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June 14, 2017
Photography by Wil Matthews/Cor Vos
The men’s professional peloton of the inaugural Colorado Classic will cover 313 miles (503.5 km) and face more than 20,000 feet of high-altitude climbing in four stages that will showcase the state’s terrain and enhance viewing options for fans through a consistent circuit-racing format, race organizers announced Wednesday.
The August 10-13 Colorado Classic race routes will visit Colorado Springs, Breckenridge, and Denver. Each course starts and finishes from the same location — as opposed to point-to-point races — and stages 1, 2 and 4 are circuits featuring multiple laps on challenging courses, promising repeated opportunities for fans to see riders over the course of the event.
The August 10-11 women’s race will deliver 70 miles over two days of racing in Colorado Springs and Breckenridge.
“Each course will give fans numerous opportunities in a single day to see the sport’s top riders,” said David Koff, CEO of RPM Events Group, the organization formed to put on the race. “And the start-finish areas are being built to be magnets of activity before, during, and after each race. Our goal is to have you come out for one experience, and to stick around for many, many more.”
The inaugural Colorado Classic is sanctioned by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and designated as a 2.HC race, the highest category outside of WorldTour races.
Stage 1 will cover a total of 93.5 miles (150.4 km) as riders push the pace for six laps on a 15.58-mile (25.1 km) course in the shadow of Pikes Peak, running between downtown Colorado Springs and the sandstone formations of the city’s iconic Garden of the Gods.
Stage 2 will be a test of endurance and willpower over 64 miles (103 km) in the scenic mining town of Breckenridge.
During 10 laps on the 6.4-mile (10.3 km) course, riders will face more than 7,000 feet of climbing, including multiple runs up the climb of Moonstone Road — and the subsequent thrilling descent down Illinois Gulch.
The action moves to Denver for Stages 3 and 4, as the Colorado Classic anchors the new Velorama Festival, a three-day bike, music, and craft festival in the city’s RiNo Art District.
The Denver start-finish area is within the ticketed Velorama Festival grounds and will provide incredible vantage points for catching the race action. Wilco, Death Cab for Cutie, Old 97’s and the Jayhawks will headline three days of music with tickets, which also provide access to the race start-finish line and the festival marketplace, available online.
Stage 3 will be contested on an 81-mile (130 km) out-and-back course that runs from the RiNo race hub to the mountains west of Denver on the Peak to Peak Highway, and then returns to the Mile High City through scenic Golden Gate Canyon State Park to what is expected to be a finishing sprint through the streets of Denver. Among the day’s highlights will be race action on Gap Road in the foothills west of Denver. On that stretch, riders will face the toughest part of the course, on dirt roads with steep climbs and rolling hills.
Stage 4 will once again highlight the start-and-finish area within the Velorama Festival grounds and send riders on a 7.5-mile (12km) city circuit that stretches from RiNo to City Park and back. Riders will do 10 laps in the final stage, for a total of 74.6 miles (120.1 km) on what is expected to be a thrilling final day of racing.
The Colorado Classic has announced 14 teams that will participate in the August 10-13 event. Additional squads will be added in coming weeks to bring the field to between 16 and 18 teams, organizers said.
Four UCI World Teams were invited, including three that are registered in the United States: BMC Racing, Cannondale-Drapac, Trek-Segafredo, and UAE Team Emirates.
Five UCI Professional Continental teams were invited: Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, Israel Cycling Academy, Nippo-Vini Fantini, Team Novo Nordisk, and UnitedHealthcare.
Additionally, five UCI Continental teams, all registered with USA Cycling, were invited: Axeon Hagens Berman, Elevate-KHS, Holowesko-Citadel, Jelly Belly-Maxxis, and Rally Cycling.
The four-day race will be televised on NBCSN and live streamed on NBC Sports Gold, NBC Sports Digital’s live streaming direct-to-consumer subscription app. Paul Sherwen will call the action, joined by analysts Christian Vande Velde and Bob Roll.
The two stages of the women’s Colorado Classic will be conducted on similar courses to stages 1 and 2 of the men’s course.
Stage 1 of the women’s race will cover 38.36 miles (61.7 km) over multiple laps in Colorado Springs, and will send a field of the best women cyclists through the Garden of the Gods.
The second and final stage will cover 32 miles (51.5 km) over five laps on the Breckenridge course, with riders conquering Moonstone hill over and over again.
No admission is being charged to the start-finish areas in Colorado Springs and Breckenridge, and cycling fans will find countless areas to cheer on racers for free from alongside the courses in all four stages.