5 years ago by Tom Soladay

Title defense for Poidevin in Colorado

Race Preview: Colorado Classic

Rally Cycling arrived in Denver, CO this week to race the Colorado Classic, one of North America’s elite stage races. With women’s and men’s events running concurrently from Vail to Denver, an exciting double bill of racing is on hand for the team.

Sara Poidevin returns to defend her 2017 title at the end of a strong season that included winning the Best Young Rider jersey at the Amgen Tour of California, and the men bring a squad anchored by 2015 USA Pro Challenge third-place finisher, Rob Britton.

This year’s race, running from August 16 – 19, sends riders into the Rocky Mountains for a circuit race around Vail and a time trial up Vail Pass. The peloton then heads into Denver for the final two stages where the Velorama music festival waits to greet the riders. The formidable high altitude racing and beautiful scenery attract some of the world’s top teams, upping the difficulty level considerably for both the men and women.

The four-day race features both a women’s USA Pro Road Tour race and a men’s UCI 2.HC race. The Rally Cycling women’s roster features Allison Beveridge, Gillian Ellsay, Abby Mickey, Megan Jastrab, Sara Poidevin, and Emma White. For the men, Rob Britton, Nigel Ellsay, Evan Huffman, Ty Magner, Kyle Murphy, and Danny Pate will take to the start.

Poidevin prepared for a fight

Last year’s stage win in Breckinridge earned Poidevin not only the overall title but a sweep of the jersey classifications. The 22-year-old Canadian has been targeting this race all season and has a talented team to back her up for an attempt at a repeat overall victory.

“It was really special to have my teammates set me up for the win last year,” said Poidevin. “We have been training at altitude for the last few weeks and we have a well-rounded team. I’m excited to see what we can achieve this week.”

Without a queen stage in this year’s women’s race, the Vail Pass time trial has become increasingly important in her quest to repeat as champion.

“The time trial will be a critical day for GC contenders given the difficulty of the course,” said Poidevin. “But the short, technical circuits in Denver will make for aggressive racing and the time bonuses could shake up the GC if the race is still tight.”

Stage one features a 14 km circuit around Vail that includes a dirt road climb of Mill Creek. The twisty and undulating course will make for an unpredictable race as the peloton does battle in the thin mountain air. The historic 16 km time trial up Vail Pass on day two will feature a showdown between the race’s top GC contenders. Starting at 8,200 ft above sea level, the stage climbs 1,500 ft and ensures a worthy wearer of the yellow jersey.

On Saturday, the men head out on a 162 km stage that features over 8,000 ft of climbing and three KOM’s. It will be a difficult stage to control and the yellow jersey could change hands. The Velorama festival will host the women for a 60-minute criterium in downtown Denver where time bonuses will play an important role in this year’s race.

The Mile High City finale on stage four sends the riders through City Park and downtown Denver on a flat 14 km circuit. With the mountains behind them, the sprinter’s teams have their chance to shine as they do battle for the final stage victory.

Colorado Classic Women’s Roster
Allison Beveridge
Gillian Ellsay
Abby Mickey
Megan Jastrab
Sara Poidevin
Emma White

Colorado Classic Men’s Roster
Rob Britton
Nigel Ellsay
Evan Huffman
Ty Magner
Kyle Murphy
Danny Pate