In what is shaping up as the most competitive women’s cycling series ever staged in the U.S., the 2014 Amgen Tour of California will welcome 20 high-caliber teams from around the world to compete in a women’s circuit race on May 11, followed by a time trial with nearly two dozen of the sport’s best on May 12. This is the first time in race history the Amgen Tour of California will host both a women’s time trial and a circuit race, bringing fans more women’s competition than any other event of its kind. The events are presented by SRAM.
For the circuit race, World and National Champions, Olympic medalists, and women from the top professional, national and composite teams will face off in Sacramento with the State Capitol as the backdrop following the start of the men’s eight-day stage race.
The U.S. professional teams selected for the circuit race include Team Specialized-lululemon, UCI’s second-ranked women’s team and World Team Time Trial Champions for two years running; UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team, which has earned overall victories at the Tour de San Luis and the Tour of El Salvador in their debut year as a team; TWENTY16 Pro Cycling presented by Breakaway from Cancer®, the only U.S. women’s road team to earn medals in the London Olympic Games; Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies, whose roster includes several riders for the U.S. national team as part of a Spring Classics campaign in Europe; and Team TIBCO, the top NRC-ranked team in the U.S in 2013, and the longest running women’s team in North America.
“Our thanks go to the race organizers for including women’s racing over two days this year,” said two-time Olympic time trial gold medalist Kristin Armstrong, who serves as the high performance director for the TWENTY16. “This is an incredible time to showcase the sport and an opportunity for women riders and teams to introduce the sport to the incredible viewership that the Amgen Tour of California generates. The next generation may be out there and inspired!”
The circuit race will be capped at 115 riders, a massive field that will add to the excitement as these stellar athletes race around California’s State Capitol building along a four-corner, 1.25-mile circuit course. The top three finishers will secure their team a coveted individual time trial position, allowing those teams to put their best time trial specialists in the mix the following day.
“We are thrilled to up the ante for women cyclists with two days of world-class racing at the 2014 Amgen Tour of California, and proud to provide powerful platform to promote women’s cycling,” said Kristin Bachochin, executive director of the race and senior vice president of AEG Sports. “The fields feature the top women cyclists in the sport today, and we know the excitement of hosting both events will be shared by cycling fans around the world.”
With team rosters yet to be announced, the complete list of teams participating in the 2014 Amgen Tour of California women’s circuit race includes:
- BMW Development Team
- Canada National Team
- China Chongming-Giant-Champion System Pro Cycling
- Colavita/Fine Cooking Women’s Pro Cycling Team
- CRCA: Stan’s NoTubes presented by enduranceWERX
- DNA Cycling presented by K4
- FCS|Zngine presented by Mr. Restore
- Folsom Bike/Cervélo
- Metromint Cycling
- Monster Media Racing Team
- Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies
- Pinnacle-Reactor Racing Team presented by JL Velo
- SPY GIANT RIDE Elite Cycling Team
- Team Specialized-lululemon
- Team TIBCO
- TWENTY16 Pro Cycling presented by Breakaway from Cancer
- Threshold Sports powered by Leadout Endurance Coaching
- UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team
- Vanderkitten Racing
“We’re obviously very proud to be a part of these events, and we anticipate two very fast and seriously exciting days of women’s racing. We hope the trend of more women’s events continues,” said Michael Zellmann, SRAM’s road public relations manager.
In what will be a thrilling time trial in Folsom on May 12, covering the same fast and flat 12.6-mile course the men will race later in the day, the invitation-only women’s individual event will feature some of the best time trialists in the world racing against the clock: returning champion Evelyn Stevens of Specialized-lululemon; top-ranked time trialists Alison Powers of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team and Carmen Small of Specialized-lululemon; Amber Neben, who recently returned to competition riding for FCS|Zngine presented by Mr. Restore after a season-ending injury last year; and Paralympian and UCI Paracycling World Champion Greta Neimanas of the U.S. Paracycling Team.
“This will be my third time racing the Amgen Tour of California Time Trial, and I am thrilled. It is wonderful to have the chance to partake in part of one of the big U.S. stage races – the fans are always great, and the courses are always challenging,” said 2013 Amgen Tour of California Time Trial champion Evelyn Stevens.
“After a horrific crash at last year’s race, the first cycling goal I set was to be healthy enough to race in the 2014 version of the Amgen Tour of California Time Trial,” said Amber Neben, a world time trial and national road race champion. “I am very excited to be able to accept the invitation to compete in both the time trial and the new circuit race. It is special for me to make it back to this level, and it is important for the sport of women’s cycling to have opportunities like the Amgen Tour of California.”
The start list for the May 12 Folsom time trial follows:
- Evelyn Stevens, Team Specialized-lululemon
- Carmen Small, Team Specialized-lululemon
- Jasmin Glaesser, Team TIBCO
- Anika Todd, Team TIBCO
- Laura Brown, Colavita/Fine Cooking Women’s Pro Cycling Team
- Annie Ewart, Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies
- Brianna Walle, Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies
- Kristin McGrath, TWENTY16 Pro Cycling presented by Breakaway from Cancer
- Alison Tetrick, TWENTY16 Pro Cycling presented by Breakaway from Cancer
- Gillian Carleton, Vanderkitten Racing
- Amber Neben, FCS|Zngine presented by Mr. Restore
- Hong Yu Liang, China Chongming-Giant-Champion System Pro Cycling
- Greta Neimanas, U.S. Paracycling Team
- Robin Farina, SPY GIANT RIDE Elite Cycling Team
- Alison Powers, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team
- Mara Abbott, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team
- Kathryn Bertine, Saint Kitts and Nevis National Team
The final three spots will go to the top three finishers of the May 11 circuit race.
“I’m super excited to be racing the Amgen Tour of California Time Trial this year. It’s one of the highest profile events for women’s cycling in the U.S., and being invited to compete is an honor,” said Paralympian Greta Neimanas. “Hopefully by racing in Folsom, it will bring a bit more attention to paracycling and show that we’re serious athletes, just like the able-bodied pros. I’d like to thank the race organizers, sponsors and SRAM – I can’t wait to race!”
The cyclists will compete for a combined prize of $20,000 over the two races, one of the highest payouts in domestic women’s cycling. Both women’s races will be streamed live via the Amgen Tour of California Tour Tracker, available, and will be featured in the race’s television broadcast later in the day.
Above Photo – The Specialized-lululemon celebrates a win after the 2014 San Dimas Stage Race road race.
Photo © Christy Nicholson / EchelonDesignPhoto.com