Women’s 2018 Colorado Classic attracts strong field of riders for second edition | PostIndependent.com

Women’s 2018 Colorado Classic attracts strong field of riders for second edition

Staff Report
Sara Poidevin of Rally Cycling gestures to the crowd in Breckenridge as she crosses the finish line en route to winning the Colorado Classic in August of 2017. Rally Cycling has confirmed the team will participate again in 2018; on Thursday, June 28, the Colorado Classic announced 14 of women’s teams slated for the 2018 race.
Summit Daily News

The women’s 2018 Colorado Classic has been extended from two stages to four stages and will attract some of the top cyclists currently on the international circuit for the race’s second edition, according to a Colorado Classic press release.

Headlining the field are Colorado Classic is Canadian defending-champion Sara Poidevin of Rally Cycling; the United States’ Katie Hall of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team, a three-time stage winner and overall champion of the 2018 AMGEN Tour of California Women’s Race, which is on the UCI Women’s WorldTour; and United States rising star and 2015 UCI Junior World Road Championships winner and Olympic silver medalist Chloe Dygert Owen of TWENTY20 presented by Sho-Air.

Roughly 88 world-class riders are expected for the women’s Colorado Classic made possible by Antero Resources, August 16-19, in Vail and Denver.

“What sets this race apart is the altitude,” Poidevin said. “We’ve had races with some stages at altitude this year, but having four stages at altitude will make the race different from other stage races, since everyone responds so differently at higher elevations. Our stages are short, meaning the racing will be aggressive from the start. Depending on how the circuit stages are raced, the time trial day will be the best opportunity for GC contenders to gain time.”

UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team is bringing in a strong squad along with Hall, featuring 2018 Tour de Feminin (Czech Republic) winner and three-time top 10 finisher at the Tour of California Leah Thomas of the United States, and American sprinter Lauren Hall, a two-time stage winner at the Women’s Tour of New Zealand and winner of this year’s Grand Prix Cycliste de Gatineau, a one-day race in Canada.

Along with Poidevin, Rally Cycling’s hugely talented team includes Boulder’s Abigail Mickey, who finished 3rd overall at the 2017 Colorado Classic; United States’ Emma White, the 2018 United States U23 National Road Race champion and Sprint Points Jersey winner at this year’s Tour of California; and rising youngster, 16-year-old American Megan Jastrab, a 2018 USA Cycling Junior Amateur Road Nationals and Criterium champion. The TWENTY20 presented by Sho-Air team will feature American sprinter Jennifer Valente, a silver medalist in the Team Pursuit at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games; American Shayna Powless, sister of professional cyclist Neilson Powless who will be racing in the men’s race; and American Allie Dragoo, winner of the 2017 Cascade Cycling Classic.

“In just our second year, we’ve grown the Colorado Classic into one of the largest stage races for women in North America, and we’re thrilled with the caliber of the riders who will be attending this year,” David Koff, CEO of RPM Events Group, the organization that puts on the race, said. “It’s a significant step toward our goal of leveling the playing field in the sport.”

Other riders to watch include Team Affinity’s duo of Leigh Ann Ganzar (USA), 2018 U.S. National Criterium Championships winner; and Mia (Manganello) Kilberg (USA), a dual-sport athlete and Olympic bronze medalist in speed skating at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics. Also, team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank’s Kendall Ryan (USA), a stage winner at this year’s AMGEN Tour of California and winner of the 2018 White Spot/Delta Road Race; and sprinter Lex Albrecht (CAN), a stage winner at both the Tour of the Gila and Thuringen Rundfahrt Ladies Tour in 2017.

Rounding out some of the other top riders in the field is Cylance Pro Cycling’s Lauren Stephens (USA), who finished 2nd overall at the 2018 Santos Women’s Tour, won the 2017 Winston Salem Cycling Classic, and was a stage winner at the 2017 Thuringen Rundfahrt Ladies Tour.

The Colorado Classic and Velorama Festival — a companion three-day celebration of bikes and music in Denver’s RiNo neighborhood that includes the start/finish line of Stages 3 and 4 as well as the Stage 3 women’s timed criterium — are developing a following in just the second year.

“Being from Colorado, this race means a lot to me,” Mickey said. “I am most excited for the time trial on Stage 2. I have raced the Go Pro Games a couple times and have always loved the course for that time trial, so I am thrilled it’s been added into the Colorado Classic.”

The second annual women’s Colorado Classic is a four-day pro cycling stage race in Vail and Denver.

The women’s race is part of the USA Cycling Pro Road Tour, which showcases the premier domestic road events in the United States.