DENVER (AP) — The Colorado Classic will be a stand-alone women's bicycle race next year, eliminating the need to divide limited resources on separate men's and women's competitions, organizers said.
The races scheduled for Aug. 22-25 are expected to attract 20 teams. The locations have not yet been set, The Denver Post reported Tuesday.
The change would allow organizers to set up "one great race instead of two average ones," said Ken Gart, chairman of RPM Events Group.
Colorado Gov.-elect Jared Polis said the rearranged event has the potential to become "the premier women's race in the Western Hemisphere."
The prize money next year will be $75,000, $5,000 more than the purse for the men's races this year, Gart said. The women's prize this year was $20,000.
"We love men's cycling. We're proud of the work our team has done the last couple of years, and I think we were very innovative, but our ability to impact men's cycling really was very minimal," Gart said. "Our potential to impact women's cycling around the globe, we think, is really dramatic."
From the reconfiguration, organizers would be able to design longer and more challenging race stages than those in past years, said Sean Petty, who was race director of the women's races the past two years.
"This is a monumental day for women's cycling," Petty said. "It's a huge paradigm shift. Normally, when you hear about a race going away, it's the women's race. This is flipping the script."
Information from: The Denver Post, http://www.denverpost.com