DENVER, Colo. (December 21, 2020) — Denver’s Sharon Madison has won Colorado Classic’s Virtual Yellow Jersey presented by the Gates Corporation for her on- and off-the-bike contributions to the greater cycling community.
Nominated by her peers no less than 14 times, Madison was once a professional cyclist, and has since dedicated her life’s work to building a community around the idea that a bike creates freedom and empowerment. She started the bike club at Wish 4 Wheels, providing bikes to second graders at Title 1 schools in Denver, and in the midst of the pandemic she created a new non-profit organization – We Ride 4 — which raises funds to support organizations that promote fitness, health and outdoor adventure for children.
Thousands of community votes came in during a weeklong voting period, which was a contest between three lead nominees: local judge Randi Polidori, team director Kathryn Curi and Madison. In the end, Madison will be crowned this year’s yellow jersey winner for which she will receive a signed 2019 Colorado Classic Leaders jersey as well as a Priority Bicycles Brilliant L Train Bicycle, equipped with a Gates Carbon Drive belt system.
The Gates Corporation has generously decided to ensure a happy end to the year for the runners up as well. Polidori and Curi will be also gifted a Gates Carbon Drive belt system equipped bike to see them off on new bike adventures in 2021. (See a congratulatory video here).
“In this year of unprecedented challenges, it’s important to stay true to our values, especially those that make a big impact on individuals and communities,” said Tom Pitstick, Gates CMO and senior vice president. “Supporting the Yellow Jersey Competition demonstrates our commitment to the personal mobility movement, the cycling community and the phenomenal women who are a part of both. Having supported the Colorado Classic since its inception, we are delighted to reward the top three finalists each with a Priority Bike.”
The 2020 Virtual Yellow Jersey was the fifth and final competition of Colorado Classic’s four-month long #InspiredWeRide Jersey Campaign, which was the organization’s latest initiative in a series of ways to keep the cycling world engaged during this unusual and trying year.
When faced with the cancellation of their event, the organizers of the Colorado Classic doubled down on their mission to be more than a race, and act as a movement to inspire and empower women of all ages to break the mold, and fight for their goals. Throughout the year, the Colorado Classic created in engagement with their community by hosting a variety of activations:
- Athlete webinars to educate and inform athletes of all disciplines about matters like branding, marketing, sponsorship and media training
- An inspirational speaker series to foster corporate dialogue among partners and the community
- A fundraising ride on Zwift to financially support the teams who would have attended the Colorado Classic
- A four-month-long Virtual Jersey Campaign and various other social media campaigns to engage and entertain the cycling community as a whole
“2020 kept us on our toes and thinking creatively. We worked tirelessly to serve our community and partners, amplify women’s voices, further corporate dialogue and engagement, and bring world-wide exposure to women athletes even whilst having to cancel our event. No one could have predicted the year that we had, but looking back we are proud of how we navigated it,” said Lucy Diaz, CEO of RPM Events Group LLC.
“Of course we hope to return to racing in 2021, and will continue to relentlessly advocate for, celebrate and empower female athletes.”