Phin­ney on Col­orado Clas­sic ros­ter

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Ja­son Blevins

The first Col­orado Clas­sic will host cy­cling’s top 96 men and 75 women in pro­fes­sional bike rac­ing’s re­turn to Col­orado.

Sec­ond-place Tour de France fin­isher Rigob­erto Uran and his Can­non­adeDra­pac team­mate, Col­orado’s Tay­lor Phin­ney — fresh off a Tour de France de­but that saw him don­ning the king of the moun­tain polka dot jer­sey af­ter Stage 2 — will be among the top names in the four-day race in Col­orado Springs, Breck­en­ridge and Den­ver.

“This is an ex­cit­ing, new ap­proach to bike rac­ing in the U.S,” Phin­ney, the Boul­der scion of Col­orado cy­cling roy­alty who won the open­ing stage of the de­funct USA Pro Chal­lenge in Steam­boat Springs in 2015, said in a news re­lease. “I can’t wait to once again be a part of pro rac­ing in my home state.”

Con­tenders for the over­all ti­tle in­clude Phin­ney, BMC Rac­ing’s Brent Book­wal­ter — the Amer­i­can who pro­pelled BMC team­mate Ro­han Den­nis to a Pro Chal­lenge vic­tory in 2015 — Rally Cy­cling’s Evan Huff­man, Trek-Se­gafredo’s Gre­gory Daniel of Den­ver and Colom­bians Uran and Unit­ed­Health­care Pro Cy­cling’s Janier Acevedo and Daniel Jaramillo.

The field of 16 men’s and 13 women’s teams in­cludes ath­letes from 23 coun­tries. The Col­orado Clas­sic will host cy­clists at the top of the sport, with stage and over­all win­ners from the Tour de France, Tour of Italy, Pro Chal­lenge, Tour of Al­berta and the Tour of Cal­i­for­nia.

“Our high-cal­iber field means fast-paced, com­pet­i­tive rac­ing on cour­ses that of­fer fans mul­ti­ple chances to see the ac­tion,” race di­rec­tor Jim Bir­rell of Medal­ist Sports said in a news re­lease. “Not only will they be com­pet­ing on ex­tremely tough ter­rain, they’ll be rip­ping through the course mul­ti­ple times, test­ing their own strength and en­durance.”

The Col­orado Clas­sic will of­fer a new busi­ness model for pro­fes­sional cy­cling in the U.S., with the tick­eted Velo­rama fes­ti­val in Den­ver of­fer­ing beer, food, mu­sic and rac­ing as a way to off­set the costs of stag­ing, host­ing and tele­vis­ing pro­fes­sional cy­cling teams. Re­vived by a group of cy­cling en­thu­si­asts and in­vestors led by Den­ver re­tail gi­ant-turned-bik­ing cheer­leader Ken Gart, ca­ble in­dus­try vet­eran David Koff and Wal­mart heir Ben Wal­ton, the Col­orado Clas­sic will blend the crowdlov­ing cir­cuit rac­ing of the lost Coors Clas­sic with the equally beloved, but pricey, moun­tain stages of the USA Pro Chal­lenge, which lasted five years be­fore its last tra­verse of the state in 2015.

The men’s field will cover 313 miles and climb more than 20,000 ver­ti­cal feet in four stages that em­pha­size loops and laps over pointto-point rac­ing. Stage 1 on Aug. 10 will race in Col­orado Springs. Stage 2 on Aug. 11 will be in Breck­en­ridge. Stages 3 and 4 will start and fin­ish in Den­ver’s RiNo neigh­bor­hood.

Women’s stages will be in Col­orado Springs and Breck­en­ridge on Aug. 10 and 11. Olympian Kelly Catlin of Rally Cy­cling, who won sil­ver in the women’s team pur­suit at the 2016 Rio Sum­mer Games, will be con­tend­ing for the over­all ti­tle with Team USA team­mate Jen­nifer Va­lente of Sho-Air Twenty20.

Al­lie Dra­goo of Sho-Air Twenty20, who re­cently won the Cas­cade Cy­cling Clas­sic, and Col­orado Springs’ Jil­lian Bear­den, who won last fall’s Tour of Tuc­son, will be rac­ers to watch for the over­all women’s ti­tle as well.

Team ISCorp will in­clude sis­ters Sky­lar and Sa­man­tha Sch­nei­der as well as Col­orado cy­clocross le­gend Katie Comp­ton.

For a com­plete ros­ter list­ing, visit www.col­orado­clas­sic.com.

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