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After a year off without a professional cycling stage race, a new version called the Colorado Classic returns with stages in Colorado Springs, Breckenridge and Denver Aug. 10-13. The inaugural race will not include stages in Vail and Beaver Creek.
The USA Pro Challenge, which ran for five years from 2011 to 2015 but ended due to a lack of sponsorship, included multiple stages in Vail and Beaver Creek, and saw some of the world’s top cycling talent roll through town.
The Denver Post broke the story earlier Wednesday. Here’s the press release on the Colorado Classic:
Inaugural “Colorado Classic” will roll through Colorado Springs, Breckenridge, and Denver Aug. 10-13, 2017
DENVER — RPM Events Group announced today that professional bicycle racing will return to the Centennial State as the inaugural Colorado Classic rolls through Colorado Springs, Breckenridge, and Denver for four exciting and entertaining days this summer.
From Aug. 10-13, a world-class and international field of professional, men cyclists will race more than 300 miles in multiple, fan-friendly circuits, combining the exciting elements of each day’s start and finish into the same location. The Colorado Classic will also feature two days of professional women’s cycling, beginning in Colorado Springs on Aug. 10 and concluding the following night with a women’s-only event under the lights in Denver.
“From the Red Zinger Bicycle Classic, to the Coors Classic and on to the USA Pro Challenge, professional bike racing has become a part of our identity in Colorado. I can’t wait to once again show off this wonderful state to the world during the Colorado Classic,” said Ken Gart, Chairman of RPM Events Group, the organization formed to put on the race. “The Colorado Classic is being developed to appeal not just to cycling fans, but a wide array of Coloradans and visitors to the state.”
The schedule for the four-day stage race:
Aug. 10 — Stage One: Colorado Springs (men and women)
Aug. 11 — Stage Two: Breckenridge (men)
Aug. 11 — Denver circuit race (women)
Aug. 12 — Stage Three: Denver, start and finish RiNo Art District (men)
Aug. 13 — Stage Four: Denver, start and finish RiNo Art District (men) and closing festivities
“I raced in Colorado in 1977 for the first time in the race known as the Red Zinger which grew into one of the biggest bike races in the world. Now 40 years later, I’m excited to see Colorado once again leading the way forward for men’s and women’s pro racing,” said Connie Carpenter Phinney of Boulder, who won the first-ever gold medal in a women’s Olympic road race.
Each day of the Colorado Classic will showcase an interactive start/finish area; and the daily routes will combine downtown circuits of each city with the beauty of Colorado’s legendary terrain and landmarks.
The inaugural Colorado Classic, designated a 2.HC race by Union Cycliste Internationale (Aigle, Switzerland), will host 18 world-class, domestic and international teams, comprised of 6-riders each. The women’s field expects some of the top professional cyclists in the U.S.
“Coloradans love pro bike racing,” said Derek Bouchard-Hall, President & CEO of USA Cycling, “and we’re extremely pleased that the Colorado Classic will continue the state’s proud tradition with both men’s and women’s events.”
The Denver portions of the race will feature a companion festival of national music acts, a marketplace and much more. Details on those plans will be released in the coming weeks.
“We’re very excited to see professional cycling return to Denver and Colorado, and proud that our great city will play host to a lively and fun-filled event,” Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “Previous major races have been great showcases for the city and state, and we have no doubt the Colorado Classic will build upon that history, delivering an epic event for everyone.”
Said David Koff, CEO of RPM Events Group: “This really is a broad-based community event. The Colorado Classic wouldn’t be happening this year without the phenomenal work and support of Gov. John Hickenlooper, the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, and our community partners in Colorado Springs, Breckenridge and Denver.”