Some of the top professional cyclists from around the globe will be on the start line later this week for the Winston-Salem Cycling Classic in North Carolina.
The two days of competition includes UCI/National Racing Calendar (NRC) road races on Friday, and National Criterium Calendar (NCC)/USA CRITS series races on Saturday. Provisional start lists include every stage winner of the recent Redlands Bicycle Classic, plus a roster of foreign and domestic pros with extensive European and international racing experience.
Friday’s 50.4-mile road race for women begins at 9:30 a.m., followed by the men’s 120-mile road race at 12:30 p.m. USA Cycling criterium races on a new, 1.5-mile course near Winston-Salem’s Innovation Quarter begin at 8:30 a.m. and conclude before the finish of the pro men’s road race. Saturday’s pro criterium for women starts at 4:45 p.m. and at 6 p.m. for pro men, both on a 0.9-mile loop through downtown. A 50-mile and 80-mile gran fondo in the morning and a special USA Cycling criterium in the afternoon precede both pro races.
“We heard a lot of feedback from participants last year who said these races were some of the toughest in America,” said Winston-Salem Cycling Classic race director Ray Boden. “They loved the intense competition of our races and the downtown courses. Our goal this time is to make everything bigger and better.”
Featured riders in the men’s professional field include (in alphabetical order):
Zach Bell (CAN), SmartStop Pro Cycling
A 2008 and 2012 Olympian, Bell is the reigning Canadian national road champion, a stage winner last year at the Tour de Korea and the Tour de Taiwan, and won the King of the Mountains classification at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah. Teammate Jure Kocjan of Slovenia won two stages at the Vuelta Independencia Nacional in February and is a past stage winner at the Vuelta a Cuba.
Alex Candelario (USA), Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies
A stage winner at the 2012 Tour de Korea, Candelario has announced this is his final season of a professional career that began in 1999. Joining him on the Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies roster is 2010 Canadian national road champion Will Routley, as well as Jesse Anthony and Mike Friedman, overall winners of the Nature Valley Grand Prix in 2011 and 2013, respectively. Optum was champion of the NRC standings last year and the top-ranked U.S. continental team in the UCI America Tour standings.
Jake Keough (USA), 5-hour Energy-Kenda
Winner of stages last year at both the Volta a Portugal and the Tour of Qinghai Lake, Keough has also won stages at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah and the Vuelta del Uruguay. Teammate Chad Beyer is a past Giro d’Italia finisher (2011) and winner of the King of the Mountains classification on the way to a runner-up finish at the 2012 SRAM Tour of the Gila.
Jeff Louder (USA), UnitedHealthcare
Champion of the 2009 Redlands Bicycle Classic and the 2008 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, Louder is also a stage winner at the Tour of Qinghai Lake and has extensive experience in both Europe and Asia. UnitedHealthcare’s roster also includes Australian sprinters Hilton Clarke, last year’s NCC and USA CRITS series champion, and Karl Menzies, who finished in the top five last year in the Speed Week series and NCC standings.
Joey Rosskopf (USA), Hincapie Sportswear Development Team
A stage winner and the overall champion at the 2014 Redlands Bicycle Classic, Rosskopf won stages of races in Canada, France and the United States last year on the way to a runner-up finish in the NCC standings. He will be joined on the Hincapie Sportswear Development Team roster by 2012 Under 23 national criterium champion Ty Magner.
The international men’s field for the Winston-Salem Cycling Classic also includes the Italian Amore & Vita-Selle SMP team, featuring American Logan Loader, and the Garneau-Quebecor Professional Cycling Team and Silber Pro Cycling Team, both of Canada.
Featured riders in the women’s professional field include (in alphabetical order):
Mara Abbott (USA), UnitedHealthcare
The most-decorated active American cyclist, Abbott is a two-time national road champion (2007 and 2010), a two-time champion and four-time stage winner at the prestigious Giro d’Italia Femminile (Italy) and a consistent winner on the domestic and international circuits. Abbott won the Vuelta a El Salvador earlier this year, in addition to winning El Salvador’s Grand Prix de Oriente and a stage of the Redlands Bicycle Classic.
Erica Allar (USA), Colavita-Fine Cooking-Stradalli
Winner of the 2012 and 2013 NCC and the USA CRITS series titles, Allar won the Delray Beach Twilight Criterium last month and was runner-up at both the Novant Health Invitational Criterium and the Sunny King Criterium this month.
Joanne Kiesanowski (NZL), TIBCO
A three-time Olympian (2004, 2008, 2012) and two-time Commonwealth Games representative (2006, 2010), Kiesanowski has won eight national titles in four events: road race, points race, scratch race and the omnium. Teammate Amanda Miller was runner-up last year at the national criterium championships. In its 10th year, Team TIBCO is the longest running women’s team in North America.
Amber Neben (USA), FCS-Zngine + Mr. Restore
The 2008 world time trial champion and a member of the winning team time trial squad in 2012, Neben is also a past national road (2003) and time trial (2012) champion. Winner of the 2006 and 2012 time trials at the Pan Am Games, Neben is a two-time Olympian (2008 and 2012).
Shelley Olds (USA), Alé Cipollini-Galassia
Runner-up at the GP de Dottignies last week and a past national champion on both the road and track, Olds used her sprinting prowess to win national criterium titles in 2010 and 2011 and win back-to-back scratch race titles in 2008 and 2009. Winner of the 2010 Tour of New Zealand and the 2012 Tour of Chongming Island, she finished seventh in the 2012 Olympic road race race and won a stage of the Giro d’Italia Femminile the same year.
Alison Powers (USA), UnitedHealthcare
Winner of the Winston-Salem Cycling Classic road race and criterium last year, Powers is the reigning national criterium champion and a past national time trial (2008) champion. Overall winner of the Tour Femenino de San Luis in January, Powers won her second NRC title last year and a two-time winner of the Joe Martin Stage Race. Joining her and Abbott on the squad is Lauren Tamayo, silver medalist in the 2012 Olympic team pursuit.
Laura Van Gilder (USA), Mellow Mushroom-Pink Siren Sports
The leader of the USA CRITS series has been racing professionally since 1992 and was the 2000 national criterium champion. A two-time winner of the Tour of America’s Dairyland (2012 and 2013), she won the NRC title in 2002. Heading into last weekend’s USA CRITS seres races, teammate Laura Jorgensen was second in the standings and the Mellow Mushroom presented by Pink Siren Sports squad led the team standings.
Jade Wilcoxson (USA), Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies
The current national road champion, Wilcoxson also won a gold medal in the individual and the team pursuit at track nationals last year and was runner-up at the 2013 national cyclocross championships. Teammate Leah Kirchmann, the Canadian national criterium champion, won a pair of stages at the Redlands Bicycle Classic on her way to third overall.
Italian squad S.C. Michela Fanini Rox, the Colombian national women’s team, and two squads from Mexico — Estado De Mexico Faren and the Mexican national team — bring additional international competition to the Winston-Salem Cycling Classic.
More information on all events can be found on the official website, www.winstonsalemcycling.com.