STEAMBOAT SPRINGS • Colorado Classic spokesperson Jim Birrell says the third edition of the pro cycling race will be a game-changer. And not simply because the four-day event is highlighting only women.

Organizers also are changing the approach to how fans can watch. When the 96 riders from 20 countries gather at the start line at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, live streaming of Stage 1 will be available on the event’s website, (select watch now under the watch tab). The racing also will be simulcast on Facebook and YouTube (search for Colorado Classic).

“Historically, television for bike races has been transmitted from the field of play to something hovering above and then you throw it to a mountaintop or rooftop and ultimately down to a production truck. This year, we’re going to use both bonded cellular and wireless mesh. … So we’ll be transmitting live images from the field of play here in Steamboat Springs back down to Denver, where our hosts will be calling the race from start to finish live to a worldwide audience,” Birrell said.

For those wishing to watch on TV, Altitude Sports will have a live daily broadcast. Mobile users can follow the Colorado Classic via the Tour Tracker professional cycling app.

Thursday’s opening stage is a 53.2-mile route in Steamboat Springs that includes six miles on gravel. The race then moves to Avon and Golden before concluding Sunday afternoon in Denver.

The four stages measure 220 miles and include nearly 14,000 feet of elevation gain.

Sara Poidevin, the overall winner of the 2017 Colorado Classic, and Katie Hall, the event’s 2018 champion, are part of this year’s field. They will be joined by several Olympic medalists and world champions.

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