The first iteration of the Colorado Classic cycling tour as a standalone women’s event next month will feature 220 miles of riding with nearly 13,700 feet of climbing, organizers said Friday, with two stages in the mountains and two in the Denver metro.
The tour will open Aug. 22 in Steamboat Springs with a 53-mile stage that includes 4,255 feet of climbing. Stage 2 in Avon is a 50-miler that incorporates a difficult climb at Beaver Creek.
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Stage 3 in Golden will cover nearly 64 miles with seven laps around downtown Golden and roads between North Table Mountain and South Table Mountain.
Stage 4 in Denver will cover nearly 53 miles with eight laps of a circuit that includes downtown streets while incorporating the traditional eastward section on 17th Avenue to City Park.
“This will be, by far, the most challenging course we’ve had for the women’s Colorado Classic and this year’s route provides something for everyone,” race director Sean Petty said in a news release. “The courses offer two incredible days in the mountains, starting with over 4,000 feet of climbing in Steamboat Springs, and a brutal climb will be featured before the (finish) on Stage 2 in Avon. And, we’ll have opportunities for the sprinters in Stages 3 and 4 in Golden and Denver.”
The Steamboat stage is a one-lap loop, starting and finishing at the ski area’s Meadows parking lot. It will head south and west on County Road 14, northwest on Colorado 131 through Oak Creek and continue north on county roads 27 and 33 before swinging east back to town with six miles of gravel road.
The Avon Stage on Aug 23 will have seven five-mile laps through Avon before finishing with a 15-mile loop incorporating an arduous climb on the road that leads to Beaver Creek and continuing to climb Daybreak Ridge with multiple switchbacks before descending to town via Bachelor Gulch.
The Golden Stage on Aug. 24 will start and finish downtown at the famous “Howdy Folks!” arch, and the Denver Stage on Aug. 25 will have a new start/finish location at Coors Field.
The Colorado Classic was created in 2017 after the demise of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in 2015. In 2017 it had four stages for men and two for women. In year two there were four stages for each gender. Faced with limited resources, this year race organizers dropped the men’s races, RPM Events Group chairman Ken Gart said, in order to put on “one great race instead of two average ones.”