Colorado Classic women’s cycling race canceled for 2020 because of pandemic
The Colorado Classic women’s cycling race has canceled its 2020 event citing COVID-19 safety concerns. RPM Events Group, which owns and operates the race, made the official announcement Friday morning via a news release.
Snowmass Village had been scheduled to host the first of four stages on Aug. 27. It would have been the Aspen area’s Colorado Classic debut, which held its first event in 2017 after replacing the short-lived USA Pro Cycling Challenge.
“We had great confidence in the COVID-19 mitigation plan we had developed for the race, and we were well on our way to becoming the first professional women’s bike race to be held in the U.S. since the onset of the COVID pandemic,” RPM Events Group CEO Lucy Diaz said in the news release.
“However, as the pandemic appears to be spiking again across the U.S., and after discussion with our various stakeholders, we feel it is the most prudent decision to cancel the race for 2020. We would only hold the race if we thought it was a safe, healthy environment for the athletes and that all stakeholders felt fully comfortable to move forward. At this time we do not have full confidence from all stakeholders, so we will pivot our energy and efforts to continue to support the women’s peloton through our other initiatives.”
Among those initiatives is the #WeRide for Women fundraiser and virtual ride, a new campaign that “is intended to financially support the teams who would have attended the Colorado Classic, many of whom rely on competition and prize money to support their livelihoods.” The Colorado Classic debuted as a men’s and women’s race in 2017, but last year the men’s race was dropped, making it a rare women’s-only event.
Fans will have the opportunity to donate to the #WeRide Team Development fund over the next few weeks and can join in on a virtual Zwift ride on July 29.
In June, the Colorado Classic announced it was still a go, although it was dropping all of the fan experience and pushing a “made for TV streaming” model to keep with safety guidelines related to the coronavirus pandemic. However, as COVID-19 cases continue to surge in the state and with Gov. Jared Polis issuing a statewide executive order Thursday requiring masks be worn in public, it made this year’s event happening a logistical nightmare and has ultimately been canceled.
“This was an incredibly hard decision, but it was the right one to make,” said Ken Gart, chairman of RPM Events Group, in the news release. “We are so grateful for all of our partners who have supported us this year and we continued to believe in our mission. It has been an extraordinary year, with extraordinary challenges, and it has taken a complete effort from everyone to find a way forward.”
Aspen hasn’t hosted a professional cycling race since 2015, the final year of the USA Pro Challenge. Vail, Breckenridge and Steamboat Springs have all hosted stages of the Colorado Classic since its inception in 2017, while Snowmass was set to join the list next month. After the Aug. 27 stage in Snowmass, the race had been scheduled to go to Avon for Stage 2 and Boulder for Stage 3 before wrapping up with the final stage in Denver on Aug. 30.
Carbondale artist Leah Aegerter is the current resident artist at the Grand Canyon Conservancy. She has been at the Grand Canyon since Sept. 19 and will be there through Nov. 11.