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. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.