VAIL – The Coors Classic Cycling Race and its predecessor, the Red Zinger, left an impression on Colorado that will never be forgotten by local cycling fans.
Bringing circuit-style racing through the streets of Vail, as well as a time trial to Vail Pass which would prove to be an iconic race still contested today, the Coors Classic defined Colorado’s role in cycling sport.
The race eventually passed Colorado and itself, and ended in 1988 after 13 years of history. Since then, several races have been tried, but none has found success in the Coors Classic.
After watching the new Colorado Classic bike race unfold last season and attract 15 top teams from around the world, Vail officials decided it was time to overtake this race in an effort to channel the Coors Classic and what was able to contribute to its success.
While the Vail Time Trial grew out of the Coors Classic, circuit-style racing – where all the riders descend simultaneously into Vail Street – seems to have died with it. This year, the Colorado Classic will welcome the return of a circuit race through the streets of Vail, in addition to the classic Vail time trial that has become so legendary.
“A circuit through the village, along with music, exhibits and other engaging activities, are all key elements where I think the Colorado Classic will be a big hit this year and for many years to come.” Vail Mayor Dave said. Chapin.
In the Vail Circuit races of yesteryear, fans took to the streets, spilling out of viewing areas wherever possible.
It’s an atmosphere that Eagle-Vail resident Stephen Lloyd Wood remembers well, having competed in the Coors Classic in Vail as a former professional rider and national champion.
“The whole event was a phenomenon,” said Wood. “It was among the biggest and the best in the world in so many ways.”
In circuit-style racing, Wood remembers an electric atmosphere and a hellish ride.
“The hills were a factor, both the ups and downs,” he said. “It will favor someone who has a lot of power and can quickly recover over and over again. It will be fun to watch for sure.
Chapin said the coverage – which will air live, prime-time, in Europe – could prove to be a great opportunity for Vail.
“The international coverage of professional cycling is one of the reasons Vail has become well known around the world,” Chapin said. “We look forward to continuing our long tradition of being a destination of choice for the cycling community.”
“IDEAL FAN EXPERIENCE”
For fans of the event, fan zones with announcers helping to explain the action as the cyclists parade will be set up around the village. They will include activities for kids, freebies, food stations and more.
“Favorite vantage points along the course are designed to provide an ideal experience for fans up close to the action,” said Tom Boyd of the Vail Valley Foundation. “In addition to the close-up views around the Lodge at Vail tunnel, Pepi’s Deck in Vail Village and Donovan Park in Matterhorn, there are plenty of fun festivities planned for the Solaris start area and the finish line at Vail Athletic Field. near Golden Peak.
And that’s only the first day, August 16th. On August 17, the time trial will feature classic action all the way to the Vail Pass, as the riders attempt to break the record set by Levi Leipheimer in 2011 after remaining undisputed since the one set by Andy Hampsten in 1987.
The Whistle Pig Series music festival will also straddle the event.
“This is a very exciting project and one that our community was looking for,” said Mike Imhof, President and CEO of the Vail Valley Foundation. “Biking is very popular in this valley, and with our Whistle Pig Vail music series on August 17-18 and ancillary exhibits, activities, games and gifts, Colorado Classic Vail has the right formula for success.”
Race organizers have been working hard to communicate to the Vail community that this event will require temporary road closures in certain neighborhoods during the race window. Emergency entry / exit will still be permitted, but there will be delays with guests or owners entering and exiting their hotels, condos or homes in non-emergency situations. Vail Police Department Code Enforcement Officer Alan Hernandez will serve as the point of contact for the Colorado Classic Neighborhood Liaison and, in the coming months, will help residents meet special health needs, emergency or transport that may arise during the race window. His email address is [email protected] and his phone number is 970-306-9602.
The course maps are available on www. coloradoclassicvail.com.