We have the American Grand Tours: California, Georgia and Missouri (well, had, in Georgia's case). We have people supposedly planning a nationwide Tour of some sort, which is fun to think about and ridicule on occasion. We have Philly Week, a series of tough races for the continental circuit and a few Europeans as well. There's even the Cascade Classic, Sea Otter, and I'm sure I'm leaving off a few more big names.
That's a lot of stage races, and not much in the way of Classics. We need an American Classic.
Yes, Philly is one. In fact, to this day that remains America's signature one-day event. Greenville is up and coming, but as the US Championships its appeal beyond Americans will likely be limited. (Do they even still invite foreigners?) Really, it's Philly and that's it. Notwithstanding the Manayunk Wall, it's a GP course that ends in a sprint sometimes. Excellent race, to be sure. But not classics material.
In my mind, a Classic isn't a circuit race. Beyond that, the requirements are minimal, other than it be hard. In Ursula's massive thread from this weekend (which I am still digesting), there is some discussion of the lack of an alpine classic, following the demise of the Classique des Alpes. Can you tell where I'm going with this?
We need about 150 miles. Start in Colorado Springs, wind your way up to Leadville, or Crested Butte, or better yet A$pen (if that's not too far). Make it beautiful -- this would be the easy part, pretty much anything off the interstate. Do it in August, a post- TdF event, like the old Coors Classic... if the Euros liked that beast, maybe they'd like a one-day event better? Scrap the Tour of America and refocus the energies here. Synch it up with the Tour of Missouri, so the Euros don't think they are coming over for just one day. [OK, that's totally different racing, but whatever.] And find at least a 1km climb for the finish line.
Brilliant, right? right? [cricket sounds...]
brief UPDATE: Am I dreaming? Certainly, in the short term. Economics aren't my forte, but this seems like a bad year for bold new ideas. Or! Maybe this is exactly the time for bold new ideas! In any case, I can wait til 2011, but that's it.