Energy already racing at the 2018 Colorado Classic
DENVER— Gov. John Hickenlooper, organizers of the second annual Colorado Classic and top men’s and women’s athletes shared their enthusiasm Wednesday for hundreds of miles of cycling action that will unfold during the four-stage race that kicks off Thursday in Vail.
Gov. John Hickenlooper put it best when he said, “there’s nothing like seeing Colorado from a bike. Our state’s natural beauty and terrain make it a destination for premier cycling. I’m excited to welcome back this world-class field of cyclists and see this event continue to grow.”
“Colorado is one of our largest membership hubs,” said Derek Bouchard-Hall, President & CEO of USA Cycling. “The state loves pro bike racing. We’re extremely pleased that the Colorado Classic is here to build on the state’s proud tradition with both men’s and women’s events.”
With 15 men’s teams and 15 women’s teams, the Aug. 16-19 Colorado Classic will feature more than 180 of the top pro men and women cyclists racing through mountain terrain and urban settings, with Stages 1 and 2 planned for Vail before moving to Denver for Stage 3 presented by UnitedHealthcare, and Stage 4 presented by Gates Industrial Corporation.
“The Colorado Classic is quickly becoming one of America’s benchmark cycling events,” said Jim Birrell, Colorado Classic race director with Medalist Sports. “We believe that the routes we’ve chosen for this year’s race will truly push our incredible lineup of athletes to their fullest potential. It’s going to be a great show.”
No stranger to the challenging terrain in question, 2017 Colorado Classic runner up Serghei Tvetcov (Jelly Belly P/B Maxxis), is looking forward to taking the stacked international field to task on the 2018 courses.
“Last year it was great. This year it’s going to be great, but still hard. All is hard in the mountains. I try to race every day like a new race. To control the race, you need to be smart,” Tvetcov said.
The Colorado Classic men’s race is sanctioned by Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and is designated as a 2.HC race, which is the highest category outside of World Tour races. Both the men’s and women’s races are part of USA Cycling’s Pro Road Tour, which showcases the premier domestic road events in the United States.
“We are fortunate to have a women’s field that possesses Olympic medalists, World Champions and World Tour race winners as well as some of the most talented, young, rising U.S. stars,” said women’s race director Sean Petty. “The expansion of the race from two to four days is vitally important to the development of women’s cycling and will provide another worthy winner.”
Colorado native Abby Mickey (Rally), who finished third overall in the 2017 Colorado Classic, is eager to try her speed on some of the same terrain as the men’s field.
“It’s really cool that women get to do the same time trial course as the men,” said Mickey, who won the GoPro Mountain Games Time Trial earlier this summer on the same course on tap for Friday’s Stage 2. “Being from Colorado, this race is a big deal for me. The altitude will be really interesting. It levels a lot of playing fields.”
The Colorado Classic has re-imagined bike racing to be more fan-friendly and promises that you can get close to the action. With routes that start and finish in the same location, smaller team sizes for more competitive racing, and a shorter stage format, this year’s race builds on that approach by expanding the women’s race from two to four stages on routes similar to the men’s and multiple spectator-friendly “Race Rally Points” and “Community Rally Points” where fans can cheer on racers and party with friends.
In addition, spectators can get close to the action in new and expanded ways – online with the newly released Colorado Classic Tour Tracker presented by UnitedHealthcare mobile app, live coverage on Altitude Sports & Entertainment and Eurosport around the world, and a new syndication of live streaming among multiple partners, including Colorado Tourism Office, Vail Valley Foundation, Education First, 9News, USA Cycling, 303 Cycling, Cycling Tips, Global Cycling Network and in Spanish language on Bicigoga.com.
“The strength of our men’s and women’s fields are a testament to the drawing power that Colorado and its fans have, and we can’t wait to watch them in action,” said Ken Gart, Chairman of RPM Events Group, which runs the Colorado Classic. “Our motto this year is ‘Get Close to the Action.’ There is no shortage of ways fans can do that. Action is a key word for us, because the Colorado Classic and Velorama Festival are community celebrations of being active — of being healthy and being outside.”
When in Denver, the race has a companion festival, Velorama (August 17-19), a three-day celebration of music and cycling set in the heart of the RiNo Art District. Velorama features headliner and local bands; experiential cycling events; amateur criterium bike races; an interactive Bike Expo; the Velorama Rhythm Rumble speed and style pump track race; craft beer, wine and hard cider from local breweries; cuisine from 20 local food trucks; a chance to “Race the Train” on a bike when it runs by the Festival; and the Colorado Classic start/finish and criterium on Saturday and Sunday.