Major Women’s Stage Racing Returns to its Birthplace in Colorado
17 Aug, 2015
The Women’s USA Pro Challenge has revealed the much anticipated teams and riders set to race in the inaugural event on August 21st, beginning in Breckenridge, Colorado.
The inaugural Women’s USA Pro Challenge brings back international level women’s stage racing in Colorado for the first time since the Coors Classic in the 1980s, when Boulderite Connie Carpenter-Phinney was ripping apart international fields of riders. A new era will be ushered in this year, when two-time Olympic gold medalist in the time trial, Kristin Armstrong, and two-time Giro Rosa winner, Boulder’s Mara Abbott, lead a field of top international and U.S. riders that will showcase some of America’s greatest talent.
“We are very pleased with the response and support from the women’s teams who are going to provide three days of exciting racing at the inaugural Women’s USA Pro Challenge,” said Sean Petty, the Women’s USA Pro Challenge race director and the former COO of USA Cycling. “The women will be energized by the challenging courses, huge crowds and great host communities.”
The three-day stage race starts with an individual time trial, which favors Armstrong, then moves to a challenging road race from Loveland to Fort Collins before the finishing criterium on a tough circuit in downtown Golden. The three days will feature time trial, climbing and sprinting disciplines.
“There is a tremendous amount of excitement built around the women’s race and it will be the first time in 27 years both the men and women share the same roads,” said Shawn Hunter, CEO of USA Pro Challenge.
The women’s field includes riders from seven countries and many of the top professional women who call Colorado home.
Armstrong’s Twenty16 presented by Sho-Air team is one of the best in the field. The team also features Andrea Dvorak, who recently won Oregon’s Cascade Classic, and top time trialist Allie Dragoo. The Twenty16 squad will most likely be challenged by a strong UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling team with Hannah Barnes and Katie Hall. UHC’s Coryn Rivera is one of the world’s fastest sprinters and a threat to win any bunch sprint. Climber Abby Mickey will give Hall support during the hilly Stage 2 route.
Canadian Jasmin Glaesser is a rising star in the sport and most recently won the Pan American Games in Toronto. Her Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies team also has veteran sprinter and time trialist, Ali Tetrick.
Golden’s criterium stage may be the most hotly contested with several good sprinters. Outside of Tetrick, Rivera, and Barnes, look for New Zealand’s Jo Kiesanowski of Team Tibco - SVB, and Americans Erica Zaveta of BMW presented by Happy Tooth Dental, and Meredith Miller of Pepper Palace Pro Cycling presented by The Happy Tooth.
Mara Abbott, arguably the most versatile of all American cyclists, will lead the Amy D. Foundation team. Abbott was second at this year’s Giro Rosa and also won Tour of the Gila and Redlands Bicycle Classic stage races.
And the Colorado Women’s Cycling Project presented by Spark team will feature a composite team of some of Colorado’s top, elite women.
The teams competing in the Women’s USA Pro Challenge are the following:
• TWENTY16 p/b Sho-Air
• Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
• UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team
• BMW p/b Happy Tooth Dental
• Pepper Palace Pro Cycling p/b The Happy Tooth
• Team TIBCO-SVB
• Visit Dallas p/b Noise4Good
• Colavita/Bianchi p/b Fine Cooking
• DNA Cycling p/b K4
• Colorado Women’s Cycling Project p/b Spark
• Fearless Femme p/b Haute Wheels Racing
• Amy D. Foundation
About the USA Pro Challenge: Referred to as “America’s Race,” the USA Pro Challenge will take place August 17-23, 2015. For seven consecutive days, the world’s top athletes race through the majestic Colorado Rockies, reaching higher altitudes than they’ve ever had to endure. The inaugural Women’s USA Pro Challenge is a three-day invitation-only event and will kick off in Breckenridge on August 21st and conclude in Golden on August 23rd. One of the largest cycling events in U.S. history and the largest spectator event in the history of the state, the USA Pro Challenge is back for 2015. Featuring a challenging course, the fifth annual race will spotlight the best of the best in professional cycling and some of America’s most beautiful scenery.