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Colorado Classic will continue in 2020 with women’s-only format

The Colorado Classic will return in 2020 with a four-day women's race held August 27-30.

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After a successful inaugural edition as a women’s-only race, the Colorado Classic will return in 2020.

The news was released by the race on Tuesday morning.

The race will again feature four days of racing across Colorado, and will again feature competition between female riders and teams. Race organizers have tentatively chosen August 27-30 as the dates for the 2020 edition.

In a release, Lucy Diaz, COO of RPM Events Group, said the ownership group was “inspired” by the feedback they received after the 2019 edition, which was the race’s first iteration as a women’s-only event.

“The racers loved it, the fans showed up, our host cities provided fantastic support, people tuned in to the streaming that was broadcast all over the world, and new and returning sponsors were thrilled with the event,” Diaz said. “We are using the momentum from this year to turn our attention towards planning the 2020 event. We have a great foundation to build on and are excited to explore new elements and opportunities with our key stakeholders.”

Tuesday’s announcement marks another milestone on the four-year history of the race. Upon the race’s launch in 2017, RPM made a public push to create a financially sustainable event.

The inaugural edition was held alongside the Velorama music festival, and the racing featured  UCI professional men’s event, as well as stand-along women’s races. Under RPM’s initial financial model, ticket revenue from the rock concert would offset the cost of the bike race. Unfortunately for ownership, the race’s opening two editions produced financial losses.

For year three, the event dropped the music festival, and focused on producing a women’s-only race.

Diaz told VeloNews that focusing solely on a women’s race helped the organization cut costs, attract sponsors, and streamline its marketing push.

“We used to have the Velorama festival, and with that you drive cash through ticket sales, so a lot of our marketing was focused around that. The bike race was maybe an afterthought,” Diaz said. “Now, the vision is to propel sports forward for women, and it’s a great model for an event, and it can be focused 100 percent on women, to help the athletes and the teams.”

For 2019 the Colorado Classic inked a presenting sponsorship deal with VF Corporation, the parent company for such well-known brands as The North Face, Smartwool, and Dickies, among others. The race rolled over existing deals with the Denver-based Gates Corporation, regional bank FirstBank, and the Colorado Tourism Office, among other state agencies.

The race also produced an innovative live streaming broadcast, that significantly cut costs from its 2017 and 2018 broadcasts.

Ken Gart, chairman of RPM, told VeloNews that the he anticipated the 2019 race to accrue slim financial losses.

“We’re going to be really close to break even. We still won’t get there but we’re remarkably close,” Gart said. “We picked up some [sponsorship] and lost some right at the end. Based up on interest we’ve had, we’ll be able to break even next year.”