The legendary Vail time trial that dates back to the Red Zinger Classic in the 1970s - and which saw the likes of Greg Lemond, Andy Hampsten and Bernard Hinault compete on the route to the top of Vail Pass during the Coors Classic in the '80s - will return for the 2018 Colorado Classic, organisers announced today.
The 21.1km individual time trial will follow a stage 1 circuit race around Vail Village, according to today's announcement.
"Professional bike racing is in the DNA of Vail," said David Koff, CEO of RPM Events Group, the organisation that puts on the race.
Professional bike racing last visited Vail for the USA Pro Challenge in 2014, when Tejay van Garderen won the stage 6 race against the clock on his way to winning the overall for the second consecutive year. Van Garderen also won the Vail time trial stage in the 2013 USA Pro Challenge.
Spectators greeted the Vail time trial stage with abandon both years, dressing up for the day and greeting the passing riders with a bubble machine, sound system and dance party.
The time trial route starts in Vail Village and quickly winds its way through the urban environment onto the slops of Vail Pass, which tops out at 3,171 metres after climbing more than 780 metres. In 2014, van Garderen (BMC Racing) beat Garmin's Tom Danielson by 53 seconds, covering the course in 24:26, more than half a minute faster than the previous year.
The map organisers released today shows a time trial course that is 5km longer than the 16.1km route riders faced in 2013 and 2014. The listed elevation for the 2018 finish is also more than 225 metres higher. A race spokesman told Cyclingnews organisers will release more route information next month.
The opening-day circuit race loops through the heart of Vail Village, starting at Solaris and finishing at the Vail Athletic Field near Golden Peak. Riders will cover eight laps of the 14km course.
Following the stage 2 time trial, the Colorado Classic will travel to Denver for the final two stages on Saturday and Sunday, with the start/ finish and criterium at Velorama Festival in the RiNo Art District.
The second annual Colorado Classic - a UCI-sanctioned 2.HC race won by BMC Racing's Manuel Senni last year - will take place August 16-19.