Last year’s individual title winner, Erinne Willock (Team TIBCO/To the Top) is taking a year off from women’s pro cycling to have a baby. This year’s favorite could be among a long list, including Kristin Armstrong (Exergy-Twenty12) and Janel Holcomb (Optum pro cycling).
“I am looking forward to bringing a strong Optum pro cycling p/b Kelly benefit Systems team to all 3 events in the series,” said Optum pro cycling manager Rachel Heal, “the team has great all around strength, with general classification riders Janel Holcomb and Carmen Small, and two proven sprinters in Joelle Numainville and Leah Kirchmann.”
Optum pro cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies is a favorite to win the team classification along with Specialized/lululemon, TIBCO/To the Top, and Exergy TWENTY12. The Prestige Series Best Sprinter title may also be up for grabs between former teammates: Optum’s Kirchmann and Exergy’s Heather Logan-Sprenger. The Best Young Rider could be between Primal MapMyRide’s Kasey Clark and Optum’s Denise Ramsden.
“The women’s teams asked us to create a focused series that would allow teams to compete on level playing field that didn’t depend on team size or budget”, said David LaPorte, director of the Nature Valley Grand Prix. “The women’s Prestige Cycling Series rolled out the next year to promote women’s racing by providing them with a spotlight that they didn’t have to share with the men.”
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 21, 2012.