Organisers of the Colorado Classic presented by VF Corporation announced Friday that the four-day race will not take place this year due to COVID-19 coronavirus safety concerns. The event was scheduled for August 27-30 but organisers will instead host a virtual ride using the Zwift platform on July 29th.
The event had hoped to keep the race going and planned to implement a 'Made for TV Streaming' model that was designed in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic health precautions to reduce public gatherings, and prioritise the safety of riders, host communities and event staff.
At that time, the state had not yet approved hosting the event, however, they were expecting further updates regarding public health restrictions in July.
Organisers noted in their press release that new COVID-19 cases are on the rise in Colorado, and throughout the US, and so the decision was taken in consultation with teams, riders and all race partners, that cancelling the race and eliminating all risk of contributing to the COVID spread was the correct path forward.
"We had great confidence in the COVID-19 mitigation plan we had developed for the race, and we were well on our way to becoming the first professional women’s bike race to be held in the U.S. since the onset of the COVID pandemic," said Lucy Diaz, CEO of RPM Events Group LLC.
"However, as the pandemic appears to be spiking again across the U.S., and after discussion with our various stakeholders, we feel it is the most prudent decision to cancel the race for 2020. We would only hold the race if we thought it was a safe, healthy environment for the athletes and that all stakeholders felt fully comfortable to move forward. At this time we do not have full confidence from all stakeholders, so we will pivot our energy and efforts to continue to support the women’s peloton through our other initiatives."
The organisers of the Colorado Classic announced at the end of 2018 that they had opted to cancel their men's event in favour of running a women's-only race in 2019. They used the additional funds to expand their women's race by offering harder stages, a bigger prize purse and live streaming. Chloe Dygert won the overall title last year.
In Friday's press release, organisers said they are now committed to supporting the #WeRide for Women fundraiser and virtual ride, where donations will go toward the teams that would have participated in the race.
The fundraiser will be open from now through August 1 and all funds will be divided out to the teams in August. The virtual ride will be led by retired Olympic silver medallist and world champion, Mari Holden.
"This campaign is intended to financially support the teams that would have attended the Colorado Classic, many of whom rely on competition and prize money to support their livelihoods," the press release stated.
"For the next two weeks, fans, industry, and sponsors will have the opportunity to donate to the #WeRide Team Development fund — which will be directly distributed to women’s race teams — and join the teams on a Zwift ride on July 29th."
🚨 1/5 .....Here we go folks: Despite our fierce commitment to creating a safe live racing model and advancing the sport of professional women’s cycling, we are announcing that our four-day race will not take place this year, due to COVID safety concerns. 🚴🏼♀️😷🚫😔 pic.twitter.com/VnUuBXWTXtJuly 17, 2020
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