Phinney on Colorado Classic roster
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.