February 5, 2008 (Minneapolis, MN) – Organizers of the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series have announced that the Presbyterian Hospital Invitational in Charlottte, NC, will join the Series in 2008 and will serve as the grand finale. This will mark the first time in its five-year history that the Series has included a one-day race in a schedule that previously has included all stage races. As the grand finale, the Presbyterian Hospital Invitational will be the deciding factor in a Series that also includes the Redlands Bicycle Classic, the Nature Valley Grand Prix and the International Tour de ‘Toona.
As the only criterium ranked at 1.1 on the USA Cycling National Race Calendar, the Presbyterian Hospital Invitational is the most important criteirum on that national calendar. Unlike the three stage races that precede it on the Series schedule, this is a true sprinters’ race, as evidenced by the 2007 podium, which saw criterium ace Tina Pic (Colavita Sutter Homes presented by Cooking Light) take the win, followed by Gina Grain (ExpressCopy) and Laura Van Gilder (Team Cheerwine).
“Adding a big one-day criterium balances out the Series”, said Carmen D’Aluisio, manager of the Aaron’s Cycling Team. “Stage race specialists may well take the lead early in the Series, but the tables will be turned in the finale. This gives crit specialists a shot at the individual, best young rider and team titles and could make for a dramatic finish to the Series.”
“We’re thrilled to be part of the Series”, said Presbyterian Hospital Invitational director Thad Fischer. “Women’s racing is a priority of our event and being the grand finale of the country’s only national women’s -only series has long been a goal for us. We’re going to work hard to create the grand finale that’s worthy of this important series.”
The Series includes four competitions: individual, best young rider, sprinter and teams. The leaders in the first three classifications can be identified by leader’s jerseys provided by Series sponsor Champion Systems. Winners in 2007 were Webcor’s Mara Abbott (individual and best young rider), TIBCO’s Brooke Miller (sprinter) and Webcor Builders (team).
The Women’s Prestige Cycling Series, which began in 2004, promotes women’s racing by giving them a spotlight that they don’t have to share with the men. The Series, an outcome of the annual Women’s Cycling Summits held before the Nature Valley Grand Prix, highlights the events that have made the biggest commitment to women’s racing. The Series will open at the Redlands Bicycle Classic (April 3-6), followed by the Nature Valley Grand Prix (June 11-15) and the Tour de ‘Toona (July 21-27) before wrapping up at the Presbyterian Hospital Invitational (August 2).
Visit www.WomenCyclists.com for more information or contact the Series organizers by sending E mail to 2008WPCS@womencyclists.com.