The Colorado Classic® presented by VF Corporation announced on Monday the four cities that will host the all-women’s pro stage race this summer.
Race organizers and Colorado Gov. Jared Polis welcomed Snowmass Village, Avon, Boulder and Denver as the host communities for the race at a press event at the Colorado Capitol.
“We are thrilled to have such a strong line-up of communities for the 2020 event,” said Lucy Diaz, CEO of RPM Events Group, LLC. “Each market offers a notable connection to pro cycling, an ideal landscape for competitive racing and a strong commitment to bringing unique and engaging events to their community.”
She added: “Each partner also aligns with our mission to advance women in sports, and we are excited to work together to build out programming around each race stage that celebrates the athletes and engages the community.”
Held Aug. 27-30, the Colorado Classic is the premier women’s road race in the Western Hemisphere and North America’s only stand-alone women’s pro stage race.
After a 2019 debut as an all-women’s race, organizers will continue to provide financial support, global exposure and competitive opportunities for the best female cyclists from around the world, while also showcasing some of the most scenic surroundings Colorado has to offer, according to a press release sent out by race organizers.
While the courses have yet to be finalized in each location, the four-day event will feature tough climbs, gravel roads, sprints and fan-favorite circuits. With public events held at each location, race organizers said the event will be “a four-day, family-friendly celebration of health, fitness, community and of course, some Colorado pride.”
Cathy Ritter, director of the Colorado Tourism Office, said her team is happy to support the race as it continues to build momentum.
“The latest race route will not only create a challenging course for these top women cyclists, but showcase some of the most beautiful landscapes in Colorado,” Ritter said.
Colorado Classic 2020 host cities
Aug. 27, Snowmass Village
The race will kick off in the mountain town of Snowmass Village, approximately 200 miles west of Denver. Surrounded by many of Colorado’s most beautiful mountain peaks, this town is home to world class skiing and snowboarding in the winter, as well as some of the top whitewater rafting, fly fishing, hiking, and events that North America has to offer in the summer.
The race course here will be a dynamic one with screaming descents, punchy hills, and some challenging larger climbs.
“Snowmass Village is a world renowned destination for biking,” said Rose Abello, Tourism Director, Snowmass Tourism. “We were recently designated as an IMBA Gold-Level Ride Center for our mountain biking, and we look forward to shining a light on our fabulous road riding by having pro women enjoy Snowmass and the area.”
Aug. 28, Avon
For the second stage, the race returns to Avon, at the base of Beaver Creek Resort and eight miles west of Vail. Where the city may be lacking in oxygen, it makes up in generosity. At the 2019 event, the crowd-sourced “Bonus Cash Prime” — benefiting the winning rider and a local non-profit — raised an impressive $10,000, one of the largest in history of women’s cycling.
“The Avon community and our partners Beaver Creek and Bachelor Gulch welcome the return of the Colorado Classic this year,” said Mayor Sarah Smith-Hymes. “We are thrilled to host this amazing race that features top female athletes from around the world.”
After last year’s riveting race action and surprise winner, the course will again be a hybrid. Part fast and flat criterium, and part mountain stage with grades up to 14%, the final descent and run for the finish line will be epic.
Aug. 29, Boulder
On the third day, the race will travel to the cycling mecca of North America: Boulder. Just 30 minutes outside of Denver and tucked into the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Boulder has it all: acres of vast open space, mountainous terrain and a quaint cityscape with a rich foodie and university culture.
“We’re pleased to host the third day of the Colorado Classic,” said City Manager Jane Brautigam. “Boulder has a long history of professional cycling and is home to many of the world’s top cyclists. This is an excellent opportunity to see elite athletes competing on the Front Range and showcasing Boulder’s amazing community.”
While Boulder hasn’t hosted a professional road race since 2014, many racers call Boulder home, and the community is expected to be out in large. For the race action, organizers have designed a route with something for every type of racer. The course will feature nine miles of rolling gravel roads, one steep climb, and a potential for a sprint finish.
Aug. 30, Denver
The Mile High City has been a generous host for the finale of the Colorado Classic for the past three years, and continues to be a fan-favorite. Large crowds flock to the state capital to watch riders zoom by dozens of times before one final fast-and-furious dash to the finish line.
“It is an honor for Denver to once again support and host the grand finale of the Colorado Classic,” said Rachel Benedick, Executive Vice president of Sales & Services at VISIT DENVER. “We are proud to be a part of this trailblazing, world-class women’s race, and we look forward to welcoming the riders and fans for another exciting event and finish in The Mile High City.”
For this year’s stage, the course will be a nod to its predecessor, the USA Pro Challenge. As riders battle for the last remaining bonus seconds or stage glory, the Denver Circuit is sure to offer an exhilarating sprinter and spectator-friendly finale.
The full routes in each community will be released in the coming months, including key details for riders and spectators about start/finish locations, mileage, circuit laps, elevation changes, sprints and Queen of the Mountain (QOM) climbs.
Race fans are encouraged to see the action live by visiting these wonderful communities. However, for those unable to travel, the Colorado Classic will once again offer free start-to-finish TV streaming coverage to showcase the world-class racing and its surroundings.
Content and photos provided by Anne-Marije Rook, Colorado Classic, and edited by Sarah Muench/Clipped In.