After a 23-year hiatus, Aspen, Colorado, will once again host international professional men’s cycling this summer, when the USA Pro Cycling Challenge comes to town. But two-time national champion and Aspen resident Jessica Phillips wasn’t content to simply watch the men. She wanted women to have a chance to race as well.
“I started to think about how supportive Aspen is as a cycling town for both men and women, and the next thing I knew, this idea of hosting a top-quality women’s race leading into the USA Pro Cycling Challenge was becoming a reality,” Phillips said.
Phillips, who splits her time teaching skiing in Aspen and living part-time in Tuscany, grew up in Aspen before becoming the 2002 U.S. road champion and the 2009 U.S. time trial champion.
Through her involvement with Team Ajax Incorporated, an Aspen non-profit that supports women’s cycling and athletic pursuits, Phillips has been able to mobilize a group of passionate cyclists to create the Aspen/Snowmass Women’s Pro Stage Race slated for August 22-24.
Connie Carpenter said a womens event will complement the men’s race.
“The Women’s Pro Stage Race is an essential component to the USA Pro Cycling Challenge,” Carpenter said. “Women’s cycling is equally as exciting and challenging as men’s cycling, and this race should help attract more spectators to Aspen to watch professional cycling. I raced in Aspen many times during the Coors Classic era many years ago, and it’s refreshing that Aspen has taken the lead in supporting women’s cycling. I can’t wait!”
The Aspen/Snowmass Women’s Pro Stage Race will include a time trial from the base of Aspen Highlands to the scenic and iconic Maroon Bells; a circuit race through the rolling hills of Snowmass Village; and a criterium through the streets of downtown Aspen.
Between 50 and 70 top riders from around the world are expected to participate, competing for a prize purse of $10,000. Proceeds from the race will be used to support young women’s athletic programs in the Aspen/Snowmass area.
Fundraising efforts are currently underway for the race. To inquire about sponsorship opportunities, or donations, please contact Justin Todd, president of Team Ajax, at 970-920-6332, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.