The Colorado Classic revealed its 2017 route Wednesday for the new race to be held August 10-13 in and around Denver. The men’s peloton will cover 503 kilometers and 6580 meters of climbing over four days.
“I’m personally really thrilled that there’s a bike race happening in Colorado again,” said Boulder, Colorado native Taylor Phinney. “The USA Pro Challenge was one of my favorite races to compete in and having the Colorado Classic gives me hope for the end of the season.”
The race is run with a non-traditional approach. Three of the four stages feature a circuit that maximizes spectators opportunities to see the peloton pass by a single point — a departure from the more typical point-to-point approach regularly used in UCI races. Race organizers will run a music festival, Velorama, in conjunction with the final two days of the race. Wilco and Death Cab for Cutie headline.
“The addition of the music festival is special for me,” Phinney said. “My friend Greg Erwin is a drummer in the band Saint Motel, and they’re going to come out a play. They’re part of the line-up. We’ve been dreaming of a day where we could perform at the same time, and that’s an extra layer of radness that it’s now happening.
“It seems like a step forward in the way the races are organized and hosted for the public,” Phinney noted. “It’s not just a bike race but this whole festival and people can make a day of it. They’re not sitting on the side of the road and watching us go by one time. I’m pretty jazzed.”
Racing begins on 10 August in Colorado Springs with a stage one circuit around Garden of the Gods. Each of the six laps features steep climbs with Pikes Peak serving as a backdrop.
Stage two in Breckenridge traverses Moonstone road. The punishing climb was a mainstay of the USA Pro Challenge. The peloton will cover 10 laps of a 10.3-kilometer loop.
The RiNo neighborhood in Denver hosts the start and finish of the third stage. The out-and-back route covers Gap Road, the Peak to Peak highway and the Golden Gate State Park before its conclusion in Denver.
The 2017 Colorado Classic comes to a close with a 10-lap city circuit in Denver. Stage four is well-suited to the sprinters.
“It sounds like the race will be quite hard,” said Phinney. “These are all roads I’ve ridden on. I can say stage three going up Gap Road is a road Alex Howes and I have trained a lot on. I trained on that road leading in to the Olympics, and anytime you get to ride the Peak to Peak Highway, that’s one of the most scenic roads in America, so that will be special.
“I love that the race is based out of RiNo,” he added. “It’s a really awesome art district in Denver that has been exploding, in a good way, these last couple years.”
Colorado Classic route
Stage 1: Colorado Springs circuit, 150.4km
Stage 2: Breckenridge circuit, 103km
Stage 3: Denver, 130km
Stage 4: Denver circuit, 120.1km