Organisers of the Colorado Classic p/b VF Corporation have announced the cancellation of the 2021 women's-only stage race because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic but have renewed their commitment to holding the race again in 2022.
The pandemic has hit the United States hard, with over 23 million confirmed cases and 385,000 dead. Colorado has suffered 5,354 COVID-19 deaths and totalled almost 370,000 cases.
Chloe Dygert dominated the first edition of the UCI 2.1-ranked Colorado Classic in 2019 and organisers were set to hold the second edition last July until a spike in COVID-19 cases in Colorado - from around 300 new cases per day to 600 - forced them to postpone until this year. With new cases in the state regularly in the thousands since October, the situation "remains uncertain at best," organisers said.
"In 2020, we spent months working tirelessly in conjunction with State, County and City organizations, health authorities, and the sports governing bodies to come up with a COVID mitigation plan that would ensure the health and safety for everyone," said Ken Gart, Chairman of RPM Events Group, the organisers of the Colorado Classic.
"In the end, the most prudent decision was still to cancel the event. With the current situation being just as uncertain as it was last year, we don't think it makes sense — financial or otherwise — to organize a 2021 event and risk another cancellation.
"This is not an easy decision to make. We know that this race holds an important place on both the domestic and international race calendars, and we remain committed to our goal of being the best women's race in the world. But we hope that by delaying the event to 2022, the pandemic will have stabilized and we'll be able to secure the necessary financial partners to do our event justice and host another game-changing, world-class event as we did in 2019."
RPM Events Group made the surprise decision to shift the men's UCI event and national-level women's race to a top-level women's-only race for 2019, giving the women "unprecedented financial support, an innovative live streaming and international exposure package, and longer, more challenging routes."
The organisation tried to keep their momentum going in 2020 with several webinars and Zwift rides, and they intended to keep engaging the cycling world this year.
"Let me assure you that our commitment to women's cycling is as strong as ever. We continue to believe that the Colorado Classic can evolve into one of the most powerful platforms in women's sport and we will work on achieving that goal as we set our sights on 2022," said Gart.
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