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Racers at the start of Stage 7 the USA Pro Challenge in Boulder, in August 2012.
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Boulder has a chance to again host pro cycling in August 2020 after the city declined to do so this year, and the governor has urged the city to accept, this time around.

The Colorado Classic, a professional cycling event looking to host a multi-stage race in the state for a fourth straight year, in October submitted a special event application to Boulder to site the city as its stage three Aug. 29.

While the Colorado Classic in its first two years held both men’s and women’s races, in 2019 it became the western hemisphere’s only women’s stand-alone stage race on the Union Cycliste Internationale calendar and USA Cycling’s Pro Road Tour. It was hosted over four stages in Steamboat Springs, Avon, Golden and Denver.

It is set to remain a women’s-only competition in 2020, with a final fourth stage expected to be hosted by Denver.

“Boulder has always been on our list because it’s iconic as it relates to cycling culture but also cycling lifestyle,” Lucy Diaz, CEO of RPM Events Group that manages the Colorado Classic, said.

Diaz said organizers are unready to reveal either the potential routes being considered for a Boulder finish, nor the other sites the race is seeking as hosts, but it will likely include at least one finish on the Western Slope, as it has in the past.

The route finishing in the city will have to provide enough cell reception throughout the course for race organizers to make video coverage available via live stream, she said.

“We like a mountain stage, it’s something we always look to have,” Diaz said.

Gov. Jared Polis earlier in November sent a letter to Boulder expressing his desire for pro cycling to return to his hometown. Boulder last hosted a stage of a multi-day pro cycling event in 2012, when the USA Pro Challenge men’s race came through the city, finishing on Flagstaff Mountain and causing a bit consternation among some residents with the impact crowds of spectators had on open space staff and property.

“More than a race, the Colorado Classic is a movement empowering women of all ages and abilities to transform their lives and the world through sports,” Polis wrote. “The race is advancing women’s pro cycling with harder routes, unprecedented financial support, and daily live TV streaming coverage that puts women’s racing on a global stage. … I believe the Colorado Classic is a perfect fit for Boulder.”

When Boulder was approached by Colorado Classic organizers to possibly host the one of this year’s event dates between Aug. 22-25, 2019, the city turned down the offer because it would have coincided with University of Colorado student move-in dates and associated crowding of Boulder’s hotels and restaurants; it also coincided with the Boulder Craft Beer Festival in North Boulder Park, which was the requested race venue; plus, there were road construction projects on requested race routes in Boulder Canyon and on Lee Hill at the time, city staff wrote in a memo to City Council.

“We understood last year when they weren’t able to partner and support,” Diaz said. “… No hard feelings at all.”

Council on Tuesday is set to hear about the Colorado Classic’s request for 2020, and city staff has recommended approval of its special event permit application. Staff suggested Council approve the City Manager’s Office to provide up to $25,000 in city support and services for the event, and request the Boulder Convention and Visitors Bureau contribute up to $10,000 in lodging support.

Boulder’s reputation as a pro cycling icon was built through the Red Zinger Bicycle Classic, which launched in 1975 and ran through 1979, and transformed into the Coors Classic in 1980 to run through 1988, according to the Camera. Those races came to include stages across the state, and teams from around the world.

Diaz said the Colorado Classic in 2020 hopes to maintain the same number of teams as it hosted last year, with 16, including five international, and nearly 100 total professional riders.

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