Four-Day Colorado Classic Will Race Through Vail, Red Rocks and Denver's RiNo Art District

Pro Men's and Women's Road Bike Routes Will Showcase Scenic Colorado in Action-Packed and Fan-Friendly Formats

DENVER, May 16, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- More than 150 of the world's top pro men and women cyclists coming to the 2018 Colorado Classic in Vail and Denver August 16-19 will race through some of Colorado's most challenging and scenic mountain terrain and urban settings on multiple route formats announced today by race organizers.

The routes, which include mountain and city circuits, a time trial, an out-and-back, and a criterium, provide something for everyone as they challenge racers and bring fans close to the action with steep, high-altitude climbs, breakneck sprints, tight, technical street racing, and a challenging dirt uphill with King and Queen of the Mountain points on the line.

The men's field will travel a four-stage course that is nearly 245 miles long (395K) with 15,486 feet of climbing. The four-stage women's race covers roughly 80 miles (128K) and 4,818-feet of climbing.

2018 Colorado Classic Routes

The action begins in Vail, Aug. 16-17, with two mountain stages on identical routes for both the men and women. Stage 1 is a circuit through Vail Village and West Vail (eight laps men, four laps women). Stage 2 marks a return to the storied Vail Pass time-trial course that climbs from the heart of Vail Village and finishes near the 10,000-foot summit. 

The race then comes to Denver, Aug. 18-19, for a two-stage weekend finale with the start/finish each day at the Velorama Festival in the RiNo Art District. Stage 3 for the men will be a 100-mile out-and-back going to Lookout Mountain, through Red Rocks and back, while the women race a timed criterium at Velorama. Stage 4, presented by Gates Industrial Corporation, will feature men's and women's circuit racing through RiNo, downtown Denver and City Park (eight laps men, four laps women). 

Now in its second year, the Colorado Classic men's race is sanctioned by Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and designated as a 2.HC race — 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 road races in the United States, and are held in conjunction with the Velorama Festival (Aug. 17-19), a three-day celebration of music and cycling in Denver. 

Like last year, the Colorado Classic has been re-imagined to be more fan-friendly with routes that start and finish in the same location, smaller team sizes for more competitive racing, and a compact four-stage format. 

The 2018 race routes continue that approach by expanding the women's race from two to four days on routes similar to the men's. The race will also add multiple spectator-friendly "Race Rally Points" that enable fans to get close to the action and cheer riders on mountain climbs, sprints or street turns. Details on each route's Race Rally Points will be released later this spring

"The second annual Colorado Classic offers fans an opportunity to experience world-class professional cycling in Vail and Denver," said David Koff, CEO of RPM Events Group, the race and festival organizer. "With our 2018 mountain and city race routes and multiple formats, plus the three-day companion 'celebration of the bike' at Velorama, we are striving to create the most fan-friendly professional cycling event in the country."

Stage One
The Colorado Classics kicks off at Solaris in picturesque Vail Village (8,150 feet above sea level), with  women's and men's circuit races beginning at 10 a.m. and 12:15 p.m., respectively. The course is 8.8 miles (14.2 kilometers) and will remind fans of the tight, twisty roads typically found in European races. Women will ride four laps for a total of 35.2 miles (56.7k) and 2,567 feet of climbing. Men will race eight laps for a total of 64.1 miles (103.2k) and 4,390 feet of climbing. The technically challenging route goes east along Frontage Road, up a dirt climb on Mill Creek Road to a King and Queen of the Mountain, out to West Vail and back.

Stage Two
Day two features a return to the storied Vail Pass time-trial course, site of historic rides to the summit by the likes of Tejay van Garderen (USA Pro Challenge, 2014); Levi Leipheimer (USA Pro Challenge, 2011), and Bernard Hinault (Coors Classic, 1986). The 9.87-mile (15.88k) stage climbs 1,574 feet from the start at Solaris to a mountain finish near the top of Vail Pass. Racing begins at 10 a.m. for women, 12:30 p.m. for men.

Stage Three
Racers make their way to Denver's RiNo Art District, Aug. 18-19, for a weekend finale of stages that start and finish in Velorama. The men launch at 10:30 a.m. for the 100-mile (161.9k) Queen's Stage that includes 8,133 feet of climbing. The route takes racers west past Coors Field on 29th and 32nd avenues to Golden, over Lookout Mountain for a KOM, through iconic Red Rocks Park and on to Evergreen, where they hit the highpoint KOM at Cragmont Drive, and a final KOM through Indian Hills before making their way over Dinosaur Ridge for a furious sprint from Wheat Ridge High School to the finish at Velorama. Starting at 12:30 p.m., the women race an exciting timed criterium (50 minutes plus five laps) around the activity-filled Velorama Festival.  

Stage Four - Presented by Gates Industrial Corporation
The Mile High City will be on display for the final day of racing as riders lap a 9.1-mile (14.6k) circuit course from the Velorama Festival in RiNo to City Park via 17th Ave. The women begin at 10 a.m. for a four-lap circuit totaling 34.8 miles (55.2k), followed by the men's eight-lap finale totaling 71.2 miles (114.8k) at 12:15 p.m.

"I'm very excited to be racing again at the highest level in Colorado during the second edition of the Colorado Classic. Last year's race was amazing, and I think this year will be even better," said Breckenridge-based rider Taylor Shelden of the Jelly Belly presented by Maxxis Cycling Team. "I went to high school in Vail, compete in the GoPro Mountain Games there and have ridden the time trial course dozens of times, so I know what a difficult test it is. And the next day's stage over Lookout Mountain and through Red Rocks will be equally epic. Combine those with a pair of circuit races in Vail and Denver, and the Colorado Classic truly does have it all."

"As I was born and raised in Colorado this race in particularly special for me. Last year the inaugural Colorado Classic was an incredible experience, and I can't wait to come back for a full four days of racing this year," said Abby Mickey of Rally Cycling, who finished third overall among women in the 2017 race. "By adding two days to the women's race it will be a true test for us this year, and even more exciting than in 2017." 

The inaugural Colorado Classic drew tens of thousands of fans and 16 men's and 15 women's teams, including Team Rwanda, and featured Tour de France runner-up Rigoberto Urán, an international field of 150 men's and women's pro racers,17 Olympians and nine national champions. 

(Course maps, profiles and data can be downloaded here)


Course data for the men's and women's stages of the Second Annual Colorado Classic pro bike race. Riders set out on Stage 4 of the inaugural Colorado Classic in Denver's RiNo Art District in 2017. The Second Annual Colorado Classic will be held Aug. 16-19 in Vail and Denver. (Evan Semon/Colorado Classic)

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