The Colorado Classic is somewhat a study in change in cycling. For decades, women’s pro road racing has gotten the short shrift. But the winds of change? They’re here. With many of the same events on the UCI calendar as their male counterparts, UCI women’s racing is as exciting, the tactics as scintillating, the joy of victory as rewarding, the agony of defeat as crushing as their male counterparts. Just find replays of the Giro Rosa, the Strade Bianche, and you’ll see it.
Or be at the finish of the Colorado Classic. Having gone into oxygen debt in the final miles, riders litter the nearby curbs, completely spent from several hundred meters of full-gas leadout, or that sprint to the line and desperate bike throw.
While Europe sees progress with the popularity of the Giro Rosa (or women’s Giro d’Italia) and other big single-day spring classics that match those of the men, America is reaping the rewards. Young girls are coming to meet and get autographs from their heroes.
Across the pond here in America, women’s racing is thriving as well, and the Colorado Classic is a case in point. Once a men’s and women’s event, rolling on roads made popular in the ‘80s by Davis Phinney, Alexi Grewal and Ron Kiefel, the 2019 event stands on its own two feet as a women’s-only event.
CANYON//SRAM Racing team run in a perfect parallel with the progressive growth of women’s road racing. With a motto of “Ride to Advance, Race to Inspire, Break Away to Challenge” and taking on every one of the 23 UCI Women’s WorldTour races this season, the squad has been on the leading edge in its selection of veterans, powerhouse superstars and rising talent. In fact, its partnership with Zwift has entertained virtual competitions for a pro contract with the squad, resulting in finds like American Leah Thorvilson, Tanja Erath of Germany and this year’s Zwift competition winner and new rookie, Ella Harris of New Zealand.
Lucky for us, we’ll get to see that talent on show in the coming weeks when the Colorado Classic kicks off Aug. 22 in Steamboat Springs and rolls through the fellow high Rockies town of Avon before dropping into Golden along the foothills and finishing in Denver on Aug 25. CANYON//SRAM Racing fields a team including Australian veteran Tiffany Cromwell, joined by Harris, Isreal’s Omer Shapira and the German trio of Hannah Ludwig, Christa Riffel and Tanja Erath.
It’s pro racing at its finest—and with teams like CANYON//SRAM leading the way, it’s getting better every year. For those in Colorado and visiting the stage venues to catch some of the action, Canyon has a bevy of things going on, from group rides to women’s panels with CANYON//SRAM pros as well as prominent female bike industry professionals. Check the Canyon Facebook page (www.facebook.com/pg/Canyon.NA/events/) for a list of our demo opportunities and chances to meet some of the CANYON//SRAM team riders!