Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Letter from the Vail Valley Foundation

Dear Vail Valley Community,

Yesterday the Vail Valley Foundation made an incredibly difficult decision to discontinue our work on bringing a major cycling event back to the valley. The Colorado Stage, so well supported here in our community and among the broader cycling community, could not gather enough support from the corporate world to allow us to complete our mission of bringing pro cycling back to Colorado.

To know how difficult it was for us to cancel this event, you would first need to know the level of compassion and love the Foundation’s staff and board of directors have for this sport. Our staff includes some of the valley’s most dedicated cyclists, and our board has long envisioned a great road cycling event should take place here—a place that is so passionate about the sport.

I cannot offer you enough apologies. I cannot explain in enough words the sadness we all feel in losing an event we have longed to produce. Mostly, I cannot thank you all enough for the way you each embraced the concept of this event, the way you rallied around the challenges it would bring and the way you anticipated seeing the great cyclists of the world take on your own back-roads.

Special thanks go out to those who have labored hard and loved long this event. To the towns of Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Leadville, Alma, Buena Vista and Minturn, thank you for all you have done. To the Colorado State Patrol, words cannot express our deep thanks for your commitment to this endeavor. To the volunteers who had begun the work, to S.O.S. for their help, to the police departments and public works groups of Vail and Beaver Creek, you are unequaled in your commitment. To our partners USA Cycling, thank you for believing in us before, and believing in us still.

Please accept my deepest regrets on behalf of the Foundation and rest assured that if we could have done it, we would have. Please know that when the time and conditions are right, we hope to be able to say, “mission accomplished.”

Ceil Folz
President, Vail Valley Foundation

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


It is with great regret that we post the press release below announcing the cancellation of the inaugural Colorado Stage International Cycle Classic.

July 1, 2008
Media Contacts:
John Dakin, 970.949.1999
Shelley Woodworth, 970.949.1999


VAIL, Colorado—In a move that’s unprecedented for the Vail Valley Foundation, the organization has been forced to pull the plug on the inaugural Colorado Stage International Cycle Classic road bike race scheduled for August 22-24, 2008.

“When requesting the event be placed on the UCI [Union Cycliste Internationale] calendar, we recognized the challenges facing us in finding enough sponsorship support,” explained Ceil Folz, President of the Vail Valley Foundation. “The declining economic picture has made these efforts increasingly difficult, and the final straw came last week when we were not able to close a deal with a presenting sponsor.”

An event the magnitude of the Colorado Stage requires a budget of nearly $2 million, says Folz. While that budget has been pared back significantly, the remaining shortfall was too large for the Vail Valley Foundation to absorb.

“Having to cancel the Colorado Stage is incredibly disappointing,” Folz continued, “because so many people have worked so hard to try and make it a reality. I know that a tremendous amount of interest has been generated in bringing major international road cycling back to Colorado, but we felt that delaying our decision any later would be unfair to the teams and sponsors that have already committed. A major bike race requires major corporate partners, and enough of those were just not in place.”

Support from the community has been enormous, led by the Town of Vail and the Beaver Creek Resort Company. Vail’s Mayor, Dick Cleveland released a statement Monday evening saying, “We’re obviously disappointed the event won’t happen here this summer as planned, but we’re optimistic we’ll have the opportunity to host the races in Vail when the time is right. The Vail Valley Foundation is an extraordinary partner of the Vail community and we commend the Foundation’s board and staff for the multitude of work that has taken place thus far to ensure the Colorado Stage would have been an event to remember. We’re hoping the legwork and coordination will be put to good use in the future, not only for this event, but for other world class activities we’ve come to expect from the Foundation and its longstanding reputation for excellence.”

John Garnsey, Executive Vice President of Vail Resorts’ Mountain Division added, “We understand and support the Vail Valley Foundation’s decision to not move forward with the Colorado Stage bike race. For 27 years, the Foundation has produced international-caliber events here in the Vail Valley, and we’re sure that when the time is right, our community will once again turn to the Foundation to lead the way.”

The Colorado Stage, a three-stage cycling race, was scheduled to feature a 135-mile road race from Breckenridge to Beaver Creek, a 72-mile circuit race in and around Vail Village and a 10-mile individual time trial from Vail Village to the East Vail cul de sac.

“I am confident that our team did all they could to make this dream a reality, and we’re so thankful to our partners who have committed and worked so hard up to this point. We are deeply disappointed to have had to make this decision, and we thank the cycling community for its understanding,” Folz concluded. “We believe in the sport of cycling, but feel the conditions were not right for it to be successful here at this time. We will continue to work with USA Cycling and UCI to determine the best methods and strategies to once again bring professional cycling back to the Vail Valley and Colorado.”

Sean Petty, CEO of USA Cycling echoed Folz’s sentiments, “I am hopeful and confident that we will have a major international cycling event in Vail in the very near future. We are grateful for all VVF has done over the years for cycling in the United States and worldwide.”

The Vail Valley Foundation is non-profit organization with a mission to enhance and sustain the spirit of the Vail Valley by providing leadership in educational, athletic and cultural endeavors. The organization produces the Birds of Prey world cup ski races, the Honda Session snowboard invitational, the American Ski Classic, the Vail International Dance Festival, as well as year-round free concert series. The Foundation is the managing organization of the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater and the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek, in addition to funding several educational initiatives for Eagle County students. For more information on all Vail Valley Foundation events, visit

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Eagle River Ride Early Registration Deadline and Bike To work Day!

As many of you probably know, today is Bike To Work Day. We took the opportunity to post up at a couple of the local aid stations spearheaded by Eagle County to talk about the Colorado Stage.

It was great seeing our friends at the Snowboard Outreach Society and VailVelo this AM at many of the stations. SOS is a nonprofit organization that builds character skills for underserved youth that is helping us coordinate the Divide Ride Citizens Ride at the Colorado Stage (we also work with them on the Honda Session and many other local events). VailVelo is a club/forum/guide to cycling from Vail to Gypsum. They are a great local cycling resource and a wealth of information for anyone looking to cycle in the area.

SOS reminded us that Friday is actually the early registration deadline for the annual Colorado-Eagle River Ride. After Friday, the registration fee goes from $85 to $95. Last year they had 950 riders with all proceeds going to support SOS. The River Ride takes place on July 26 and will be another opportunity for anyone to register for the Divide Ride at the Colorado Stage.

To register for the River Ride CLICK HERE.
To register for the Divide Ride CLICK HERE... or, you can also register in-person at the River Ride.

Check out some photos from Bike To Work Day in Avon:

Local cyclists at the Avon aid station. Breakfast, coffee, SWAG and goodies for everyone!

A Colorado Stage Innagural Sticker sighting!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Photos and videos for a first year event?

As we prepared to launch our new site we struggled trying to figure out how to promote the Inaugural Colorado Stage International Cycle Classic without relevant event photos and videos.

Being a first-year event, obviously we have nothing. With our other events like the Honda Session and Birds of Prey Race Week the solution is typically pretty easy. Find photos and videos from previous years and use them anywhere we can. But with the Stage, it has not been that simple in year one.

Initially we decided we would just upload a bunch of beautiful mountain imagery from along the race routes. Our thinking was that relevant scenic imagery would convey the natural beauty of Colorado and the Vail Valley. This sounded great on paper until we saw what it started to look like. We had a site that looked like any other mountain destination site full of dramatic mountain images that failed miserably to promote the excitement and action of professional cycling.

We finally purchased stock cycling and peloton images to create a sense of action, instead of just beauty. We combined the cycling imagery with the scenics to convey what we envision this race looking like in person. Exciting cycling in a beautiful (and grueling) setting. As soon as we have relevant event photos we will obviously switch those out, however, for the time being it is the best we could do. Check out the Coors Classic and World Mountain Bike Championships pages to see some photos we dug up from past cycling events we've either hosted in Vail or worked on at the Vail Valley Foundation.

What about video? That one was a bit harder as stock videos are not really compelling and/or relevant in our case (trust us... we looked). As we looked at websites for similar events like the Tour of California and Tour of Georgia we were immediately drawn to the video. Their video libraries were fantastic for conveying the excitement of professional cycling in both states.

Enter the Coors Classic. Since Vail is no stranger to professional cycling considering our history with that event we reached out to Michael Aisner to attain rights to Vail Coors Classic footage. We were able to track down some footage from Vail and were granted permission to use it on our website to promote the Colorado Stage. We are fortunate to have this footage and thank everyone that helped to attain or grant that permission.

The footage from the Coors Classic is great and for anyone that was not around during those days it does a great job of conveying the excitement and spectator base a race of this designation can bring to our Valley. Check out a couple of those short clips below. You can also visit the video/photo gallery on the new website to view more videos.

1987 Coors Classic: Vail Time Trial:

1984 Coors Classic: Vail Time Trial:

Team Confirmations

The first round of team confirmations are in! We are excited to announce that the teams below will be amongst the Pro Tour, Pro Continental & Continental teams attending the inaugural Colorado Stage International Cycle Classic.

As additional teams are confirmed we will let you know. As per our previous blog postings (click here) we are playing a bit of a chess match with our first-year event budgets, UCI requirements and team schedules... all while working to deliver the highest quality event possible to both teams and spectators alike. It's a tough game, however, we are excited to start seeing teams like the ones below expressing an interest in the Colorado Stage.

Pro Tour Teams:

Team High Road

Pro Continental Teams:

BMC Racing Team

Slipstream Chipotle presented by H30

Continental T

Bissell Pro Cycling

Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light

Jittery Joe's Pro Cycling

Toyota-United Pro Cycling

We have also confirmed Tecos...

New Website Live!

The new website for the Inaugural Colorado Stage International Cycle Classic launched yesterday.

The new site is at

The new site has all the race info for all three stages as well as the Divide Ride Citizen's ride. You can also check out confirmed teams and access information about viewing access.

The site is brand new and has too much content to highlight everything here. Go check it out and let us know what you think. We value everyone's insight and hope to see you in August for the races!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Bolder Bolder - Guerilla Style

If you are going to be tackling the Boulder Boulder this weekend look for us around the festivities at the finish line. We will be there in full guerrilla attire handing out stickers and Colorado Stage SWAG getting people excited for the race.

Since we don't have our official merchandise printed yet, if you come say hello and let us know you read our blog I will personally give you the Stage hat off my head.

Paul - VVF Marketing

Formal Team Invitations

Formal Team Invitations are going out next week. We can't give you too many details yet... but, we can tell you a bit about the process.

Being a new event we are faced with some unique challenges when figuring out which teams we want and need to invite. If money was no object it would be simple, send invites out to 15 Pro Tour Teams. However, this is not the case. We are playing a giant chess match with invites... and budgets do play a role in this game.

One of the difficulties in coming up with an invite list is balancing a number of things such as budgets, UCI requirements, team schedule, and providing the highest level of competition we can. The Tour de France has it easy; everyone wants to be there and will do anything to make that happen. As a first year event we don’t have that luxury. We need to convince the Pro Tour teams that they should come to our race. Given that our event falls smack dab in the middle of the European racing calendar it’s a tough thing to do.

We are targeting a small number of Pro Tour teams and Pro Continental teams that we feel would be a good fit to our roster of 15 invites. After that we look to the domestic Continental teams to make up the balance of our 15 slots. Again that is easier said than done. The tough part is we don’t have room for all the Domestic teams. Which means some will not get an invitation. We have to look at how the teams have done this year and how they represent the sport. Like I said, it’s a big chess game of, “if this team says yes then who we will slot for the rest of the spots.”

Check back soon, as we should be able to announce our first round of accepted teams in the next week or two.

Adam – VVF Operations

Inaugural Year Stickers!

FedEx just dropped off our first batch of Inaugural Year Colorado Stage Stickers today... look for those things to start turning up all over the place...

If you are not in the area and want to get your hands on one of these sweet sticks... shoot us an email at or give us a call at 970-949-1999. We will place a couple in the mail for you and make sure they make it to you well before the races.

Route Maps and Stage Descriptions

Quick route update today for the Colorado Stage. Today we are posting map's for each stage to view and download. We are also working on some really cool interactive maps with the team at -- look for those coming soon. They are pulling together 3D Google Earth fly-overs of each Stage Route and helping us build interactive maps for the new site... really cool stuff.

Stage 1: Breckenridge to Beaver Creek
Friday, August 22, 2008

The opening day’s 130-mile road race will begin on Main Street in Breckenridge, taking riders over
Hoosier Pass and south down into Alma, Fairplay 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. Featuring three mountain passes, 11,000 feet of vertical gain and a lung-searing three-mile uphill finish sprint to Beaver Creek Village, the opening stage will definitely not be for the faint of heart. With Hoosier Pass at 11,524 feet and Tennessee Pass at 10,424 feet, the riders are going to need to be in tremendous shape to be in contention at the finish.

The first Stage will feature two Sprint Lines, one in Buena Vista and another in Leadville. Stage 1 will also feature two King of
the Mountain areas, the first at the summit of Hoosier Pass and the second at the summit of Battle Mountain Pass. Those areas are indicated on the map below... and will provide exciting viewing areas during the event...

Click here to download a larger, printable version.

Stage 2: Vail Valley Circuit Race
Saturday, August 23, 2008

Day two will feature the circuit race, with a total of eight and one half laps of 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.

Stage two sprint lines will be at the finish line in Lionshead Village adjacent to the Lionshead parking structure. This stage will be very spectator friendly and the finish line in Lionshead will provide great viewing access. You will be able to catch the dash to the finish line and Sprint Line dashes on alternating laps.

Click here to download a larger, printable version.

Stage 3: Vail Classic Time Trial
Sunday, August 24, 2008

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. Competitors will begin the grueling individual ascent in Vail Village hoping to past 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 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.

Click here to download a larger, printable version.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Citizen's Ride - The Divide Ride

We are excited to announce the "Divide Ride," a Citizen's Ride component at the 2008 Colorado Stage. For those of us not currently racing for a UCI sanctioned Pro Tour, Pro Continental or Continental team, this is your chance to ride a portion of the actual Stage racecourse, score some great SWAG and check out the action - all while getting your ride on.

The Divide Ride is also before the final leg of the Stage, so after you're done with your ride you can head over to Vail Village for the Vail Classic Time Trial. You can also catch the awards ceremony, where we will crown the winner of the inaugural Colorado Stage International Cycle Classic!

Here are the details... more to come soon!

Divide Ride: Citizen's Ride
Sunday, August 24
Rolling Start: 6am-8am

A 100K out and back ride beginning at the base of Beaver Creek Resort and following a portion of the Colorado scenic byway Top of the Rockies (Highway 6 & 24) up Battle Mountain Pass. The turn around point is at the summit of Tennessee Pass (elevation 10,424 feet). Full support with two aid stations providing drinks and light snacks will be available; one near Red Cliff and one at Tennessee Pass. All cyclists must wear an ANSI or Snell approved helmet.

The Divide Ride is open to cyclists of all levels and abilities.

Early registration through July 26: $75
**May register via mail-in (paperwork to come soon), on-line and at the Colorado River Ride on July 26

On-line registration July 27 through August 22: $85
** or

Day of race registration on August 24: $100
**Elk Lot at the base of Beaver Creek Resort/Avon

Mail completed registration forms and checks payable to the Vail Valley Foundation:
VVF/Colorado Stage Divide Ride
Post Office Box 309
Vail, CO 81658

YouTube video from Battle Mountain Pass:

Monday, May 19, 2008

Colorado Stage and Town Council

As this event becomes a reality, we have been working closely with all the local town councils to ensure we deliver the best possible product for each community, as well as the spectators and teams. Throughout the ongoing planning process we've met countless times with the town councils in Vail and Leadville, amongst several others. Each town is unique... as are their respective councils.

One of the latest developments on the Town Council front involves another local Vail Valley event, the Vail Farmers' Market. Both the race and the market are scheduled for the same day and time (Sunday, August 24). In the end it was decided that holding both events at the same time would only add to the excitement. By sharing public space, we will be increasing the animation and experience for both audiences.

So, in short... make sure to check out to the Colorado Stage on Sunday, August 24. Not only will you be able to see the final stage of the race and the crowing of the inaugural Colorado Stage champion... but you can do it all while shopping for great artwork and fresh produce at the very same time! The Vail Farmers' Market is a hallmark community event, and when paired with the excitement of the bike race, promises to make for a memorable day in the Vail Valley for the entire family!

New website!

We are working very hard to launch a new website for the Colorado Stage at We don't want to let the cat out of the bag just yet, however, we think the site is going to be pretty slick and couldn't wait to tell you all about it. The new site will have live results, an event webcast and fully downloadable photo and video galleries. When the site goes live you will be able to check out all the event details, confirmed teams and bios and also view fully interactive maps that will show the massive elevation and distances these stages will cover.

We anticipate launching the site in early June and will let you know when it is live here on our blog. For the time being, you can still get event details at, however note that currently that page is just a page on our master site at Our new site will be much more bike specific!

Here is a screen shot of the new site:

Davis Phinney Video

Davis Phinney talks about the return of international cycling to the Vail Valley. Phinney won the 88 Coors Classic and speaks about the Colorado Stage International Cycle Classic bringing the spirit of cycling back to the Vail Valley and Colorado Rocky Mountains.

The Colorado Stage will take place August 22-24, 2008 and is a project of the Vail Valley Foundation.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Checking in on the Tour of California

During the second week of February, a delegation of about a dozen people traveled out to California to “observe” our counterparts working the Amgen Tour of California. Seven of us from the Vail Valley Foundation, including myself, our competition and logistics director and a few from our facilities crew descended upon Palo Alto for some delicious seafood and exciting cycling! We were also joined by representatives from the Colorado State Patrol, the CSP Motorcycle Division and the Town of Vail Police Department—such a motley crew.

Since this is the first cycling event I’ve ever been involved with, admittedly I’m GREEN. From a marketing perspective, the Tour of California is huge and honestly, a bit daunting. From billboards to rolling truck banner-ads, the scope of that event (covering the entire state in 7 stages) is just way bigger than anything we’ll ever have here in Vail. That said, there was a lot to be learned and a lot to do. We’re so lucky to have cycle-fever here in Colorado, so I’m sure that once the word is out about the Stage, it will spread like wildfire and the roads will be lined with spectators—let’s hope!

Unlike ski racing, the press center for bike races is roaming. At every finish line, there must be a press conference and press center set up. For stage 1, we were housed on the beautiful campus of Stanford University; Stage 2 was in the city of Santa Rosa at the Hyatt; Stage 3 was at the Convention Center in Sacramento. I stayed for the first Stage and the facilities staff stayed for the first 2 Stages. I was impressed by the small staff from KOM Sports that kept all the press operations running smoothly.

Things I never would have thought about before going to California: Issuing media credentials for camera crews riding motorcycles, the danger of photographers getting run over just after the sprint to the finish line, the webcast airplane needing to re-fuel and not being able to transmit the race signal, having to wait for podium athletes to re-hydrate so they’re able to pee in the anti-doping cup... What a learning curve!

I would say our most notable experiences in California surrounded the Rock Racing cycling team. The team rolls everywhere in black Cadillacs and giant tour buses—all emblazoned with neon-green skulls. They sponsored the podium girls portion of the race and had their stick figure models, all wearing skin tight Rock & Republic jeans (of course) with black stilettos to hand out the awards—I loved it! As a marketing chick, I fully appreciated the buzz they were causing and watched how people gobbled up their notoriety...genius.

We’re currently getting our Stage marketing plan together that includes everything from the grass-roots bike shop angle to placing ads in major glossy publications—again, a lot to do in not much time! Stay tuned for more...

- Shelley Woodworth, Director of Marketing & PR for the Vail Valley Foundation

The Decision to Create the Colorado Stage

An international cycling event has been on the Vail Valley Foundation’s radar screen for quite some time. The board of directors has been very supportive of adding a summer athletic event to the organization’s collection of internationally renowned winter competitions including the Birds of Prey Downhill Race Week and Honda Session (and many others). And road cycling, along with golf, has always been high on our list of potential options.

The Vail Valley has a long history with cycling, both road and mountain, dating back to the days of the Coors Classic. I was fortunate enough to run the Vail segment of the Coors Classic prior to joining the Vail Valley Foundation, and have first hand knowledge of the excitement and celebration that a major road race brings to a community, as well as to the racing fans.

When I joined the Foundation, I headed up all of the organizing efforts for our mountain biking events, including the 1994 and 2001 UCI World Mountain Bike Championships. While mountain biking is obviously a different sport from road cycling, we made a concerted effort to bring the racing to the people, rather than expect the people to find their way up the mountain to the racing. We routed the cross-country course through Vail Village, similar to the Coors Classic criterium days, and I am pleased to say that we achieved the desired results, with tremendous crowds and a wonderful atmosphere.

When discussions and negotiations ended on another proposed Vail-based road cycling event in 2005, the Vail Valley Foundation picked up the ball, working closely with Sean Petty and USA Cycling, to create the concept of the Colorado Stage International Cycle Classic. We got far enough along in the process in 2006 to have USA Cycling submit a tentative September date for the UCI calendar, but were forced to withdraw that proposal.

In 2007, we made the firm commitment for an August 2008 race. We're working diligently toward revitalizing the spirit and enthusiasm of the Coors Classic days while also relishing the fact that we are helping to bring another major international road race event to Colorado and the Vail Valley. We hope you join us for what promises to be an outstanding cycling event this August!

- Ceil Folz, President of the Vail Valley Foundation