Colorado's newest pro bike race, the Colorado Classic, debuts August 10 in Colorado Springs. Investors are counting on a revamped format and a three-day street party to make it a success.
They're making a big bet: the Classic's predecessor, the USA Pro Challenge drew some of the world's top racers and about 1 million spectators to the Centennial State. But when organizers looked at the bottom line, they canceled the 2016 race, citing difficulty attracting sponsors and the high costs of a seven-day race across the state.
Backers of the new race are taking a more modest approach: Each day's race will be begin and end in the same city. The men's teams will race in Colorado Springs; Friday, Breckenridge; Saturday a stage that begins in Denver, climbs the Peak-to-Peak Highway west of Boulder and returns to Denver. The men's Classic will end with a circuit of Denver Sunday. Women will race in Colorado Springs and Breckenridge, returning to Denver for a criterium Friday night.
Along with the race, there'll be a new event, Velorama Colorado. Headquartered in Denver's RiNo neighborhood, it'll open Friday night and run through the weekend with live bands, an art market and other events. Entrance fees will start at $45. Race spokesman Ben Davis tells Colorado Matters that the entertainment will provide needed revenue for the race.
Where to Watch
Need some prime race viewing spots? Classic spokesman Ben Davis offered some of his favorites (Or you can try to pick your own using the route maps).
- Stage One: In Colorado Springs; Garden of the Gods
- Stage Two: Breckenridge; Moonstone Hill
- Stage Three: Denver, Peak-to-Peak Highway, Denver; Golden Gate Canyon, Gap Road
- Stage Four: Denver; City Park
Just as with the USA Pro Challenge, Colorado's roads are the key to the courses. Motorists should expect major closures and delays. The Denver Post has a handy guide.