Organisers of August's inaugural Colorado Classic released route details on Wednesday for the four-day men's race and two-day women's race, with the men's 2.HC event tackling 6,580 metres of elevation gain over 503.3km and the women facing 1,795m over 113.km.
Both races will start August 10 with a circuit race in Colorado Springs before heading to stage 2 in Breckenridge, where the women's race will conclude. The men will continue with two more stages in Denver, where the race will link up the 'Velorama Festival' concerts that feature Wilco, Death Cab for Cutie, Old 97s and the Jayhawks, among others.
As part of the organisers' goal of trying to shake up the status quo in professional racing, all the courses start and finish from the same location rather than the more traditional - but more logistically difficult - point-to-point races. All routes except the men's out-and-back third stage are circuit races.
"Each course will give fans numerous opportunities in a single day to see the sport's top riders," said David Koff, CEO of RPM Events Group, the organisation putting on the race. "And the start-finish areas are being built to be magnets of activity before, during and after each race. Our goal is to have you come out for one experience, and to stick around for many, many more."
The 25.1km stage 1 circuit in Colorado Springs starts downtown on Pikes Peak Avenue and Tejon Street, then winds its way toward and through Garden of the Gods before making its way back to the start/finish. The men race six laps for 150.4km, while the women take on two laps of the large circuit and 3 laps of a shorter, 3.8km circuit for a total of 61.7km.
Both pelotons travel to Breckenridge for stage 2, which will take place on a 10.3km course that features multiple ascents of the Moonstone and Boreas Pass climbs that were used in the former USA Pro Challenge. A hair-raising descent down Illinois Gulch leads to the finish on Washington and Main in downtown Breckenridge. The men will face 10 laps for 103km and 2,231metres of elevation gain. The women will race five laps for 51.5km and 1,115m of climbing in their final stage.
The men head to Denver for the final two stages, with stages 3 and 4 starting at the same spot in the RiNo Art District but taking very different paths from there.
Stage 3, dubbed the Peak-to-Peak Out-and-Back, is a 130km course with 2,052m of climbing that takes riders from Denver to the mountains west of the city on the Peak to Peak Highway. The race returns to the Mile High City through Golden Gate Canyon State Park for what organisers expect will be a bunch sprint.
The stage 4 circuit in Denver on the final day will take place on a 12km circuit that the peloton will cover 10 times for 120km. The circuit starts on Walnut Street between 30th and 31st amid the Velorama Festival, before using 25th, 26th and 27th avenues to head to City Park and back.
The Denver start-finish area is within the ticketed Velorama Festival grounds and will provide vantage points for catching the race action. Wilco, Death Cab for Cutie, Old 97's and the Jayhawks will headline three days of music with tickets, which also provide access to the race start-finish line and the festival marketplace, available online at VeloramaColorado.com.
No admission is being charged to the start-finish areas in Colorado Springs and Breckenridge, and spectators can watch the race for free from alongside the courses in all four stages.