The Colorado Classic has been resurrected after a one year hiatus. The unique entertainment format looks to repackage how we consume pro bike racing and we are thrilled to be a part of it.
The heart and soul of American Cycling lives in Colorado. The state embraces the sport like no other. US Cycling was devastated by news the race was cancelled in early 2016.
2017 Race Photography by Brian Hodes, Veloimages
Stage one took place in the Garden of the Gods park. The stunning scenery was made more dramatic by the weather the mix of rain, sun and storm clouds.
Crowds in Colorado are simply… massive.
Nigel rode a savvy and aggressive race on stage two. Marking the break and riding to 19th place on the tough stage in Breckenridge – where altitude exceeded 3,000m.
Twenty-one year old Albertan Sara Poidevin put on a dominant display of climbing in the women’s race. Isolated in a front group of elite climbers, she dropped her competitors one by one to win solo by two minutes. She won the Breckenridge stage, the overall race and all classifications (Sprint, KOM, Young Rider). It was thrilling for us to see a fellow Canadian put on a great show. Bravo Sara!.
We took a cautious approach to stage one. Under the experienced direction of Gord Fraser our plan was intentionally conservative. Gord knew Breckenridge would be decisive and the altitude would take its toll – It was a smart call. Julien, Nigel and Alec all rode very well in stage two. Alec sits second in the young rider classification. Alec is tied on overall time with Axeon’s Jonathan Narvaez and 1’50” ahead of Justin Oien – racing for the Spanish Pro Continetal team Caja Rural.
Sidenote: Alec is from Calgary Alberta, where he grew up riding in the youth programs run by Alberta Cycling Association head coach Phil Abbott. He has spent plenty of cold Alberta winter days on a Turbo Trainer riding beside Sara and current team-mate Kris Dahl in the dungeons of the Calgary Olympic Park.
The racing during the new Velorama Colorado Classic takes part on similar courses to the historic Coors Classic. While the courses reflect the rich history of racing in Colorado, the race is not a reboot of the former races.
In addition to a focus on downtown circuits — there are no point-to-point routes — the Colorado Classic will feature six-man teams, making it difficult for any team to control the race, similar to this year’s other innovative new race format, Velon’s Hammer Series, which featured five-man squads selected from seven interchangeable riders. In total, there will be only 96 riders in the men’s peloton, and 84 in the women’s peloton.
Read more on → CyclingTips.com
The Velorama Festival blends music, bikes and street festivals into a unique format. While we’re here to race and race well, we’re also thinking of catching one of the concerts: Wilco, Death Cab for Cutie, Saint Motel… Velorama has lined up some amazing bands.
Ryan Roth is Silber’s most experienced and accomplished rider. He plays a special role in the team, delivering results and mentoring his younger team-mates into robust, accountable athletes. His contributions to the team are invaluable.
By stage three the toll is starting to show on the faces of the riders. The race formula has worked, short hard stages + reduced team sizes has created aggressive, unpredictable racing. The weather has been equally unpredictable and has complicated the racing. It has been slower for the teams and Directors to get information – favouring the strong opportunists. On stage 3, BMC’s Manuel Senni and Jelly Belly’s Serghei Tvetcov escaped, and used a wet treacherous descent to create a gap they would hold to the line.
The GC turns over, and Senni now leads by 15 seconds over Tvetcov. Overnight leader Eisenhart sits 34 seconds back on the overall. Nigel and Alec suffer on this stage and finish in the large main group 13 minutes behind stage winner Tvetcov. A GC hope for Nigel and Young Rider classification for Alec seem out of reach…
“It was hard to predict that the break would form off the start line. I can understand our missing the move.” recounted Gord.
It was a disappointing end to a learning week for the team. Nigel continues to show he’s on the cusp of following the very best and is always willing to risk his GC spot by searching strong breaks.
Gord Fraser – Team Director