Colorado Classic cancels the 2021 race because of COVID, hopes for 2022 return
The Colorado Classic women’s cycling race announced Thursday it would forgo an event this coming summer and focus on a return in 2022. The cancellation of a race in 2021 follows on the heels of the cancellation of the 2020 event, both due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“In 2020, we spent months working tirelessly in conjunction with state, county and city organizations, health authorities, and the sports governing bodies to come up with a COVID mitigation plan that would ensure the health and safety for everyone. In the end, the most prudent decision was still to cancel the event,” said Ken Gart, chairman of race organizer RMP Events Group, in a news release. “With the current situation being just as uncertain as it was last year, we don’t think it makes sense — financial or otherwise — to organize a 2021 event and risk another cancellation.”
The Colorado Classic, which effectively replaced the short-lived USA Pro Cycling Challenge, began in 2017 as both a men’s and women’s race.
Then, beginning with the 2019 race, RPM Events Group decided to drop the men’s race and make the event a women’s-only affair. It became the only standalone UCI women’s stage race in North America to have the “coveted” 2.1 UCI category designation.
The 2020 race would have been the fourth running of the Colorado Classic, which each year has included stages in Colorado’s mountain towns before finishing with a final stage in the heart of downtown Denver.
“This is not an easy decision to make. We know that this race holds an important place on both the domestic and international race calendars, and we remain committed to our goal of being the best women’s race in the world,” Gart said. “But we hope that by delaying the event to 2022, the pandemic will have stabilized and we’ll be able to secure the necessary financial partners to do our event justice and host another game-changing, world-class event as we did in 2019.”
While Vail, Breckenridge and Steamboat Springs had all previously hosted stages of the race, the canceled 2020 race had been scheduled to begin with a 60-mile stage in event newcomer Snowmass Village. The Aspen area hasn’t hosted professional cycling since 2015, the final year of the USA Pro Challenge. There was no indication per the news release of the Aspen area’s possible involvement in the 2022 race.
“Let me assure you that our commitment to women’s cycling is as strong as ever,” Gart said. “We continue to believe that the Colorado Classic can evolve into one of the most powerful platforms in women’s sport and we will work on achieving that goal as we set our sights on 2022.”
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