Colorado race unveils name and cities; now seeks title sponsor

The four-day race will take place in August and will feature both men's and women's UCI events.

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

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America’s newest UCI stage race has a name, host cities, and a course design — and now it wants a title sponsor.

Four months after announcing its intentions to bring an international bicycle race back to Colorado, RPM Events Group LLC unveiled details Wednesday morning for a men’s pro race called the “Colorado Classic.” The four-day race — which has a 2.HC rating with the UCI — runs August 10-13 and includes stages in Colorado Springs, Breckenridge, and Denver.

The event also includes a two-day women’s race with stages in Colorado Springs (Aug. 10) and Denver (Aug. 11).

RPM’s original racecourse plans called for a hub-and-spoke model, with stages starting and finishing in metro Denver. Organizers opted for the new structure — which is comprised of three circuit races (stages 1, 2, 4) and one out-and-back course (stage 3) — to take advantage of Colorado’s challenging terrain.

“We did a hybrid version of the [hub-and-spoke] model because of high interest levels from Colorado Springs and Breckenridge to participate, which gives some great variety to the race,” said David Koff, CEO of RPM. “We think ultimately this is more fan-friendly.”

The race has yet to release maps for each stage, but Koff said the opening three stages would include multiple climbs and challenging terrain. The final stage, he said, is comprised of an urban circuit through Denver that starts and finishes in the city’s River North arts district. The race will invite 18 professional teams, and Koff believes at least six teams will be from the UCI WorldTour.

“We’re well on our way toward securing those [WorldTour] teams,” Koff said.

RPM’s original plans also included a direct relationship with a new four-day stage race in Virginia. Koff said that two events are now “on different timelines.”

“We’re supporting a local organizing team in [Virginia] and are sharing best practices and comparing notes as we go along,” he said.

The Colorado Classic hopes to fill a void left by the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, which ran from 2011-2015 and officially ceased operation in 2016. That race, which included seven stages, struggled to cover its operating costs with sponsorship sales and endured a fruitless hunt for a title sponsor.

Koff said RPM is currently on the hunt for its own title sponsor for the Colorado Classic, but did not reveal which companies it had queried. In September, Koff pegged the race’s operating costs in the mid-seven figures, which puts it on a similar budgetary plane as the seven-stage Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah.

The final two stages of the race feature a music festival and cycling marketplace in Denver, which Koff believes will help offset the race’s operating costs. Koff also believes the Colorado Classic’s footprint across Colorado Springs, Breckenridge, and Denver will help its bottom line.

“Our experience with sponsors so far has been great because we are centered on Colorado’s Front Range,” Koff said. “This is where sponsors can get the most bang for their buck.”

In a release, RPM Events Chairman Ken Gart said the new race will follow in the footsteps of the Red Zinger Classic, Coors Classic, and USA Pro Challenge.

“The Colorado Classic is being developed to appeal not just to cycling fans, but a wide array of Coloradans and visitors to the state,” Gart said.

2017 Colorado Classic stage race

Aug. 10: Colorado Springs (men and women)
Aug. 11: Breckenridge (men) Denver (women)
Aug. 12: Denver
Aug. 13: Denver

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