When the Redlands Bicycle Classic starts next week, it will also kick off the 10th annual Women’s Prestige Cycling Series.
The Series was born at a Women’s Cycling Summit Conference held during the 2003 Nature Valley Grand Prix. One action item resulting from conversations with female cyclists and team managers attending the conference was to create a focused, national women-only series. The goal of that series was to give women’s racing a spotlight that they didn’t have to share with the men.
The next year, 2004, saw the first edition of the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series.
The Series’ 10th anniversary schedule includes three USA Cycling National Racing Calendar events, beginning in April and ending in July:
- April 4 -7 – Redlands Bicycle Classic (California)
- June 12 -16 – Nature Valley Grand Prix (Minnesota)
- July 16 – 21 – Bend Memorial Clinic Cascade Cycling Classic (Oregon)
The Nature Valley Grand Prix has been a part of every Women’s Prestige Cycling Series. The Redlands Classic is in the line-up for the ninth time in 10 years, while this is the fifth year for the Bend Memorial Clinic Cascade Cycling Classic.
“We were thrilled and honored when the Bend Memorial Clinic Cascade Cycling Classic was chosen as the grand finale event for the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series,” said Cascade race director Chad Sperry. “Women’s racing has always been a major priority for us, so this validated what we’ve been trying to achieve. We’re also pleased to be associated with such tremendous events as Redlands and Nature Valley, who share our passion in promoting women’s cycling.”
Four separate competitions comprise the Series: top overall individual, best young rider, best sprinter and top team. Special jerseys, provided by custom clothing manufacturer Champion System, will identify the leaders in the first three classifications.
Champions of the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series in 2012 were Megan Guarnier of TIBCO to the Top (top individual), Jade Wilcoxson of Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies (best sprinter), Lindsay Myers of TIBCO to the Top (best young rider) and Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies, which was the top team.
“The Women’s Prestige Cycling Series is a great way to promote women’s racing, which is why we participate every year,” said Rachel Heal, women’s team director for Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies. “Defending our team win of the Series is a priority for us. We’d like to repeat our win of the sprinter’s jersey and have our sights set on the overall jersey as well.”
For more information about the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series, visit the official website, WomenCyclists.com.
Photo © Christy Nicholson / EchelonDesignPhoto.com