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Evans Finishes The Nature Valley Grand Prix with Yellow Jersey; Stevens Wins Stillwater Criterium

June 21, 2010

by Cynthia Lou

Today was an exciting day in women’s bike racing filled with aggressive attacks throughout the 13 laps of a 1.5 mile criterium race that included the infamous Chilkoot Hill and its 18% average-grade climb. Shelley Evans and her team Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY12 stamped their determination on the race by driving the tempo from the beginning, eventually landing her in the winning breakaway group ahead of Linda Villumsen (HTC-Columbia), who wore the yellow jersey coming into the stage.

“We had a plan to keep the yellow jersey with Linda [Villumsen],” said René Wenzel, team director for HTC-Columbia. Villumsen started the stage with an 11 second advantage over Evans. “But we also knew it wasn’t her favorite course, the hill was a little too steep so we kept Evelyn as the plan B. The HTC Columbia girls are super happy about having been here. We won three stages – I don’t think we could ask for much more than that.”

“This race is a race of attrition, we knew we needed to make it fast and hard from the beginning” said Evans. “The front of the race is the front of the race, everything behind is just going back. We knew we had to make it hard, not to let people get into a rhythm and put the pressure on from the beginning, push the pressure on over the climb so nobody could get comfortable, so that’s what we did.”

The was a series of attacks from the beginning, with riders from HTC-Columbia, Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY12, Colavita/Baci, Team TIBCO, and Webcor Builders at the front.

“We did as much as we could,” said Team TIBCO team director Emma Rickards. Team TIBCO sent many riders up the road on attacks including Meredith Miller, Brooke Miller, and Ruth Corset. “The girls had a great week of racing, with Ali [Starnes] winning the time trial and being in yellow for a couple of days. Criteriums are not her forte, so to see her maintain that jersey was really awesome to see. The girls had some great racing yesterday and today. It was awesome women’s racing to see the yellow jersey change around so much.”

By five laps to go, a five person break with a 12 second lead formed with Evans, Stevens, Villumsen, Erinne Willock (Webcor Builders) and Ruth Corset (Team TIBCO). On the way up Chilkoot Hill with three laps to go, Stevens launched the decisive attack that would set her up for the stage win. By the top of Chilkoot Hill Stevens had a slight three-second lead, and with two laps to go she had a 20 second lead over Catherine Cheatley (Colavita/Baci) and Ruth Corset (Team TIBCO), while Evans and her teammate Mara Abbott were 24 seconds back.

With one lap to go Stevens had 24 seconds on the chase, enough to put her in the virtual yellow. But the toll of being out solo took it’s toll. Evans, supported by her teammates, were able to close the gap down to just 12 seconds by the time they crossed the finish line. Villumsen finished the stage at just over one minute back.

“I’m marking this as number five,” said Kristin Armstrong, team director of Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY12, referring to her own previous four victories on the bike, and today’s victory as director.

Last year, Evans was second to Armstrong, who won the Stillwater Criterium and the overall general classification.

In true form, the Nature Valley Grand Prix seems to be the place where professional riders are groomed and leave their stamp on the professional circuit.

This year, Evans stands atop the podium in GC, while Stevens stands atop the podium as the stage winner.

Shelley Evans (center), representing Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY12, took advantage of her sprint and climbing abilities to capture the yellow jersey in the 2010 Nature Valley Grand Prix. Evelyn Stevens (left), won second riding for HTC Columbia, followed by Ruth Corset, Team TIBCO. Photo by Matt Moses.

“I did this race last year, I think this was my first or second pro-/NRC race,” said Stevens. “It’s nice to see the improvement from a year ago.”

“I raced here in 2008 with the Ryan’s Colegiate All Stars Team,” said Chloe Forsman (Specialized D4W/Bicycle Haus), winner of the Nature Valley Top Amateur Rider Jersey.

“This is the first time I’ve finished more than half of this race, so, I’m pretty stoked about that!” Forsman laughed. “I knew it was going to be a matter of how long I could suffer with the group up the hill and then trying to stay together on the false flat and not lose any wheels on the flatter sections.”

Brooke Miller won her first big NRC race at Nature Valley in 2006, “when I was just a pup!” she laughs. “I love [Stillwater]! And you’re talking to someone who, the first two times I raced it, when the officials pulled me off I thanked them. It’s really hard but it’s just so fantastic!”

The final podium included Linda Villumsen in the Fruit By The Foot Best Young Rider Jersey, Team TIBCO atop the best team general classification, Evans in the Wheaties Sprint Jersey, Mara Abbott (Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY12) in the Jelly Beans Sport Beans Queen of the Hills Jersey, and Evelyn Stevens in the Freewheel Bike Most Aggressive Rider Jersey.


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

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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,


Fiber One Is New Sponsor Of Collegiate All-Star Team At Nature Valley Grand Prix

May 7, 2010

Minneapolis (May 7, 2010) – Fiber One, a General Mills brand, is the new title sponsor of the Collegiate All-Star Team for the Nature Valley Grand Prix that is being selected at this week’s USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships.

The six collegiate racers who earn spots on the composite team will wear their school jerseys but compete as the “Fiber One Collegiate All-Stars,” wearing team shorts at the Nature Valley Grand Prix in June.

The USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships are taking place today through Sunday in Madison, Wis. Eligibility for the special squad is based on the final individual overall (omnium) standings for female riders who are not members of a team that is already registered to compete in the Nature Valley Grand Prix. Each team member receives complimentary entry into the Nature Valley Grand Prix, free host housing, a support staff comprised of a team manager, mechanic, soigneur and massage therapist, team clothing and a travel stipend.

“The Fiber One Collegiate All Stars is one of the coolest programs that we have,” Nature Valley Grand Prix Director David LaPorte said. “Collegiate cycling is growing by leaps and bounds. This is a chance to showcase that part of the sport. It also help us connect the sport with people since the program resonates with the alumni of the schools that the riders represent and even with the alumni of those schools’ arch rivals.”

“I’m really excited to have Fiber One on board as a title sponsor”, said Fiber One Collegiate All-Stars Manager John Barron. “Cycling is a lifetime sport and Fiber One’s healthy lifestyles message is an excellent fit.”

Past Fiber One Collegiate All-Stars team members are a Who’s Who of young up-and-coming talent in the professional ranks, including: Kristin McGrath (Fort Lewis College) and Sinead Miller (Marian University), now both racing for the Peanut Butter and Co–Twenty12 team, Amanda Miller (Colorado State), now competing for Team TIBCO, and Erica Allar (Penn State) and Carla Swart (Lees McRae College), both now racing for Team Vera Bradley Foundation.

The 2010 edition of the Nature Valley Grand Prix will be run in East Central Minnesota and Western Wisconsin from June 16-20.


Second Women’s Prestige Cycling Series Race Begins Wednesday

April 27, 2010

Minneapolis – The Women’s Prestige Cycling Series resumes this week when the 24th annual SRAM Tour of the Gila begins Wednesday in Silver City, N.M.

Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (HTC-Columbia) leads the individual and sprint competition but is not among the 75 women registered for the five-day National Racing Calendar event.

However, second-placed individual Katharine Carroll and her Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 teammate, Mara Abbott – who leads the best young rider competition – are part of the field. Abbott won the Tour of the Gila in 2007 and Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 currently leads the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series team competition.

”The SRAM Tour of the Gila is a great addition to the Series,” Women’s Prestige Cycling Series co-founder David LaPorte said. “Kristin Armstrong’s team, Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12, is fielding a very impressive squad, but they’ll face tough competition. The event will also get a lot of attention because Lance Armstrong (no relation), known to women’s racing fans as ‘the other Armstrong’, is participating again this year.”

Four events in four different states comprise the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series. It began at the Redlands Bicycle Classic in March. Still to come are the Nature Valley Grand Prix, June 16-20 (Minnesota) and the Bend Memorial Clinic Cascade Cycling Classic, July 20-25 (Oregon).

The Series awards the top overall individual, best young rider, best sprinter and top team. Clothing manufacturer Champion System provides special jerseys to identify the leaders in the individual classifications.

For more information about the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series, visit the official website,, or send an e-mail to:

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.