Colorado Classic becomes a women-only pro cycling race

Staff report
Posted 12/17/18

The Colorado Classic will become the only women's stand-alone stage race in the Western Hemisphere on the Union Cycliste Internationale calendar and USA Cycling's Pro Road Tour, according to a news …

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Colorado Classic becomes a women-only pro cycling race

Posted

The Colorado Classic will become the only women's stand-alone stage race in the Western Hemisphere on the Union Cycliste Internationale calendar and USA Cycling's Pro Road Tour, according to a news release from organizers of the race.

RPM Events Group, which organizes the Colorado Classic, will offer financial support to female athletes at the 2019 event, including a prize purse nearly four times the 2018 women's purse and more than the men's 2018 purse, along with stipends to support team travel and expenses, the release said.

With free live video streaming coverage each day of the race, the Colorado Classic will put women's cycling and Colorado on a global stage. The live stream and on-demand replays will be syndicated to fans around the world through cycling and partner websites as well as though Facebook Live and the race's Tour Tracker mobile app.

“From the inaugural race of the Colorado Classic two years ago, the organization has stood behind women,” Kristin Armstrong, the most decorated female cyclist in U.S. history, having won gold medals in the last three summer Olympics, said in the release. “The announcement today of a women's-only UCI stage race truly shows the dedication and commitment the Colorado Classic has to women in sport. I was fortunate enough to have my start in a women's-only event back in 2002 at the HP Women's Challenge; I know first-hand the tremendous amount of impact this will have on women's cycling by creating and providing opportunity for spectators and riders across the world.”

The third annual Colorado Classic will be a four-stage road race Aug. 22-25 that will bring some of the best female teams and cyclists in the world for four days of racing over challenging Colorado terrain.

“The Colorado Classic has been instrumental in bringing pro racing back to Colorado, and we are proud to support their bold move in becoming a women's-only bike race,” Colorado Governor-Elect Jared Polis said in the release. “The Colorado Classic reflects what our state is known for — innovation and inclusion - while showcasing Colorado's diverse outdoor health and wellness lifestyle.”

The Colorado Classic will forego the men's UCI race in 2019 to focus on the women's race. Organized now solely around female competition, the 2019 Colorado Classic will unveil more challenging routes, longer race distances, and better start times, positioning the event as an ideal run-up to the UCI Road World Championships following a month later and the 2020 Olympics.

“With women's cycling, we saw the greatest opportunity to fulfill our mission to create a world-class race in Colorado that is socially impactful,” Ken Gart, chairman of RPM Events Group, said in the release. “By creating one great race instead of two average ones, we can shine a bright light on Colorado and pro women's racing while affecting meaningful social change.”

Professional cycling has seen a number of major event reboots. The Colorado Classic emerged after the USA Pro Cycling Challenge multistage race, which ran from 2011 to 2015, lost its primary sponsorship and folded. From 1980 to 1988, the Coors Classic pro cycling stage race was the biggest in North America, and also featured a women's race division.

“The Colorado Classic showcases both the beauty of Colorado and the remarkable talent of these compelling athletes. Both USA Cycling and the International Cycling Union (UCI) are proud to support this outstanding event that focuses on women who are exceptional cyclists,” Bob Stapleton, chairman of USA Cycling and UCI Management Committee member, said in the release.

Since its 2017 inaugural year, the Colorado Classic has advanced women's racing in several ways. The Colorado Classic was the first major USA cycling race to go without podium hostesses, opting instead to celebrate male and female cycling legends, including Connie Carpenter Phinney.

Last year, the race expanded the race to four stages and designed the routes similar to the men's race. The Colorado Classic also has assembled an all-female team of public address announcers for calling the race, and will feature several female influencers and heroes spanning across women's athletics.

Katie Hall, pro cyclist and overall winner of the 2018 Colorado Classic women's race, said she was excited about the changes.

“Colorado is such a beautiful state and such a hotbed for American cycling that it seems like the perfect place to host a challenging UCI stage race that will feature the women,” Hall said.

To learn more about the Colorado Classic, visit coloradoclassic.com or follow @coloradoclassicpro on Instagram and Facebook.

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