Colorado Classic pulls the plug on 2020 cycling race

All-women's professional cycling event had a stage scheduled for Avon in August

The Colorado Classic announced the cancellation of its 2020 event on Friday. The classic was set to be the premier women’s road race in the Western Hemisphere and North America’s only stand-alone women’s professional stage race.
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Race organizers for the Colorado Classic, a women’s-only professional cycling race which was hopeful for an August event this year, have made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s event.

“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,” said Lucy Diaz, CEO of RPM Events Group LLC. “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.”

Stakeholder confidence

The Colorado Classic had targeted Avon again this year for a stage as the venue proved to be an exciting choice in 2019, organizers said.

The Avon stage was to be spread out across town, taking riders from Post Boulevard on the east end of town to Lake Street in the center of town before heading up the mountain toward Beaver Creek and Bachelor Gulch.

In June, Colorado Classic organizers had announced that they were hopeful for an August event, saying while most cycling events had already canceled for the summer, they were holding off.

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Diaz said in not canceling immediately, “we believe that the state and the community and the industry, we need something to look forward to.”

On Friday, however, Diaz said they did not have the full confidence from all of their stakeholders.

“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,” Diaz said. “We will pivot our energy and efforts to continue to support the women’s peloton through our other initiatives.”

Prize money

Avon resident Chris Anthony was disappointed, saying he was excited to try to raise money for the athletes again this year. Last year, Anthony brought a “preme” to the race last year, raising an extra $10,000 for athletes to try to win during the race.

Avon Mayor Sarah Smith Hymes said the town was looking forward to the event.

“We’re deeply disappointed that we had to cancel, but I feel like it’s the right thing to do,” Hymes said. “We look forward to a bigger, better event next year.”

Not everyone in town was disappointed to hear the news. EagleVail resident Tom Simon said he thought he was speaking for many people when he said the road closures – which were immense and included a large stretch of a major thoroughfare in Highway 6 – were an inconvenience that was simply not worth it.

“It’s too much,” Simon said of the event.

The Colorado Classic followed the cancellation notice with a plea to fans to get involved in the #WeRide for Women fundraiser and virtual ride.

“This campaign 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,” Classic organizers wrote in a release issued Friday. “For the next two weeks, fans, industry, and sponsors will have the opportunity to donate to the #WeRide Team Development fund — which will be directly distributed to women’s race teams — and join the teams on a Zwift ride on July 29th.”

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