The organisers of the Colorado Classic presented by VF Corporation have committed to a 'Made for TV Streaming' model for the race schedule for August 27-30. The new model was designed in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic health precautions to reduce public gatherings, and prioritises the safety of riders, host communities and event staff.
The organisers have confirmed that the state has not yet approved hosting the event. However, they are expecting further updates regarding public health restrictions in July.
"An event cancellation or postponement was explored, but as a last resort. And while it would be the easiest thing to do, we feel a strong commitment and promise to the athletes, the communities and our partners," said said Lucy Diaz, CEO of the RPM Events Group.
"Our decision to move forward with the modified model aligns with our mission of ongoing support and advancement for women's cycling. We feel that the athletes need something positive to work towards and we want to be that glimmer of hope for both the peloton and the citizens of the communities in which we race."
"The infrastructure around this year's race will be scaled back but our top priority is to create an opportunity for world-class competition in an environment that best supports and focuses on the health and well being of riders and staff. We are working closely with State and City organizations, health authorities, and the sports governing bodies to create protocols and processes that ensure the health and safety for everyone," she said.
"This is nothing that any of us have ever experienced in our lifetime, so creating a well-thought-out plan takes time and collaboration. We have been working tirelessly to develop a model that we hope will inform and inspire other event promoters to apply to their events."
The organisers of the Colorado Classic announced at at the end of 2018 that it 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.
It is this live streaming model, which successfully brought the race exposure last year, that organisers plan to enhance and innovate for this year's edition. According to a press release, the event will provide free, start-to-finish coverage distributed by dozens of outlets worldwide, with some new features such as immersive point-of-view cameras, Zoom watch parties, super-fan simulcasts, guest commentator drop-ins and behind-the-scenes coverage of pre- and post-race activities.
The race organisers had already announced host cities were to include Snowmass Village, Avon, Boulder and Denver. However, they are revising some of the stage routes and start/finish locations to minimise the impact on its local host communities and the need for public safety officials.
"In exploring more alternate venues and courses in and around Denver, Red Rocks Park has emerged as an exciting potential venue. This iconic location offers not only stunning scenery and a controllable event site but also a challenging course profile that could help decide the overall race on the final day," read the press release.
USA Cycling has suspended all issued permits for sanctioned events – including USA Cycling races, rides, camps, and clinics – through to May 31 due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, there have been several events scheduled for after that date that have either been cancelled or postponed until 2021, including the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah in August and the new Maryland Cycling Classic in September.
"As of today, state approval to host the event has not yet been granted but conditions are changing daily," read the press statement. "The race organizers are targeting an early July date for the next update release of information and will provide more details to the media at that time."
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