Vail cycling fans will have a local athlete to cheer on at Colorado Classic
Edwards resident Andrea Buttine, a teacher at Vail Mountain School, confirmed among a bevy of international talent
AVON – Locals will have a rider to cheer on when the Colorado Classic hits town on August 23.
Andrea Buttine of Edwards, and her team ALP Cycles Racing, were confirmed to be part of the event on Wednesday as rosters were announced in an official release from the Colorado Classic organizers.
ALP Cycles Racing director Alison Powers said her team is honored to be a part of such a deep field of riders.
“We’re actually very lucky in that we’re not a UCI team, but we’re still able to come race this race,” Powers said on Wednesday. “It’s a very, very high level international race, and we’re a smaller, Colorado-based team, so the fact that we get even to race is a really big deal, and super exciting.”
Organizers said it will be the most international and competitive roster of riders in the race’s history, with Olympic medal winners and world champions participating.
“We have our two previous Colorado Classic champions with Katie Hall and Sara Poidevin who’ve proven their ability to climb well and win at this altitude in Colorado,” Sean Petty, Colorado Classic Race Director, said in a release. “And the sprint finishes expected in stages 1, 3 and 4 will feature some of the fastest women in the world. It should be a really exciting race with an extremely high level of racing.”
‘My dream scenario’
Buttine is a teacher at Vail Mountain School who started racing in 2012 when she was living in Texas.
She says she’s best on flat sections and the not-so-steep climbs as her tall frame – she’s five feet, 10 inches and weighs 145 pounds – allows her to excel in the areas where power comes into play.
“Compared to somebody who is 5’2″, 105 pounds, it’s a little different when you’re climbing up something steep like Strawberry Park,” she said.
Nevertheless, if she were a spectator, the climb up Beaver Creek through Strawberry Park to Daybreak Ridge – the officially-designated Queen of the Mountain climb for the four-stage race – is exactly where Buttine would want to be.
“Daybreak Ridge, where it gets steep in Strawberry Park, my dream scenario is to really have some people yelling at us up there,” she said. “I think there’s an opportunity here, on that steep part of the climb, for fans to have a fun afternoon and cheer us, heckle us, whatever you want to call it.”
Only Colorado team
Buttine has been pre-riding the Queen of the Mountain climb, and is “trying to make friends with it,” in her words.
“I think the top part of Daybreak Ridge is going to be a big challenge for everybody in the field, whether they are pros who race in Europe or folks like myself who are trying to be competitive,” she said. “It’s just a really hard section of the whole climb up there, and by the time you get halfway through it, you think you’re at the steep point, but you’re not.”
Powers said Buttine’s local knowledge of the Avon course has been proving very valuable for the team.
“We’re the only Colorado-based team that’s racing, so it’s really cool that we can come and pre-ride the courses,” Powers said. “Andrea’s knowledge of (the Avon) course and those roads will really pay off come race day, especially the descent down Bachelor Gulch. When we pre-rode it, she hauled. She went so fast.”
The Colorado Classic is a UCI 2.1 category race with four stages, starting August 22 in Steamboat Springs, heading to Avon on August 23, Golden on August 24, and wrapping up in Denver on August 25.
For more information, visit coloradoclassic.com.
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.