Colorado Classic cancels men’s race, plans women’s UCI event for 2019
The Colorado Classic men’s race is dead.
In its place, organizers will now hold a stand-alone Colorado Classic women’s stage race, August 22-25. The four-day race will include live streaming, a sizable prize purse, and UCI standing. The news was announced Tuesday morning by race owner RPM Events Group at a media event at the Colorado State Capitol building in downtown Denver.
“Our ability to impact men’s cycling was minimal,” said RPM Chairman Ken Gart. “Our ability to impact women’s cycling around the globe is really dramatic.”
Gart said that the race will boost the women’s prize purse by 400 percent over its 2018 numbers, and also pay a travel stipend to each team. The race will then pay for a live stream of the four-day race that will be televised on Facebook.
“We’re putting our money where our mouth is,” Gart said. “Our race will be one of the most financially supportive for women in the world.”
The news comes nearly three years after RPM announced its plans to hold a UCI stage race for men’s in Colorado to replace the old USA Pro Challenge, which ended in 2015. RPM’s original business model blended a music festival with a bike race — the final two stages of the 2017 and 2018 event in Denver were held alongside the Velorama music festival. RPM also staged a women’s race alongside the men’s event.
In 2017, the women’s race was comprised of two road stages plus two criteriums. For 2018, the women’s race grew into a four-day race, which was comprised of two circuit races, a criterium, and an individual time trial. Katie Hall of UnitedHealthcare took the overall win.
“I am really excited to hear that the Colorado Classic women’s race is growing into a four-day UCI event,” said Hall in a release issued by the 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.”
The new Colorado Classic women’s race will be part of the UCI calendar and USA Cycling’s Pro Road Tour. The August 22-25 date places it as a potential warm-up event for the UCI world road championships in Yorkshire in September.
Medalist Sports will produce the event. The experienced company has produced the first two editions of the Colorado Classic as well as the USA Pro Challenge. Organizers did not reveal the course, however, Gart said it will be “built for women, specifically.”
“It will be a more challenging route and better start times,” Gart said. “We hope it will be a game-changer.”