In its first year as a standalone women’s pro race, the upcoming Colorado Classic August 22-25, 2019 earned a 2.1 class designation on the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) calendar, making it one of only 13 such races around the world, and the only 2.1 category women’s race in the Western Hemisphere, organizers announced today.
“The women’s Colorado Classic has evolved the past two years and proven to be worthy of consideration to become a UCI category 2.1 race in its first year on the UCI Women’s calendar,” said Sean Petty, Colorado Classic Race Director. “We are thankful the UCI recognized the significant commitment of resources and effort being made this year to create a truly world-class women’s race in Colorado.”
The 2019 Colorado Classic is expected to draw top teams and world-class competitors including WorldTour race winners, Olympians, collegiate champions and up-and-coming stars for the four-stage race. Riders at this year’s Colorado Classic can now earn significant UCI points for their country’s Olympic qualification because of the 2.1 designation. Riders need to accrue as many UCI points as possible before the end of 2019 in order to secure the maximum team size for their country for the road disciplines (road race and time trial) at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. A UCI category 2.1 race provides U.S. riders the rare opportunity to earn critical points in their home country.
“The UCI is pleased to see the continuation of the Colorado Classic on to the 2019 UCI women’s International Road Calendar,” said Matthew Knight, Head of Road for the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI). “This event will provide the opportunity for the best women’s teams from the USA to compete against an international field. The event will also be held during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualification period and provide valuable qualification points.”
The Colorado Classic joins a list of prestigious races around the world in the 2.1 classification, including the Santos Women’s Tour Down Under in Australia, the Vuelta a Burgos Feminas in Spain, and the Internationale Lotto Thüringen Ladies Tour in Germany. The only higher ranked race in the U.S. on the UCI women’s calendar is the Amgen Tour of California, which is a women’s WorldTour event.
“I am just thrilled to hear the recent news that the Colorado Classic has been granted UCI 2.1 status,” said Linda Jackson, Founder of Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank. “The race organization’s focus on women in 2019 and their ability to achieve 2.1 status is a testament to the growth and interest in women’s cycling. We look forward to returning to compete in their race this summer.” The TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank team starts the 2019 season as the 10th-ranked women’s team in the world. TIBCO-SVB has competed in the previous two editions of the Colorado Classic.
USA Cycling also has included the Colorado Classic in its Pro Road Tour (PRT), which showcases the premier domestic road calendar events in the U.S., including criteriums, road races, stage races, and omniums.
“We’re excited to see the Colorado Classic establish a women’s UCI 2.1 race and showcase North American racing to the world of professional cycling,” said Zach Bell, Team Director for the Rally UHC Women’s Team. “The Colorado Classic has taken a big step in furthering the growth of women’s racing.”
More than a race, the Colorado Classic will act as a movement to inspire women, challenge and redefine female professional cycling, and ultimately, empower women of all ages to break the mold, and fight for their goals.
Since its 2017 inaugural year, the Colorado Classic has advanced women’s racing in several ways. The Colorado Classic was the first major USA cycling race to go without podium hostesses, opting instead for cycling legends as presenters. In its second year, the race expanded to four stages and routes similar in length and difficulty to the men’s. And in its third year, the race became a standalone women’s stage race, foregoing the men’s event altogether while providing unprecedented financial support for the women’s teams, including one of the richest prize purses. The 2019 race will also put women racing on a global stage with live streaming coverage each day, syndicated around the world.