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In 2019, the Colorado Classic was the showcase of a successful women’s stage race in Colorado.
The event was heavily backed by corporate partners like the VF Corporation. It debuted an innovative live streaming model that made the race easy to watch. Chloe Dygert stole the show with four stage wins.
But that was nearly three years ago. And the race hasn’t returned since.
- How the Colorado Classic upended pro cycling’s broadcast model
- Inside the Colorado Classic’s plan to return
Due to the challenges of operating during the coronavirus pandemic, the Colorado Classic — like many domestic road races — has been on hold. The event had bold plans to return in 2021, but ongoing uncertainty laid waste to those.
Now, only six months before what would be the second edition of the women’s-only event, the race’s founders are making a public plea for support.
The following is a letter from the Colorado Classic’s founder and chairman, Ken Gart.
Dear Colorado Classic Supporters,
We need your help and the time is now.
As we celebrate International Women’s Day and Month, we would like to address the status of the 2022 Colorado Classic. We are at an unfortunate crossroads. Given the lack of financial support and sponsorship interest, we are faced with the difficult decision on whether or not to continue operating the event.
To relaunch the Colorado Classic, we need a minimum investment of $3 million. We realize this is a big ask, but after seeking funding over the past 12 months we have come up short and are now making this request public, as a final effort to leave no stone unturned. If we are unable to attain the necessary investment, the Colorado Classic and its mission to champion inclusivity and gender equity for women’s cycling will be gone.
In 2019, the Colorado Classic became the gold standard for women’s racing in the United States. After recognizing the drastic gender disparity within professional cycling, we set out on a mission to become a new best practice for women’s only racing. In a year’s time, the Colorado Classic became more than a cycling race, proving our dedication to elevating the sport for women.
We created an international platform where women are treated equally to men with prize money, broadcast coverage, and all other aspects of the race.
Due to the COVID pandemic, the Colorado Classic was forced to bring the competition to a halt in 2020, providing an opportunity to actively assess the event structure. Taking the best practices learned in Colorado, we developed a new business plan. Our vision is to build a long-term sustainable all-women’s race series throughout the United States that would culminate with the marquee event in Colorado.
In 2019, the VF Corporation stepped up to support our industry-leading event; making a statement to their customers, employees, and stakeholders with their commitment to gender equity from the bicycle to the boardroom. We thank them for their unwavering support and applaud them for investing in a cause that empowers female athletes.
Right now, we have a “blue sky” moment, and with the right partner, we can create something that makes a real and lasting impact on women’s cycling. The Colorado Classic is a game-changer, and without this event, the opportunities for female cyclists, both current and upcoming, are significantly reduced. As a Colorado native, this event and its mission are near and dear to my heart. Together we can make a difference and together we can create opportunities that catapult women’s cycling to the next level.
Our ask is simple: we need a long-term, multi-year commitment to re-launch the Colorado Classic. We need a partner with an aligned vision to change the world of cycling and continue moving the needle for equity.
The time is now.
Ken Gart, Founder and Chairman of the Colorado Classic