Courtesy of the Vail Valley Foundation www.vvf.org
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May 7, 2008 — An abundance of lung and leg power will be a definite advantage for the elite bike racers from around the globe who will tackle the three races that comprise the Colorado Stage Aug. 22-24 as the Vail Valley Foundation recently finalized the routes and courses for the inaugural event.
The international field, comprised of top UCI Pro Tour teams, national teams and Pro Continental and Continental teams, will compete in a trio of races during the weekend, including a road race, a stage race and a time trail. The Colorado Stage will also feature a citizen’s ride and major cycling expo as part of the overall festivities.
The opening day’s 130-mile road race will begin in Breckenridge, taking riders over Hoosier Pass and south down into Alma and Buena Vista on Colorado 285. The route will then head north on Highway 24, through Leadville and Minturn, before finishing in the heart of Beaver Creek Village.
Courtesy of the Vail Valley Foundation
Featuring three mountain passes, 11,000 feet of vertical gain and a lung-searing three-mile uphill sprint finish to Beaver Creek Village, the opening stage will definitely not be for the faint of heart.
“Given the amount of climbing and the altitude,” said Michael Imhof, vice president of sales and operations for the Vail Valley Foundation, “the opening stage will be a true test of stamina. With Hoosier Pass at 11,524 feet and Tennessee Pass at 10,424 feet, these riders are going to need to be in tremendous shape to be in contention at the finish.”
Day two will feature the circuit race, with a total of eight and one half laps on an 8.5-mile loop in and around Vail Village. The race will start on Gore Creek Drive in Vail Village, heading west on Forest Road to Lionshead and out toward West Vail before turning back to the east to Vail Village.
The loop will continue east to the Vail Golf Course before turning west once more for a finish adjacent to the Lionshead parking structure. With an estimated lap time of 20 minutes, the circuit race is expected to take just under three hours to complete.
“The circuit race will be the most spectator-friendly of the three stages,” Imhof said. “With the 8.5 laps and nature of the route, there will be plenty of great places to view the race that are guaranteed to provide an up close and personal experience. It will also be a wonderful opportunity for cycling fans to observe the team tactics that unfold during the course of the race.”
The final day’s competition will hearken back to the days of the Coors Classic with the traditional time trial course from Vail Village to the East Vail cul-de-sac. A 10-year stop on the Coors Classic circuit in the ’80s, Vail played host to annual criterium and time trial competitions.
Competitors will begin the grueling individual ascent in Vail Village hoping to post the fastest time on the 10-mile course that features 1,500 feet of elevation gain in this race against the clock that could well decide the overall champion of the Colorado Stage International Cycle Classic.
“The time trial is often referred to as the ‘race of truth’,” added Imhof. “The Vail course is legendary and it will be interesting to see if today’s stars can better the record time of 26:33.43, set during the 1987 Coors Classic by Andy Hampsten.”
In addition to the three days of racing, the inaugural Colorado Stage International Cycle Classic will also feature a major sport and health expo, music and other festivities for bike and outdoor enthusiasts. For recreational riders, there will be a citizen’s ride on Sunday, Aug. 24.
The 2008 Colorado Stage International Cycle Classic is a project of the Vail Valley Foundation. The Foundation brought international mountain bike competition to the valley in 1992 with the UCI World Cup Finals, launching an eight-year affiliation with the sport, highlighted by the 1994 and 2001 World Mountain Bike Championships.
The Foundation has formed a partnership with Atlanta-based Medalist Sports, the organizers of the Tour of California, Tour de Georgia and the U.S. Pro Cycling Championships, to co-produce the inaugural Colorado Stage International Cycle Classic.
“We are extremely excited to be able to bring international road cycling back to Colorado and the Vail Valley following a 20-year hiatus,” Imhof concluded. “I guarantee that this will be not only a celebration of cycling, but an incredibly exciting three days for young and old alike.”
For more information on the Colorado Stage International Cycle Classic, go to www.vvf.org or call (970) 949-1999.
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