After a Memorial weekend of racing in Iowa’s quad cities, two Midwesterners will round out the Nature Valley Pro Ride composite squads for next week’s Nature Valley Grand Prix. Jane Weakley and Brandon Feehery completed the six-woman and seven-man amateur rosters following a series of qualifiers across the United States.
“This is the next step in helping me reach my top goal of becoming a professional cyclist,” said Feehery, a student at Lindenwood University in Saint Charles, Missouri. “Being able to participate in the Nature Valley Grand Prix will allow me to gain the experience and exposure needed to take it to the next level. I have followed the Nature Valley Grand Prix for the past two years. As I have watched this race, I hoped that one day I could race in a big race such as this one.”
The Nature Valley Pro Ride is a six-round series of qualifiers held throughout the spring. Top elite amateurs not contracted to ride the Grand Prix earned invitations to join the team and receive travel expenses, lodging and the full pro team experience, as well as a pre-race training camp, for the five-day National Racing Calendar stage race.
Women’s qualifier Jade Wilcoxson said she planned to make the most of a rare opportunity. “Getting the golden ticket to the Nature Valley Grand Prix is a dream come true,” she said. “I still can’t believe I have this incredible opportunity to learn from the best and be treated like the best at the same time. Opportunities like this are hard to come by in cycling, especially for women.”
National women’s development director Michael Engleman and former world champion Marion Clignet will direct the women’s and men’s teams, respectively.
“At the end of the day it’s all about sharing the notion that they want to try their talents against the best in the U.S., as well as ride to the best of their abilities,” said Clignet. “The prologue time trial will be a big factor as a lot of time can be won or lost in 10 kilometers, so time trial skills are a plus. During our training camp, we’ll work on some of that, as well as a few icebreakers since we’re all coming into this as strangers to one another.”
2011 Nature Valley Pro Ride Roster
Lt. Commander Katy Giles (McLean, Va.)
Laurel Larsen (Arlington, Va.)
Amy Miner (Vergennes, Vt.)
Louise Smyth (Shreveport, La.)
Jane Weakley (Kettering, Ohio)
Jade Wilcoxson (Talent, Ore.)
Brandon Feehery (Homewood, Ill.)
Scott Gray (Bend, Ore.)
Alec Donahue (Easthampton, Mass.)
Timothy Rugg (Richlands, N.C.)
Scott Simmons (Cleburne, Texas)
Stefan Rothe (Austin, Texas)
Stephen Mull (Richmond, Va.) *Coach’s selection