Details of the new UCI stage race in the US, now dubbed the Colorado Classic, emerged Wednesday. The event, which will take place from August 10-13, is a huge departure from the sweeping point-to-point stage race that was the USA Pro Challenge.
Organisers have opted instead to hold three circuit races and one out-and-back stage, with stage 1 in Colorado Springs, the second stage in Breckenridge, and the final two stages starting and ending in Denver's River North Art District. They have yet to announce the exact details of the routes.
The organisers, RPM Events Group, intend to invite 18 six-rider teams from the domestic and international peloton and have planned a two-day women's event to coincide with the men's race, as well as recreational cycling events, live music and a festival.
The scale of the race may be a mere fraction of the hugely popular, seven-day USA Pro Challenge, but organisers vowed that it is a sustainable model, the details of which are still to come.
"Sustainability is the goal here," said RPM Events Group head David Koff, according to the Denver Post. "We have focused on all elements on the cost side to try to make this more sustainable."
The loss of the USA Pro Challenge created a hole in the calendar in August between the Tour of Utah and Tour of Alberta, two of the three major North American stage races together with the Tour of California in May.
The race is classified as 2.HC and therefore allows a maximum of 13 WorldTour teams in addition to Pro Continental and Continental squads. But with the expanded WorldTour calendar, teams are already stretched thin, and the Colorado Classic's date coincides with the Eneco Tour and the 2.HC Arctic Race of Norway, which is organised by the ASO.
The women's event is not UCI-sanctioned, and conflicts with the Women's WorldTour events in Sweden, the Crescent Vårgårda team time trial and road race.
The race is a boon, however, for the US Continental teams and amateur women's teams, which have been excluded from Tour of California since its promotion to the WorldTour and Women's WorldTour.
Whether the race will obtain television coverage is still up in the air. Koff said that RPM Events Group was "well on our way" to an agreement. "We expect to have the same type of coverage that similar races have had in the last five years," Koff said.