With the Pro Cycling Challenge coming to an end just three years after its inception, there has been a rebirth of support and excitement surrounding the need for another pro cycling race to capture the minds and hearts of cycling fans in the United States. The Challenge took place in Colorado and showcased the states rugged terrain, beautiful vistas and hilly climbs that rival those found in the European Alps. This summer Colorado will once again become center stage during the inaugural Colorado Classic Bike Race.
The race will take place over four stages and travel through three of Colorado’s more iconic destinations. The race kicks off in Colorado Springs where the riders will race six laps. They will cover 93.5 miles (150.4 km) and climb 5,934 vertical ft. weaving between downtown and the famous Garden of the Gods National Landmark.
Stage two takes riders further into the mountains. This circuit consists of 10 laps in and around the old mining town of Breckenridge, CO. Here the riders will meet their match climbing a staggering 7,000 vertical feet over a total of 64 miles. During the Pro Cycling Challenge, Breckenridge was a fan favorite due to the famed Moonstone climb and Illinois Gulch decent, which the riders will now have to visit 10 times!
The race will then head towards Denver for the final two stages. Stage three consists of an 81 mile (130 km) out-and-back between RiNo race hub on the Peak to Peak Highway and then back to the Mile High City. Course highlights include Golden Gate Canyon State Park, Gap Road, and the King of the Mountain (KOM). Stage four will return riders to the circuit format consisting of 10 laps and a total of 74.6 miles (120.1 km). With a 7.5 mile course and everything on the line for the riders, stage four will definitely be a fun day to watch.
In total, the four day race will cover 503.5 km with 21,587 feet of climbing and showcase some of the worlds best riders. Pros will be representing some of the sports most prolific race teams such as Cannondale, BMC, and Trek–Segafredo. In addition to the men’s race there will also be a women’s race over the first two days of competition.
With all of the hype and excitement surrounding the athletes and competition it might be easy to overlook the central race village known as Velorama. Twelve blocks in the RiNo art district will be shut down and turned into a three-day street party celebrating Colorado’s rich biking culture. There will be multiple food vendors on hand along with bike expos and concerts. Headliners include Death Cab for Cutie and Wilco.
For those not located in any of the hosting cities, the Colorado Classic will be televised on NBCSN and live streamed on NBC Sports Gold.
Men’s Colorado Classic route
- Stage 1: Colorado Springs circuit, 150.4km
- Stage 2: Breckenridge circuit, 103km
- Stage 3: Denver, 130km
- Stage 4: Denver circuit, 120.1km
Women’s Colorado Classic route
- Stage 1: Colorado Springs circuit, 61.7km
- Stage 2: Breckenridge circuit, 51.5km