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TRIA Orthopaedic Center Your Cycling Blog

Equal Opportunity for All

May 14, 2012

The Nature Valley Grand Prix has always been a strong supporter of women’s cycling, but we thought it might be nice to share an outsider’s perspective of our race and its impact on women’s cycling.

Since she has been involved with the Nature Valley Grand Prix almost from the beginning, we asked Giana Roberge–former director of Saturn Professional Cycling team, World Champion time trialist, inductee in the International Cycling Hall of Fame, and passionate voice for women’s cycling–to share her thoughts.
When I first heard about Nature Valley Grand Prix, I was the director for the Saturn Cycling Team. A very nice voice at the end of the phone line, introducing himself as Dave LaPorte, pleaded with me to send some of the Saturn women who were not participating in the HP Women’s Challenge to a new race in MN. He offered what a lot of promoters were not at the time: housing, help with travel, prize money, and equal promotion of the women’s teams to that of the men’s. I was intrigued.  I had three women I could send and in June they traveled in MN to participate in what was to become one of the top women’s races in the country.

That was 2001. Saturn won both the men’s race with Frank McCormack and the women’s race with Suzanne Sonye. The Saturn women returned with good reports of the race.  It was mostly criterium style racing but the crowds were enthusiastic and the community was very supportive of the idea of a big race in the community. Saturn received some very useful press from attending the event; all in all it was a homerun: my sponsors and athletes were happy with the event. In my mind it was an early success.

Two weeks later Dave called me for feedback.  I was taken aback.  A promoter taking the time to ask me what he could do better?  He wanted my commitment to send a full squad the following year.  At the time I asked him to move the race so it wouldn’t sit over the HP race.  I asked him to support the teams with free entries, travel, gas, meals, and housing.  With smaller team budgets, a race offering assistance to the teams rather than prize money would help to get riders to MN.  I wanted a competitive field for my team to race in.  What I wanted from Dave was the same treatment we received when we traveled to Europe for a UCI World Cup or Tour.  Make it as financially feasible as possible for as many teams as possible to travel to MN and the competition would be then be world class.  It would take time, and over time, it has.

Later that same fall, the cycling community received the sad news that HP would not renew their contract for the HP Women’s Challenge.  Again my phone rang with Dave asking me how he could make his race the new June destination for women bike racers. I wanted to work with this promoter, as I also wanted to grow women’s cycling. His eagerness to grow the women’s side of the race was new to me.  I sent him a wish list of what my sponsors would like from a race, what my riders would want and what I wanted as a Director.  Some of these ideas included a women’s summit, an outreach program to women in the community, travel assistance, an easy housing support system, lots of media support, challenging courses, and a venue which allowed our sponsors to interact with the crowds in the Midwest.  It was a lot to ask.

It took a few months but Dave was relentless in his pursuit of growing the race.  His sponsors rose to the challenge and the following year Nature Valley Grand Prix became the destination for women bike racers in the month of June.  Over the years Dave and his amazing staff have worked tirelessly to ensure women bike racers have extraordinary courses to test themselves, sponsors have tangible returns to utilize, and team management has a tremendous support system to make the race accessible to every team and every rider – not just the ones with the big budgets.

Over the years, some of the greatest women athletes in world have tested themselves at Nature Valley Grand Prix. Some of the “greats” include Kristin Armstrong, Ina Teutenberg, Petra Rossner, Georgina Bronzini, Lyne Bessette, Christin Thornburn, Katie Mactier and Amber Neben.

But the bigger story is that of the women who are not household cycling names but those who are the foot soldiers of women’s cycling.  It is the story of these women that needs to be told when talking about the Nature Valley Grand Prix.  These are-the women who work 40 hours a week in “normal jobs” who carve out time from their families and their jobs to train and race, and who hold women like Kristin Armstrong in awe.  These women have stood at the line with Olympians, World Champions, World Cup and Tour winners, they have tested themselves on the same courses, side by side with the women who have worked to create our cycling history. Nature Valley Grand Prix is also about these women, who have had the opportunity to race with the best of the best for several days; an opportunity not to be had here in the US without Dave LaPorte and Nature Valley.  To hear the crowds in the Twin Cities screaming for the winners, to see your team’s jersey on a baseball card, to be able to be on the radio, TV or the newspaper is available to ALL women who participate at the Nature Valley Grand Prix – not just the “Queens” of the sport.  It is truly an equal opportunity for all.

Nature Valley Grand Prix has supported all facets of women’s cycling: athletes, sponsors, and management.  I will look to the 2012 edition of Nature Valley Grand Prix to indicate who some of the next great women in cycling will be, as well as a point in history when women and men racers are treated equally.  At the 2012 Nature Valley Grand Prix every woman will have an opportunity to experience what is like to be treated as the Champion bike racer she is.

Giana Roberge
http://TeamSpeedQueen.com

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World Champion Bronzini Wins Stage; Armstrong Stays in Yellow

June 16, 2011

strong>By Cynthia Lou, Nature Valley Grand Prix
St. Paul, Minn. – World road champion Giorgia Bronzini (Colavita Forno D’Asolo presented by Cooking Light) won Wednesday night’s rainy and crash-filled St. Paul Downtown Criterium in an exciting sprint finish, while Olympic time trial champion Kristin Armstrong (Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY12) retained the Nature Valley Grand Prix overall lead.

Shelley Olds (Diadora-Pasta Zara-Manhattan) and Chloe Hoskings (HTC-Highroad) rounded out the Stage 2 podium in second and third, respectively.

As the women warmed up, the weather quickly turned from sunny and warm to windy and rainy, leaving them to make last minute adjustments to tire pressures. Tension built as knowing glances were passed between teammates while the national anthem played and the officials made their final announcements.

Fortunately the rain subsided about 15 minutes into the race, and the second half of the hour-long race unfolded under clear skies. The road started to dry, but not before several crashes happened, including one that took down about 30 riders.

There was fierce competition for the time bonuses, the first which happened with 23 laps to go. Hosking, Lauren Tamayo (Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY12), and Amanda Miller (HTC-Highroad) soaked up the first round of bonuses earning five seconds, three seconds and one second, respectively.

With 20 laps to go, a break formed that included riders Miller, Tamayo, Olds, and Leah Kirchmann and Joelle Numainville (Colavita Forno D’Asolo). Their lead ticked up to a 14-second gap and lasted 10 of the 28 total laps.

As the break started to absorb time bonuses and stretch its lead, it became clear to the Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY12 squad that it had to start reeling it back in.

“There was a break that got off that we weren’t excited about,” explained Armstrong. “With the conditions, it was single-file all night long. It was really difficult for our team to get together and chase down another team. That was frustrating. There was a point when I came up to help my teammates to finish and close the gap. After that, we just made sure there wasn’t another attack that went off and stayed off. The energy we expended to close that break was not something we wanted to do twice. People are out to race against us. We have three of the top five, and it makes for hard racing.”

With the peloton together for the final laps, teams began setting up their sprinters.

“There was a pretty solid lead out from TIBCO, so I made my way up to their train and just tried to hold position in the last lap,” Olds said. “In the last turn, Theresa Clif-Ryan (Colavita Forno D’Asolo) jumped, and I jumped to cover it. But Bronzini was on my wheel and she came around me. It’s difficult when you have two really fast sprinters from the same team.”

“I was in front of the first position, behind my teammate,” Bronzini said. “I was in third position at the corner, and gave my best sprint today.” Bronzini said she felt confident she could win as long as she came out of the final corner no farther than three riders back.

Georgia Bronzini (Colavita Forno D'Asolo presented by Cooking Light) celebrates her victory in the St. Paul Downtown Criterium, Stage 2 of the Nature Valley Grand Prix. (Matthew Moses)

“Tonight was one of the hardest crits I’ve done in years,” Armstrong said. “People were on fire. I know that there’s been past years that have been tough, but I think the depth of this field is the best I’ve seen at Nature Valley.”

Olds, who has raced a full schedule this season in Europe, agreed: “The field this year is incredibly strong. I think, much stronger, with a lot of numbers for each team.”

The Nature Valley Grand Prix has seen a lot of growth in recent years, from stronger fields to increasing opportunities for growth and visibility of new and upcoming riders.

Jade Wilcoxson is one such rider, having been selected through the Nature Valley Grand Prix Pro Ride – a series of qualifying races across the country.

“Just having a team director and a team mechanic and having all those details taken care of has been incredible,” Wilcoxson said. “Then racing with this caliber of women – this was a hard crate.” The Talent, Ore., resident will wear the Nature Valley Top Amateur jersey for Thursday’s road race at Cannon Falls.

Other jersey wearers include Olds in the Freewheel Bike Most Aggressive Rider jersey, Leah Kirchmann (Colavita Forno D’Asolo) in the Wheaties FUEL Sprinter jersey, and her teammate, Rushlee Buchanon, in the Tria Orthopaedic Best Young Rider jersey. Though Armstrong leads the Sports Beans Queen of the Hills jersey competition, Evelyn Stevens (HTP-Highroad) will wear the jersey for Cannon Falls.

Looking forward to Thursday’s first road stage in rural east central Minnesota, Armstrong noted, “We’ll have to see what the weather does, because sometimes it’s really windy. Again, we ride as a team, we ride as a unit. The technicality of tonight was hard to get the team together, but tomorrow the roads are wide, but the finishing circuits are tough. They always are. They’re technical and tough. We’ll have to stay safe and use the same tactics as tonight and work as a team.”

The women’s race in Cannon Falls starts at 5:30 p.m. Watch the race in person or streaming online at http://www.naturevalleybicyclefestival.com.

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Neben, HTC-Highroad Lead Women’s Prestige Cycling Series

April 18, 2011

strong>Minneapolis – Amber Neben and her HTC-Highroad team sit atop the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series standings after the first event, the Redlands Bicycle Classic.

Neben’s overall victory at the four-day USA Cycling National Racing Calendar event in California puts her ahead of Erinne Willock (Team TIBCO/To The Top) and fellow HTC-Highroad teammate Evelyn Stevens in the individual standings of the only national bicycle racing series exclusively showcasing the country’s top female cycling talent.

“It is always a positive thing to be wearing a leader’s jersey, and I am excited to have it,” Neben said. “It is even better that the team is in the first position, since they were instrumental in helping me get into it.”

On the strength of Neben’s overall victory and Stevens’ strong performance at Redlands, HTC-Highroad leads the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series team standings ahead of Team TIBCO/To The Top and Colavita Forno D’Asolo. Last year’s team winner, Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY12, is fifth.

In the Best Sprinter competition, Rouse Bicycles riders Christina Smith and Robin Farina hold down the top two spots, respectively. Theresa Cliff-Ryan (Colavita Forno D’Asolo) is third. Like the Individual and Best Young Rider leaders, Smith will wear a special Women’s Prestige Cycling Series jersey (produced by Champion System) at the next WPCS event.

Leading the Best Young Rider competition is former Canadian junior national road champion Denise Ramsden (Juvederm-Specialized-Mazda). Her team is a merger of the long-running Specialized-Mazda-Samson Groupe Conseil women’s team from Montreal and last year’s Team Nanoblur-Gears formation out of Toronto. The squad is Canada’s only UCI women’s road team.

Denise Ramsden (Team Juvederm-Specialized-Mazda) dons the Women's Prestige Cycling Series Best Young Rider jersey after the Redlands Bicycle Classic. (photo courtesy of Kristin Frith)

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The Redlands Classic was the first stop on the 2011 edition of the Women's Prestige Cycling Series. The other three races are the SRAM Tour of the Gila (April 27-May 1), Nature Valley Grand Prix in Minnesota (June 15-19) and the Bend Memorial Clinic Cascade Cycling Classic (July 19-24) in Oregon.

For more information about the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series, visit the official website, www.WomenCyclists.com.

INDIVIDUAL CLASSIFICATION
1. Amber Neben, HTC-Highroad, 220.
2. Erinne Willock, Team TIBCO/To The Top, 165.
3. Evelyn Stevens, HTC-Highroad, 132.
4. Carmen Small, Team TIBCO/To The Top, 121.
5. Andrea Dvorak, Colavita Forno D’Asolo, 110.

SPRINT CLASSIFICATION
1. Christina Smith, Rouse Bicycles, 220
2. Robin Farina, Rouse Bicycles, 165.
3. Theresa Cliff-Ryan, Colavita Forno D’Asolo, 132.
4. Chloe Hosking, HTC-Highroad, 121.
5. Catherine Cheatley, Colavita Forno D’Asolo, 110.

BEST YOUNG RIDER CLASSIFICATION
1. Denise Ramsden, Team Juvederm-Specialized-Mazda, 220.
2. Amanda Miller, HTC-Highroad, 165.
3. Mara Abbott, SC Velo-Empower Coaching, 132.
4. Lindsay Myers, Danbury Audi, 121.
5. Lex Albrecht, Team Juvederm-Specialized-Mazda, 110.

BEST TEAM CLASSIFICATION
1. HTC-Highroad, 504.
2. Team TIBCO/To The Top, 324.
3. Colavita Forno D’Asolo, 296.
4. Team Juvederm-Specialized-Mazda, 227.
5. Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY12, 128.

About the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series

The only only national-level competition produced by women for women features four races in its eighth year. Its origin can be traced back to a discussion at the 2003 Women’s Cycling Summit Conference, held at the Nature Valley Grand Prix. Since then, more than 30 teams have participated in some of the United States’ top races from coast to coast. The four events on the 2011 schedule are: Redlands Bicycle Classic in California (March 31-April 3), SRAM Tour of the Gila (April 27-May 1), Nature Valley Grand Prix in Minnesota (June 15-19) and the Bend Memorial Clinic Cascade Cycling Classic (July 19-24) in Oregon.

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Tradition-Rich Women’s Prestige Cycling Series Returns For Eighth Year

March 1, 2011

Minneapolis — The Women’s Prestige Cycling Series opens team registration for its eighth season as strong as ever, with all four stage races returning from 2010.

The Series is the only national-level cycling competition solely produced for women, by women. Its origin can be traced back to a discussion at the 2003 Women’s Cycling Summit Conference, held at the Nature Valley Grand Prix. Since then, more than 30 teams have participated in some of the United States’ top races from coast to coast.

“We set out to create a focused series that women’s teams could build their seasons around,” said Women’s Prestige Cycling Series co-founder Giana Roberge, who will be directing Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY12 this year. “The National Racing Calendar just had too many events and had became a competition about who had the biggest travel budget. We wanted a series all women’s teams could equally take ownership of while leveling the playing field.”

The Series begins with the Redlands Bicycle Classic in California (March 30-April 3), travels to New Mexico for the SRAM Tour of the Gila (April 27-May 1), continues with the Nature Valley Grand Prix in Minnesota (June 15-19) and wraps up with the Bend Memorial Clinic Cascade Cycling Classic (July 19-24) in Oregon.

Team TIBCO To The Top Manager/Directeur Sportif Lisa Hunt said the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series adds a great deal of prominence and attention to women’s cycling.

“Having a women’s-only series does a great deal to enhance the sport, and get it out a bit from the shadow of the men’s side of the sport,” Hunt said. “I think you can see that effect in the improvement in quality of the racing here in the U.S. Just look at the recent success of U.S. women on the road in some of the biggest races internationally and you can see how the WPCS has contributed to that growth in talent, and in the talent pool.”

All four races are part of USA Cycling’s National Racing Calendar (NRC). The Nature Valley Grand Prix has been a part of every Women’s Prestige Cycling Series while the Redlands Classic is in the line-up for the seventh time in eight years. The Bend Memorial Clinic Cascade Cycling Classic has been part of the past three Series, while the SRAM Tour of the Gila returns for the second straight year.

The Women’s Prestige Cycling Series is open only to teams, but individual riders can either form a team or join one that will be participating. For more information and rules, visit www.WomenCyclists.com. Deadline for teams to submit their original rosters and be eligible to compete in the Series’ first event is March 29.

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.

Defending champions of the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series are Mara Abbott (top individual and best young rider) and Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY12 (best team). The late Carla Swart won the best sprinter competition last year.

Additional information for the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series can be obtained by sending an e-mail to wpcs2011@gmail.com.

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Anna McLoon: There’s No Place Like Home

May 19, 2010

It’s funny, isn’t it, how much you realize you love a place when you move away?  I grew up in Roseville, Minnesota, and even though I have spent the better part of the last 10 years in Cambridge, Massachusetts, first for college and then for graduate school, I love Minnesota more now than I ever did during high school.  I think that’s the reason why the Nature Valley Grand Prix is one of my favorite races in the year; it gives me a chance to combine two things I love: racing my bicycle, and going home. This will be my third year racing the Nature Valley Grand Prix (this year I’ll be racing for Team Kenda), and I can’t wait to introduce my home to my new teammates.

The day before the race starts, we’ll go for a ride to loosen up our legs from traveling, and perhaps it will be a good chance to show off the tree sculptures in the state fairgrounds and to wind our way past the conservatory and lake in Como Park.  Or perhaps later in the week we’ll ride through Roseville’s Central Park and Lake Josephine as we get our blood flowing before the Minneapolis criterium.  Or maybe on the way back from the final race in Stillwater, we’ll stop at the Dairy Queen in North St. Paul, and will give our greetings to the giant snowman.  In short, I can’t wait to introduce some of my favorite places to my teammates who may have never visited the “land of 10,000 lakes.”

At the same time, I love the opportunity to convince my family and friends in Minnesota that bike racing is super fun.  The past two years, I swear half the people at some of the stages were cheering for me: high school friends, teachers, old teammates, friend’s parents.  My mom had never seen me race my bike until the St. Paul criterium last year, and although it makes her nervous (I can see how watching your daughter lean into a 90 degree turn at 25 miles an hour with more than 100 other cyclists might make a mother nervous), she thought it was fun to watch!  I didn’t start racing bicycles until I started graduate school almost four years ago, so it’s been a great opportunity to introduce my “new” sport to friends who’ve never watched a bike race before.

Of course, there are plenty of other reasons to love the race. The courses are fun and challenging, giving me a chance to test my training and to see what I can do on the bike.  It’s a great opportunity to check in with my coach, Fiona Lockhart, who lives in Minneapolis.  Like most cyclists, I mostly communicate with her via phone and e-mail, so it’s nice for her to actually watch the races and for us to talk without the barrier of the computer or telephone.  But probably most of all, I love to go home to the best state in the country.  I can’t wait to race again in front of my family and friends.  If you come to the races and hear the person next to you shouting “Go Anna” at the passing rider dressed in green, join in.  I’m excited because I think this year’s race will be, not just a Minnesotan “pretty good” but, as I’ve learned to say out here in Massachusetts, I think this year’s race will be “wicked awesome.”

About the author

Anna McLoon is a PhD candidate at Harvard University, in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences PhD program.  She grew up in Roseville, MN, graduating from the Roseville Area High School in 2000.  In her spare time, she races bicycles, and will spend 2010 racing for Team Kenda.

About Team Kenda Women’s Cycling

Team Kenda began in 1999 as Team Ameritech with nine riders who excelled at bicycle racing.  Over the years, the team has steadily grown in size and now boasts NRC Elite and Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, and West Regional Teams. The team competes in the United States focusing on the National Race Calendar.  (http://www.teamkenda.com)

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Jeremy Fliss: Joe Martin Wrap-Up

May 18, 2010

Jeremy Fliss is a St. Paul-based soigneur for the WEBCOR Professional Cycling team. He has provided us with yet another blog about another stage race. This time, it was Joe Martin in Arkansas.

We left Silver City almost immediately following the race finale and made our way to Fayetteville, AR by way of Albuquerque to send our director home and to see Canadian rider Joelle Numainville off to Pan Am Championships. Aside from being stopped by Oklahoma highway patrol for a burnt out headlight, the 750 miles went by without a hitch.

However, the following day I went out for a spin with the riders who intended on riding for ~1.5 hours, and I wanted to add another 30 minutes or so. Which turned into another 3.5 hours only after a kind landscaper returned me to our host house. I definitely need to get the internal compass checked. So after a good work out, all of the riders got quick massages, or “rubs,” to flush out their legs after a day and a half in the car and a short bike ride. Wednesday, was another relatively laid back day with another easy ride. I did NOT stray from the others and returned home safely. Dave, the mechanic, and I spent the evening preparing bikes and supplies for Joe Martin’s Thursday individual time trial at Devil’s Den State Park.

Arriving two hours before our first rider sets forth, essentially a drag race up hill for 9-10 minutes, we set up stationary trainers, chairs and supplies in a campground. As the riders warm up, Dave makes sure the bikes are running smoothly, as I make sure the riders get what they need as they ride the trainers. When all was said and done, Webcor’s Katheryn Mattis stood on top of the results by a fraction of a second over Vera Bradley Foundation’s Alison Powers.

Day two was a point-to-point race finishing with an uphill sprint in downtown Fayetteville. Conditions were reminiscent of day two at [Tour of the] Gila, and the riders faced a fierce headwind for the last 30 or so miles while ascending. The wind held the field together as they came through the feed zone, all the way to the finish, where a bunch sprint was won by the Colavita/Baci team. The overall standings shuffled Katheryn Mattis and Alison Powers into reverse order by a handful of seconds.

On the third day, the weather looked as though it could open up and rain at any time, but once again held off. The day’s course was a lollipop, or out on one road to a smaller circuit, do two laps and then head back on the same road taken out of town. Again, the field was not motivated and the pace stayed civil, allowing another bunch sprint. There was no major shake up of the standings, everyone stayed upright and a major showdown was scheduled for the crit finale the following day.

After all of the riders visited the massage table, we headed out with our awesome host mom and some other riders to celebrate my birthday at the Flying Burrito, a Fayetteville institution. If you are ever in that area and feeling invincible, order the MOAB (mother of all burritos).

Sunday morning started with more promises of rain, wind and cold temperatures. Two out of three is not bad, and everyone stayed dry. After some modifications to the course over previous years to accommodate a simultaneous event, the riders struck out on 60 minutes around the 12 corner course. Even for professional and elite cyclists, it’s a lot of corners. Early crashes splintered the field and the selection was made from which the day’s winner would emerge. With 2 laps to go, the Vera Bradley team was on the attack.  When the riders emerged, charging for the finish line, Vera Bradley rider Alex Rhodes was pulling away from Katheryn Mattis, who was trying to put a gap between herself and Alison Powers. In the end, Rhodes won handily and Mattis didn’t gain enough time to overtake Powers for first place overall. I’d have to say that I haven’t seen a much greater display of determination and guts in a long time. Well done to everyone involved. You did your best and that is all we can ask.

OK…time to pack and drive. For me, that is home for a few weeks before the big race in Philly. The mechanic is headed out east, most riders flying home. Katheryn Mattis is off to the Tour de l’Aude, and Joelle will return from Pan Ams after winning a silver medal in the road race, just behind Shelly Evans Olds of Peanut Butter and Co. 2012.

After roughly 3000 miles of driving, I need to sleep now.

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Abbott Takes Individual Lead In Women’s Prestige Cycling Series

May 11, 2010

Minneapolis – Mara Abbott of Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 is the new leader of the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series after the second of four events on the 2010 schedule.

Abbott tops the individual standings over Alison Powers (Team Vera Bradley Foundation) on the strength of her overall win at the recent SRAM Tour of the Gila. Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, who won the Redlands Bicycle Classic to initially take the Series lead, is third.

“The SRAM Tour of the Gila was an epic race,” Abbott said. “Mother Nature threw all sorts of conditions at us, but my team protected me throughout the race and we came out on top. The team work was A+ and its the only way to win a race like that.”

Snowflakes fell at the SRAM Tour of the Gila as Mara Abbott was recognized as the new leader of the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series (photo courtesy www.gilawilderness.com).

Abbott also leads the Best Young Rider (Under 26) classification and her Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 team is tops in the team category. Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 Manager Nicola Cranmer said she is happy to see her team at the top of the standings for the Women’s Prestige Series.

“We have  a very well rounded team that can battle in all terrain,” Cranmer said. “The riders are very much looking forward to the Nature Valley Grand Prix. SRAM Tour of the Gila was one of the most challenging races I have witnessed. (Director) Kristin Armstrong had not seen winds like that in her 10 years of racing. Kudos to all the teams that endured the adversity. It’s a great race to include in the series.”

INDIVIDUAL CLASSIFICATION
1. Mara Abbott, Peanut Butter & Co.TWENTY12 – 319.
2. Alison Powers, Team Vera Bradley Foundation – 253.
3. Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, HTC-Columbia – 220.
4. Katharine Carroll, Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 – 175.
5. Robin Farina, Team Vera Bradley Foundation – 165.

BEST YOUNG RIDER (UNDER 26) CLASSIFICATION
1. Mara Abbott, Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 – 440.
2. Rebecca Much, TIBCO/To the Top Pro Cycling Team – 231.
3. Chloe Forsman, Specialized D4W/Bicycle Haus, 220.
4. Melanie Meyers, Specialized D4W/Bicycle Haus, 209.
5. Alison Starnes, TIBCO/To the Top Pro Cycling Team – 198.

In the Sprint competition, Carmen Small (Colavita/Baci presented by Cooking Light), won that classification at the SRAM Tour of the Gila to overtake Teutenberg, who did not compete in the race. Coryn Rivera (Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12) is third.

SPRINT CLASSIFICATION
1. Carmen Small, Colavita/Baci p/b Cooking Light – 252.
2. Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, HTC-Columbia – 220.
3. Coryn Rivera, Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 – 165.
4. Shelley Evans, Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 – 165.
5. Andrea Dvorak, Colavita/Baci p/b Cooking Light – 132.

In the team standings, Peanut Butter & Co. Twenty 12 has widened its lead considerably over Team Vera Bradley Foundation, which won the team classification at Redlands. Colavita/Baci presented by Cooking Light is third.

TEAM CLASSIFICATION
1. Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 – 873.
2. Team Vera Bradley Foundation – 654.
3. Colavita/Baci p/b Cooking Light – 475.
4. HTC-Columbia – 369.
5. Webcor Builders – 326.

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.  The third event is the Nature Valley Grand Prix (June 16-20), followed by the Cascade Cycling Classic (July 20-25).

For more information about the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series, visit the official website, www.WomenCyclists.com

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Amanda Miller’s Ryan Collegiate All-Star Experience

April 29, 2010

Amanda Miller raced for the 2008 Ryan Collegiate All-Star team in the Nature Valley Grand Prix. Since then, she has procured a professional contract on a top-flight cycling team and has even raced across the pond, strengthening her legs and learning the ways of true professional cycling. She reflects back on what the Ryan Collegiate and Nature Valley Grand Prix experiences meant to her and her career:

In 2008, I was given the opportunity to race with the Ryan Collegiate All-Star team at the Nature Valley Grand Prix. The 2008 season was my first year racing collegiate. I heard about this composite team coming into nationals and made it one of my season goals to make it on the squad. My collegiate racing experience in 2008 taught me the basics of racing with a team. At Colorado State University, we had great mentors and teammates to support us.

Nature Valley Grand Prix was my first “pro” level stage race of my career. Was I nervous? Of course! Our team director, John Barron, was amazing though. The team was run as a professional squad on a very low stress basis. All we had to do as riders was race our bicycles. The team even had their own mechanic and soigneur. Prior to the start of each stage we had a team meeting. This is where John gave us the team plan for the day. It was really exciting to have a game plan and specific jobs for the day.

The Ryan Collegiate All Star team was a great stepping stone for me to take in my cycling career. Prior to the experience, I was just a local collegiate racer. In 2009, I was presented with a contract by the LipSmacker Professional women’s cycling team. I also spent a month in France racing for the U.S. National Development team. Now I am racing for the only women’s UCI team in the United States, Team TIBCO/To the Top. I don’t think I would have been able to progress as quickly as I did without the help of the Ryan Collegiate All-Star team. Not only did it provide me with experience, but it also gave me a level of confidence and motivation. After the experience, I felt that I actually did belong in the women’s professional peloton and that it was something I wanted to pursue as a career.

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Sinead Miller: Ryan Alumae and USA Cyclist

April 6, 2010

Our first guest blogger is Sinead Miller, a 2009 Ryan Collegiate All-Star and Marian University collegiate cyclist. Enjoy!

Hello everyone! I am currently racing in Europe with the USA National Development Program and this racing season is already proving to be a great one. Many things have changed for me this year, from joining a new team to taking my fitness to a whole new level. Now I am proudly a member of Peanut Butter and Co./Team Twenty12. I have been training very hard throughout the past months, so that I can do my best to contribute to the team and accomplish my cycling goals. I am also still a full time student at Marian University and I race for the Marian cycling team during the spring as well.

Last year I was a freshman at Marian University and I was able to win the Collegiate Criterium National Championships. This earned me a spot on Ryan’s Collegiate All-Star team for the Nature Valley Grand Prix race. Last year I was not on a team outside of collegiate racing, so this opportunity presented to me was a great one. I am so thankful that I was given the chance to race Nature Valley with the Ryan’s All-Star team last year. This was this first NRC stage race that I ever competed in, so it was a great learning experience for me.

Everyone on the Ryan’s Collegiate team was treated like a professional and it showed me what it takes to compete with the highest-level women racers in the U.S. I gained so much knowledge about racing during Nature Valley. Each day I was able to improve and the team manager, John Barron, also played a vital role in helping me and my other teammates throughout the race. He knew all of the courses in-and-out and John was always able to provide us with helpful tips before and after each day of racing. Now I am a much more experienced rider compared to last year and I can not wait to race Nature Valley again in the future.

Next time I race Nature Valley I will know the courses much better since I was able to race with the Ryan’s Team and I will be much more comfortable there. Any collegiate rider who is presented with the chance to race with the All-Star team should take it. The experience played a very important role in my racing career. It was the first time I ever had the chance to race a stage race as a true team member. Also, my teammates and I had a great time together, from racing to just having fun at our host house, the whole trip was awesome.

Now I am preparing for my next race, which is a World Cup in Holland next weekend. It is crazy to reflect back and analyze what big improvements I have made since racing Nature Valley last year. Being able to race Nature Valley with the All-Star team really helped me to wake up and realize what type of training I needed to do to compete with the best women racers in the world. After racing Nature Valley I was so motivated to improve and now I am able to compete with the highest-level women racers in the world. I am also now a part of a fabulous team and I couldn’t have asked for anything more. I could never have dreamed of all of these things happening to me so quickly.

Ryan’s Collegiate All-Star Team is such a great program. Anyone who is presented with the chance to race for the team should really consider it. The amount of information and racing experience one can gain is priceless. Also, Nature Valley is such a fun race and very exciting. I can’t wait to race there again soon.

For more information about the Ryan Collegiate All-Star team, check out http://www.ryancollegiateallstars.com/.

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Team Application Process Opens For Invitation To Nature Valley Grand Prix

April 5, 2010

Minneapolis (April 4, 2010) – Applications are open for the Nature Valley Grand Prix, the top-ranked stage race on the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar.

Teams wishing to compete in the race June 16-20 in East Central Minnesota and Western Wisconsin must submit an application by May 7. More details and application information are available on sportsbaseonline.com.

Nature Valley Grand Prix Executive Director David LaPorte said the invitation-for-registration process was necessary to meet the overwhelming demand to be a part of the National Racing Calendar event.

“The men’s field was filling up more than a month before the official registration deadline,” LaPorte said. “Teams were missing out simply because they weren’t checking the registration page on an almost daily basis weeks before the event. The women’s race also fills, a problem that’s great to have, so we made their race an invitational as well. Besides the pros, we encourage amateur teams to apply, since Nature Valley has a special commitment to them. That’s why Nature Valley also sponsors a unique Nature Valley Top Amateur jersey.”

“The Nature Valley Grand Prix is an amazing race,” said Fly V Australia Technical Director Ed Beamon, who has had riders at the race since its inception in 1999. “They get huge crowds, lots of media and take excellent care of the teams. With all the time bonuses and action from the top sprinters, it’s always an exciting race down to the wire.”

Team managers should follow the sportsbaseonline home page link from “NRC Calendar Events” to the “Nature Valley Grand Prix Application.” Men’s teams consist of three to eight riders. Women’s teams are one to eight riders. No payment is required at time of application. Invited teams will receive notification by e-mail by May 14.

The Nature Valley Grand Prix professional stage race opens June 16 in Saint Paul with a morning time trial and evening criterium held in Downtown Saint Paul adjacent to Rice Park. It continues with a road race in Cannon Falls on June 17. Stage 4 takes place in Minneapolis on Friday night, June 18, in the city’s dynamic Uptown neighborhood.

On Saturday, June 19, the racers travel east to Menomonie, Wis., for the Menomonie Road Race, marking the first time that the Nature Valley Grand Prix includes a stage outside of Minnesota. Racers will contest Stage 6, the Stillwater Criterium, on Sunday, June 20. Both men and women cyclists will complete a short circuit race which includes riding up Chilikoot Hill 20 times – a grueling 24-percent-grade climb – considered to be the most difficult in North American cycling.

About the Nature Valley Grand Prix

The Nature Valley Grand Prix, which is part of the Nature Valley Bicycle Festival, takes place in Eastern Minnesota and Western Wisconsin. It 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 Bicycle Festival is 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 at: 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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