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by Neal Rogers
January 25, 2017
Photography by Wil Matthews/Cor Vos
The new UCI stage race to be held in Colorado this summer has revealed its name, logo, dates, and host cities.
The UCI 2.HC Colorado Classic will be held August 10-13, with four days of men’s racing and two days of women’s racing. The race will start in Colorado Springs, head into the mountains for a stage in Breckenridge, and return to the foothills for two stages starting and finishing in Denver.
The event fills the void left behind when the USA Pro Challenge folded last year, utilizing the same spot on the calendar, as well as host cities visited by the Colorado stage race that ran from 2011 through 2015.
The event is being organized by RPM Events Group, a group of self-described “philanthropic community investors” with a vision of “re-inventing cycling events that are sustainable and fun, while providing a long-term positive social and economic impact to citizens and communities.”
Asked about funding behind the event, Colorado Classic CEO David Koff told CyclingTips that RMP Events had “assembled a group of community leaders — a group of philanthropic and innovative investors all located in Denver — that understood the risks of the cycling events world and wanted to invest in it.”
“We want to create a sustainable platform and become an engine for economic development for the state and host cities,” Koff said, “and to encourage health and wellness initiatives around the race.”
The men’s peloton — 18 teams of six riders — will race more than 300 miles on what RPM is calling “fan-friendly circuits, combining the exciting elements of each day’s start and finish into the same location.”
The final two stages will start and finish in Denver’s River North (RiNo) Art District. 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.
“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.”
Stage 7 of the 2013 USA Pro Challenge started and finished in Denver. Photo: Wil Matthews/Cor Vos.
Koff said more information, including plans for multiple participation events, and how the event will be televised, will also be announced in the coming weeks.
“We are confident we will have the same level of coverage that similar events have had in the past,” Koff said.
The USA Pro Challenge was broadcast live, daily, through the NBC Sports Group.
While news of the Colorado event, first reported by CyclingTips in August, also included mention of a similar hub-and-spoke model pro race with a participation-ride element to be held in Richmond, Virginia, in September, Koff said there would be no direct relationship between the two events, as part of a greater series, this year.
“The Virginia event is on a different timeline,” Koff said. “There is a local organizing committee what will be sharing information when they are ready.”
Koff said that RPM was “supporting [the Virginia event’s] efforts,” and “sharing best practices,” but made clear that there will not be a tie between the events in 2017.
August 10 — Stage 1: Colorado Springs (men and women)
August 11 — Stage 2: Breckenridge (men)
August 11 — Denver circuit race (women)
August 12 — Stage 3: Denver, start and finish RiNo Art District (men)
August 13 — Stage 4: Denver, start and finish RiNo Art District (men) and closing festivities
For additional information, visit ColoradoClassic.com.