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Dramatic Finish on Tap for Women’s Prestige Cycling Series

July 19, 2010

Minneapolis (July 19, 2010) – The individual, sprint and team classifications remain up for grabs with one race remaining in the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series.

The 30th edition of the Bend Memorial Clinic Cascade Cycling Classic begins Tuesday. The six-day event is the longest consecutively run elite stage race in the United States.

In the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series individual standings, Mara Abbott (Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12) holds a 41-point lead over Alison Powers (Team Vera Bradley Foundation). Powers said she is feeling good and will have a team of seven riders around her while Abbott will bring only three teammates to Bend, Ore.

Mara Abbott (left) wore the Sports Beans Queen of the Hills jersey on the final stage of the Nature Valley Grand Prix in Stillwater, Minn (photo courtesy: Stephanie Williams)

“I have good fitness and I’m motivated and our team is strong, so I’m hoping we can do well,” Powers said. “This has been a hard season competition-wise, which is really cool. All the teams have strong riders. All the teams have good depth.”

Brooke Miller (TIBCO/To the Top Pro Cycling Team) stands third in the sprint classification, but the two riders ahead of her – Shelley Evans (Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12) and Carmen Small (Colavita/Baci presented by Cooking Light) are not on their teams’ roster for the race.

Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 holds the lead in the team classification, but Team Vera Bradley Foundation remains in striking distance.

The difference in sizes of the Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 and Vera Bradley Foundation teams could mean some drama in the team classification since the top four riders score points, said David LaPorte, the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series co-founder who also directs the Nature Valley Grand Prix.

“Abbott’s teammates will probably all be riding in support of her, which doesn’t bode well for their individual results,” LaPorte said. “Abbott’s points are doubled since she’s under the age of 26, but the Vera Bradley Foundation is likely to have more riders gaining points.”

Abbott, winner of the recent women’s Giro d’Italia, already has the best young rider (Under 26) jersey sewed up.

The Women’s Prestige Cycling Series is the only national bicycle racing series solely showcasing the country’s top female cycling talent. It began in March with the Redlands Bicycle Classic, followed by the SRAM Tour of the Gila in New Mexico in late April and continued at Nature Valley Grand Prix in eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin last month.

For more information about the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series, visit the official website, www.WomenCyclists.com, or send an e-mail to: wpcs2010 @ womencyclists.com.

INDIVIDUAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Mara Abbott, Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 – 360.
2. Alison Powers, Team Vera Bradley Foundation – 319.
3. Evelyn Stevens, HTC-Columbia – 275.
4. Erinne Willock, Webcor Builders – 246.
5. Shelley Evans, Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 – 242.

BEST YOUNG RIDER (UNDER 26) CLASSIFICATION

1. Mara Abbott, Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 – 605.
2. Rebecca Much, TIBCO/To the Top Pro Cycling Team – 319.
3. Amanda Miller, TIBCO/To the Top Pro Cycling Team – 319.
4. Chloe Forsman, Specialized D4W/Bicycle Haus, 297.
5. Melanie Meyers, Specialized D4W/Bicycle Haus, 275.

SPRINT CLASSIFICATION

1. Shelley Evans, Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 – 385.
2. Carmen Small, Colavita/Baci p/b Cooking Light – 289.
3. Brooke Miller, TIBCO/To the Top Pro Cycling Team – 286.
4. Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, HTC-Columbia – 220.
5. Carla Swart, Team Vera Bradley Foundation – 198.

TEAM CLASSIFICATION

1. Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 – 1,185.
2. Team Vera Bradley Foundation – 844.
3. HTC-Columbia – 814.
4. Colavita/Baci presented by Cooking Light – 644.
5. Webcor Builders – 616.

About the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series

The Women’s Prestige Cycling Series was created following input at the 2003 Women’s Cycling Summit Conference, hosted at the Nature Valley Grand Prix. The inaugural edition of the Series was held the following year. The goal of the Series is to promote women’s racing by giving them a spotlight that they do not have to share with men. The Women’s Prestige Cycling Series is considered the heir apparent to the HP International Women’s Challenge, a fabled women’s stage race that ended its 19-year run in 2003.

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Universal Sports Televising Nature Valley Grand Prix

July 10, 2010

Minneapolis (July 9, 2010) – One of the most exciting editions in the history of the Nature Valley Grand Prix, the top-ranked race on the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar, will be broadcast on Universal Sports, sharing nationally what fans in eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin enjoyed in person last month.

The hour-long program will air on Universal Sports at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. EDT (5 p.m. and 8 p.m. PDT) on Monday, July 12 – a rest day for the Tour de France. The program will feature highlights of all five days of the men’s and women’s Nature Valley Grand Prix that took place June 16-20.

With the retirement of four-time Nature Valley Grand Prix champion Kristin Armstrong, the women’s race was a see-saw affair, with the yellow leader’s jersey changing hands four times. The primary battle was between Armstrong’s new team, Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12, Team TIBCO/To the Top and HTC-Columbia.

The men’s race was a classic duel between two-time defending champion Rory Sutherland (UnitedHealthcare presented by Maxxis) and Scott Zwizanski (Kelly Benefit Strategies). The contest was decided in the last two laps of the last stage in Stillwater.

“It was one of the most exciting races that we’ve held,” Nature Valley Grand Prix Director David LaPorte said. “The women’s race was aggressive and dynamic while the men’s race was a real cliffhanger. Those are the two classic racing scenarios, and we were lucky enough to have had both of them.”

About the Nature Valley Grand Prix

The Nature Valley Grand Prix, which takes place in Eastern Minnesota and Western Wisconsin, is the premier stage race on the 2010 USA Cycling National Racing Calendar. The 2010 race will include stops in Saint Paul, Cannon Falls, Minneapolis, Menomonie, and Stillwater. The Nature Valley Grand Prix is a part of the Nature Valley Bicycle Festival, a volunteer-run event, with all proceeds donated to Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, the festival’s benefiting charity. More information can be found www.NatureValleyBicycleFestival.com.

About Nature Valley

Nature Valley, the brand that created the granola bar category in 1975, brings variety to healthy, active consumers looking for wholesome and great-tasting snacks. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Nature Valley is part of General Mills, a leading global manufacturer and marketer of consumer foods products. For more information, visit www.NatureValley.com.

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Abbott Still Leads Women’s Prestige Cycling Series

July 3, 2010

Minneapolis – With one race remaining in the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series, new U.S. national road champion Mara Abbott (Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12) holds a slim lead over Alison Powers (Team Vera Bradley Foundation) and Evelyn Stevens (HTC-Columbia).

Abbott has held the lead in the individual standings since her win at the SRAM Tour of the Gila. But Stevens closed the gap at the Nature Valley Grand Prix with a runner-up finish to Abbott’s teammate, Shelley Evans – who climbed into the top five on the strength of her victory. Abbott, Powers and Evans all plan to compete in the final Series event, the Bend Memorial Clinic Cascade Cycling Classic, in Oregon later this month.

Mara Abbott celebrated her lead in the Women's Prestige Cycling Series on Father's Day at the Nature Valley Grand Prix.

In contrast, Abbott holds an insurmountable lead in the Series Best Young Rider competition in her last year of eligibility. The race is now for second place, with TIBCO/To the Top teammates Rebecca Much and Amanda Miller and Specialized D4W/Bicycle Haus teammates Chloe Forsman and Melanie Meyers separated by a scant 44 points.

Evans, the newly crowned U.S. national criterium champion, took over the lead in the top sprinter category from Carmen Small (Colavita/Baci presented by Cooking Light). Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12’s domination extends to the team standings and Abbott’s commanding lead in the Best Young Rider (Under 26) standings.

Peanut Butter & Co. Twenty 12 not only holds the lead in all of the Series classifications, but also in the team competition, where they lead Team Vera Bradley Foundation by 341 points. Like the Best Young Rider competition, the race may be for second place here as well, with Team Vera Bradley Foundation leading HTC-Columbia by only 30 points.

INDIVIDUAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Mara Abbott, Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 – 360.
2. Alison Powers, Team Vera Bradley Foundation – 319.
3. Evelyn Stevens, HTC-Columbia – 275
4. Erinne Willock, Webcor Builders – 246
5. Shelley Evans, Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 – 242.

BEST YOUNG RIDER (UNDER 26) CLASSIFICATION

1. Mara Abbott, Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 – 605.
2. Rebecca Much, TIBCO/To the Top Pro Cycling Team – 319.
3. Amanda Miller, TIBCO/To the Top Pro Cycling Team – 319.
4. Chloe Forsman, Specialized D4W/Bicycle Haus, 297.
5. Melanie Meyers, Specialized D4W/Bicycle Haus, 275.

SPRINT CLASSIFICATION

1. Shelley Evans, Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 – 385.
2. Carmen Small, Colavita/Baci p/b Cooking Light – 289.
3. Brooke Miller, TIBCO/To the Top Pro Cycling Team – 286.
4. Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, HTC-Columbia – 220.
5. Carla Swart, Team Vera Bradley Foundation – 198.

TEAM CLASSIFICATION

1. Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 – 1,185.
2. Team Vera Bradley Foundation – 844.
3. HTC-Columbia – 814.
4. Colavita/Baci presented by Cooking Light – 644.
5. Webcor Builders – 616.

In its seventh year, the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series is the only national bicycle racing series solely showcasing the country’s top female cycling talent in four events across the country. For more information about the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series, visit the official website, www.WomenCyclists.com.

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