Colorado Classic still a go, but will limit in-person viewing in favor of livestream | AspenTimes.com
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Colorado Classic still a go, but will limit in-person viewing in favor of livestream

Racers take part in last year's Colorado Classic cycling race.
Courtesy photo

Despite ongoing concerns surrounding the novel coronavirus pandemic, RPM Events Group announced Tuesday it was going forward with this year’s Colorado Classic, albeit a little differently.

Scheduled for Aug. 27-30, with Snowmass Village hosting the first stage, the country’s premier all-women’s professional road cycling race will take on a “made for TV streaming” model that will limit crowd sizes and prioritize the safety of the riders, community and staff.

“An event cancellation or postponement was explored, but as a last resort,” Lucy Diaz, CEO of RPM Events Group, said in a news release. “Our decision to move forward with the modified model aligns with our mission of ongoing support and advancement for women’s cycling. We feel that the athletes need something positive to work toward and we want to be that glimmer of hope for both the peloton and the citizens of the communities in which we race.”

The Colorado Classic made its women’s-only debut in 2019, as did what it calls its innovative TV streaming model. The “multi-dimensional” livestream was distributed through 30 different outlets and received more than 350,000 views from fans in 144 countries. Each stage of the 2019 race was streamed free, in its entirety, including post-race awards.

Changes for the 2020 race include the elimination of all on-site ancillary activities, start/finish expo festivals, and the race hospitality tents and services.

“The infrastructure around this year’s race will be scaled back, but our top priority is to create an opportunity for world-class competition in an environment that best supports and focuses on the health and wellbeing of riders and staff,” Diaz said in the news release. “This is nothing that any of us have ever experienced in our lifetime, so creating a well thought out plan takes time and collaboration.”

The Colorado Classic was first held in 2017, a replacement of sorts for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, which was held in the state from 2011 until it folded following the 2015 race. The Classic was highlighted by the men’s races in 2017 and 2018, but became a women’s-only event last year. American superstar Chloe Dygert Owen won the 2019 race after she dominated all four stages.

The opening stage of the 2020 race will be the Aspen area’s first time hosting any part of the Colorado Classic. Vail, Breckenridge and Steamboat Springs have all previously held stages of past races.

Stage 1 of the 2020 race will be on a not-yet-released route in Snowmass Village on Aug. 27. Avon will host Stage 2 and Boulder will host Stage 3 before the final stage on Aug. 30 in downtown Denver.

As of Tuesday, the state had yet to officially approve the event. Race organizers said another update should be expected in early July.

“The Colorado Classic is working diligently within the public health orders to have this race,” said Rose Abello, tourism director at Snowmass Tourism, in the news release. “We are looking forward to welcoming the best female riders from all over the world to Snowmass and look forward to cheering for them via livestream just as enthusiastically as we would have in person at the finish line.”

acolbert@aspentimes.com


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