The Colorado Classic cycling stage race, which took place in part in Vail last summer with both men’s and women’s professional cycling, will switch to a women’s-only format for next year, organizers announced Tuesday.
Here’s the full press release:
(DENVER, CO—DECEMBER 11, 2018)— The 2019 Colorado Classic will become the only women’s stand-alone stage race in the Western Hemisphere on the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) calendar and USA Cycling’s Pro Road Tour, organizers of the race announced today, while raising the bar for pro women’s cycling around the world.
RPM Events Group LLC, organizers of the Colorado Classic, will offer unprecedented 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.
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,” said Kristin Armstrong, the most decorated female cyclist in U.S. history, having won gold medals in each of the last three summer Olympics. “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 August 22-25, 2019 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,” said Colorado Governor-Elect Jared Polis. “The Colorado Classic reflects what our state is known for – innovation and inclusion – while showcasing Colorado’s diverse outdoor health and wellness lifestyle.”
To focus on and expand the women’s race, the Colorado Classic will forego the men’s UCI race in 2019. Organized now solely around female competition, the 2019 Colorado Classic will unveil more challenging routes, longer race distances, and better start times for women than ever before, 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,” said Ken Gart, Chairman of RPM Events Group. “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.”
More than a race, the Colorado Classic will act as a movement to inspire women, challenge and redefine female professional cycling, and ultimately, empower women of all ages to break the mold, and fight for their goals.
USA Cycling is including the women’s race in its Pro Road Tour (PRT), which showcases the premier domestic road calendar events in the U.S., including criteriums, road races, stage races and omniums.
“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. I applaud RPM for their commitment to building a world class event for women,” said Bob Stapleton, Chairman of USA Cycling and UCI Management Committee Member.
“Because of the Colorado Classic’s commitment to pro women cycling, we expect a stellar international field of approximately 20 teams and world-class racers to compete,” said Sean Petty, Race Director for the Colorado Classic.
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.
“I am really excited to hear that the Colorado Classic women’s race is growing into a 4-day, UCI event,” said Katie Hall, pro cyclist and overall winner of the 2018 Colorado Classic women’s race. “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.”