conference, which he continues to address and consult now several decades later.
The Coors Classic was carried live on CBS and NBC Sports and was the first sporting assignment for John Tesh, launching him off to Emmy-award winning network TV coverage of the Tour de France. The race was featured in a Warner Bros film, American Flyers with Kevin Costner. It’s legendary custom race merchandise was sold in hundreds of stores around the world and in its last two years, the Classic’s collectible merchandise line exceeded $1 million in sales worldwide.
For the past 22 years, Aisner has been the co-voice of the USPRO Championships in Philadelphia and other major races including the San Francisco Grand Prix, Race Across America and Tour of Georgia, and hosting duties at Lance Armstrong’s Tour of Hope and Ride the Roses events. For four years, Aisner was the consultant of record to Saturn & General Motors, creating, among other programs, Saturn CyberBike, a virtual stationary bike race unit, which appeared at auto shows and live on the Today Show and CNBC. In 1995, he received the Korbel Award for his contributions to cycling. He is currently consulting Race Across America, and Killerspin, chases total solar eclipses and is editing a behind-the-scenes TV documentary he shot exclusively at the Tour de France called, The Unseen Tour.