WOMEN'S STAGE BREAKDOWN
Stage 1 - 10 a.m. Thursday (approximate finish 11:30 a.m.), Colorado Springs. 38.36 miles, 2,230 feet of elevation gain. A group of 75 female cyclists will get things rolling on the same course to be raced later in the day by the men. The route includes two trips up Ridge Road into Garden of the Gods, a stretch that boasts grades of nearly 17 percent. But the top spot to watch the action unfold is downtown, where riders will finish in a flurry with three high-intensity laps on a 2.4-mile circuit. With several tight corners and a few long straightaways, this conclusion will be dramatic. Expect high speeds during a sprint finish on Tejon Street.
Stage 2 - 11 a.m. Friday (approximate finish 12:45 p.m.), Breckenridge. 32 miles, 3,660 feet of elevation gain. The finale will dish out plenty of pain, and the first rider to finish likely will be the first champion of the Colorado Classic. Expect the climbers to rule the day as five ascents of Moonstone Road will no doubt splinter the field. In 2015, three-time Olympic gold medalist Kristin Armstrong prevailed on a similar course en route to winning the USA Pro Challenge. She and Allie Dragoo, who's back racing this week, also proved to be every bit as capable as the men, posting times that bettered eight of their male counterparts.