BOULDER, Colo. (VN) — The USA Pro Cycling Challenge is getting much of the media attention aimed at Colorado over the next week, but some of the top women in the sport are gathering in Aspen for a show of their own. The three-day Aspen/Snowmass Women’s Pro Stage Race opens Monday August 22.
Semi-retired two-time national champion Jessica Phillips is behind the omnium-style event and has attracted riders like Olympic champion Kristin Armstrong Savola (Peanut Butter & Co.-Twenty12), Swedish national time trial champion Emilia Fahlin (HTC-Highroad) and 13-time world champion (and 59-time French champ) Jeannie Longo. The inaugural three-day race fills a gap in the women’s national calendar following the Cascade Classic.
Stage 2 of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge finishes in Aspen after climbing Cottonwood and Independence Passes from Gunnison. Olympic gold medalist Connie Carpenter told VeloNews earlier this year that the women’s race was key to the men’s event in Aspen.
“The Women’s Pro Stage Race is an essential component to the USA Pro Cycling Challenge,” said Carpenter. “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!”
Instead of contesting combined time, riders will fight for the $9,000 purse by earning points on each stage, with maximum points for the stage 2 circuit race set at 30. The opening time trial offers the stage winner 20 points and the closing criterium 25 points.
The race’s final stage, the Aspen Crit, will see riders face off on one of the nation’s most challenging women’s criterium courses just hours before the downtown finish of the men’s stage finish.
Stage 1 – Maroon Bells Time Trial
August 22 5:00 p.m.
The eight-mile, uphill time trial opens racing Monday evening southwest of Aspen. The route follows the Maroon Creek Road and gradually rises 1,500 vertical feet. The course is not technical, but the climb and thin air will conspire to put big splits into the field before the race’s first night is out.
Stage 2 – Snowmass Circuit Race
August 23 10:00 a.m.
The 3.5-mile circuit climbs the five-percent Brush Creek Road climb every one of 12 laps. The 1.4-mile climb gives way to a stair-step descent to the start/finish with barely a respite for riders.
Stage 3 – Aspen Crit
August 24 1:00 p.m.
Eleven corners in criterium! There will be no formulaic racing in the downtown Aspen finale. With 49 feet of elevation gain every lap and an uphill finish, the Aspen Crit will be the most challenge criterium on the women’s national circuit. Throw in the altitude and the final stage will be a true test, if for just an hour.
Aspen/Snowmass Women’s Pro Stage Race 2011 Preliminary Startlist
Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12
Kristin Armstrong Savola
HTC-Highroad Women’s Team
NOW and Novartis for MS
Bell Lap Coaching
Tibco-To The Top
International Christian Cycling Club