Avon likely for Colorado Classic cycling venue again in 2020
The Avon town council on Tuesday directed staff to find funding for a large pallet of events this summer, including $37,000 for the Colorado Classic women’s professional cycling race.
The Colorado Classic made its Avon debut in 2019 and while the town was envisioning an every-other-year commitment, organizers have indicated Avon would suit the circuit well again in 2020.
“Because of the other host cities that they’re looking at, and the routing, Avon is a really, really good fit this year,” town manager Eric Heil told the Avon council on Tuesday.
Avon’s 2019 course represented the Colorado Classic’s Queen Stage and took place both in town and through Bachelor Gulch in the Beaver Creek.
Australian cyclist Brodie Chapman called the course a pure challenge.
“Definitely one of the hardest climbs,” Chapman told the Denver Post. “Obviously the altitude makes it that way, and it is consistently steep … After going hard around these circuits, it adds to the element of making it hard.”
The Avon course ran seven 5-mile laps through the flat part of Avon before ascending up Daybreak Ridge at a grade of 14 percent.
The opening 35 miles required road closures throughout town. Some locals said the inconvenience wasn’t worth the action.
“Trying to get around was awful,” said Tom “TS” Simon, of EagleVail. “I heard locals and businesses complaining quite a bit, and for all of that I’ll tell you I didn’t notice very big crowds.”
Organizers were much more excited about the course.
“It made for spectacular racing,” said Anne-Marije Rook with the Colorado Classic. “There were daring moves being made and ultimately a very surprise winner, so it made for a very entertaining race.”
In 2018, the town of Vail also tried hosting a stage that closed roads so riders could do multiple laps through town.
After touting how the event could be the return of a Coors Classic-style community event, drawing large crowds, the town of Vail and the Vail Valley Foundation pulled the plug on Vail’s event following year one, despite the fact that it had been planned for multiple years.
Locals in Vail in 2018 offered similar responses to Simon’s complaints of Avon’s event.
Rook said the Colorado Classic does not yet know where it will land in 2020, but Vail will not be among the locations.
Innovative TV streaming model
While organizers won’t release details about stage locations until March, they have released the details on their viewership numbers from last year.
“The multi-dimensional live stream was distributed through 30 different outlets — including social media, strategic partners like Global Cycling Network, Altitude Sports, Kiswe simulcasts and the event’s TourTracker mobile app — and received more than 350,000 views from fans in 144 countries,” Colorado Classic announced in a release on Thursday. “When viewed on social media, the live feeds had more than 35,000 engagements as fans liked, commented and shared the live coverage. Not only did fans get to see the live content when, how and where they wanted it, this model also eliminated costly airtime on networks. In 2019, the total production costs of the race broadcast were approximately one-third the cost of the TV production and distribution of past races.”
Rob Simon, Executive Producer at RPM Events Group, said applying new cellular technologies to capture the live coverage, then streaming it through a strategic network of partners and social media outlets, helped put the race on a global stage for a fraction of the cost.
“This approach makes cycling events more financially viable and sustainable while giving our fans a high-definition, immersive and social TV experience,” he said.