Road Cycling

Avon to host Stage 2 of Colorado Classic women’s cycling race in August – Aspen Times

Abby Mickey (left) and Katie Hall talk before the start of the Colorado Classic on Aug. 16, 2018, in Vail Village. The Colorado Classic will return to Eagle County in 2019, as Avon has agreed to be the host city for stage 2 on August 23.
Rachael Zimmerman/Special to the Vail Daily

Avon will host some of the best female road cycling professionals in the world Aug. 23 for Stage 2 of the Colorado Classic.

The decision to become a host city for the event was met with unanimous approval Tuesday, in a motion that stipulated the town’s financial commitment will not exceed $10,000.

The bulk of the town’s commitment, race organizers told the council Tuesday, will be managing traffic and road closures in town during the event, working with other communities for route selection and providing the use of Nottingham Park and town facilities.

Avon will now work with race organizers and neighboring communities to plan a route through town. While that route is uncertain, it is likely it will start and end in Avon, with the end likely to occur in the afternoon.

“To take advantage of the park, and take advantage of the stage, and take advantage of the opportunity the event will provide for ancillary events, would be to look at a mid- to late-afternoon finish,” race technical director Jeff Corbett said. “So it can roll straight into, perhaps, a band performing on stage, or a party-in-the-park kind of atmosphere.”

Women’s-only race

The Colorado Classic started two years ago as the latest incarnation of professional cycling in Colorado. The event’s overt goal was to reclaim some of the sport’s proud history in Colorado, which was once host to one of the biggest races in the world with the Coors Classic.

Vail hosted two stages last year, but crowds were underwhelming and organizers decided to go a different direction. It was announced in December the 2019 Colorado Classic will become the only women’s stand-alone stage race in the Western Hemisphere on the Union Cycliste Internationale calendar and USA Cycling’s Pro Road Tour.

It was a bold move, Colorado Classic event producer Lucy Diaz told the Avon council Tuesday, but her group was excited about the opportunity to create something more meaningful in its effort to empower women.

“Typically it’s the other way around, where the men are leading and the women are the add-on,” Diaz said. “The opportunity for women in professional bike racing is half — if not a third — of what their male counterparts have.”

By having an all-women’s race, “we’re providing a platform for these women to gain more exposure, more opportunity, more sponsorship,” Diaz said. “But really we’re trying to become a catalyst for what we see the future of sport is within cycling for women.”

Other stages to be determined

The four-stage race will take place Aug. 22 through 25. The stage locations have not yet been announced, but in addition to Avon, Denver is a likely host, as well.

The Colorado Classic was recently awarded Certifiably Green status by the city of Denver, and the race will apply the sustainable principles of Certifiably Green Denver to its operations in all host locations.

Additionally, the Colorado Classic is working with Scraps — a woman-owned and pedal-powered compost-pickup service based in Denver. Scraps will pick up all compostable trash by bicycle from the Colorado Classic race sites and a planned expo in Denver. Scraps also will consult with the race’s other host locations to encourage following similar protocols for compost pickup. The partnership with Scraps is part of the race’s commitment to divert at least 60 percent of the race’s waste from landfills to composts and recycling.

“Our mission of becoming the best pro women’s cycling race in the world includes making the race as sustainable and green as possible,” Diaz said. “We’re fortunate to have partners, sponsors and host cities who are aligned in that mission.”