(Gallery: Colorado Classic/RPM Events Group, LLC.)
The 2019 Colorado Classic will become the only women’s stand-alone stage race in the Western Hemisphere on the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) calendar and USA Cycling’s Pro Road Tour, organizers of the race announced Tuesday.
To focus on and expand the women’s race, the Colorado Classic will forego the men’s UCI race in 2019. Organized now solely around female competition, the 2019 Colorado Classic will unveil more challenging routes, longer race distances, and better start times for women than ever before, positioning the event as an ideal run-up to the UCI Road World Championships following a month later and the 2020 Olympics.
Race organizer RPM Events Group, LLC. will offer unprecedented financial support, including a prize purse nearly four times the 2018 women’s purse and more than the men’s 2018 purse, along with stipends to support team travel and expenses.
“It’s pretty clear in this moment that pay equality is on the table for everyone,” said RPM Events Group C.O.O. Tiffany Dorman. “The World Surfing League just announced that it’s paying equal purses to the women’s surfers, too. It seemed like an obvious moment for us to do something that will actually make a difference and make people take notice."
The race will be streamed live for free. The live stream and on-demand replays will be syndicated to fans around the world through cycling and partner websites as well as though Facebook Live and the race’s Tour Tracker mobile app.
“From the inaugural race of the Colorado Classic two years ago, the organization has stood behind women,” said Kristin Armstrong, the most decorated female cyclist in U.S. history, having won gold medals in each of the last three summer Olympics. "The announcement today of a women’s-only UCI stage race truly shows the dedication and commitment the Colorado Classic has to women in sport. I was fortunate enough to have my start in a women’s-only event back in 2002 at the HP Women’s Challenge; I know first-hand the tremendous amount of impact this will have on women’s cycling by creating and providing opportunity for spectators and riders across the world.”
The third annual contest will be a four-stage road race August 22-25, 2019 that will bring some of the best female teams and cyclists in the world for four days of racing over challenging Colorado terrain.
“The stories of the women who are mothers and scientists and any number of other professions who walk away from their lives and families for four days to ride are going to be most compelling,” said Dorman. “Finding somebody that you relate to, who gives you the inspiration to try something you hadn’t thought you could achieve before will be the most exciting thing to witness.”
“Because of the Colorado Classic’s commitment to pro women cycling, we expect a stellar international field of approximately 20 teams and world-class racers to compete,” said Sean Petty, Race Director for the Colorado Classic.