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MINNEAPOLIS (VN) — One of the unique features of the Nature Valley Grand Prix is that it not only accepts developmental and composite teams, but also actively puts them together.
This focus on training riders for the pro peloton runs deep, and it can be seen in the number of developmental teams accepted to race. Regional squads like California Giant-Specialized, D3Devo-Airgas, Team Novo Nordisk Development, and Get Crackin’ all make the race a central point in their calendars.
“We treat the amateurs with respect. It is one of the reasons we have a top amateur jersey,” said the race’s executive director, David LaPorte. “We have a separate classification listing for the amateurs, and whoever is at the top of that classification gets a green jersey, a separate pay list, and they get call-ups.”
The race runs two development programs, the Nature Valley Pro Chase and the Kowalski’s Markets Collegiate All-Stars. The Pro Chase partners with six regional races across the country where eligible men and women can qualify for a spot on the team. Both programs provide a pre-race camp, a travel stipend, housing, free entry, and support staff — including a director, soigneur, and mechanic.
For riders like Pro Chase team member Emily Georgeson, it’s a chance to step outside her comfort zone for a taste of life as a professional cyclist.
“The opportunity to race at this level, with this kind of organization, feeling like you are part of a pro team, having a director, having host housing, and the experience of learning from the best women on the road is really a great opportunity for anybody,” said Georgeson, who finished 12th at the St. Paul Downtown Criterium.
All the riders in the Pro Chase and All-Stars programs attend a pre-race camp where they learn the skills needed to survive in the pro peloton. Pro Chase director Jenn Reither put her riders through the paces with a series of boot-camp-style drills.
“What I did was bottle feed-ups, drafting off the cars, I motor-paced them, and especially for Nature Valley Grand Prix, I had drills where we clipped in without looking,” said Reither, who races for Vanderkitten during the season. “They had to clip in and sprint right away, because it’s so much about the start here.”
The Nature Valley Grand Prix has become an important target for regional developmental team riders like 20-year-old Zac Noonan (D3Devo-Airgas).
“The jump from harder domestic races to the [WorldTour] races is a massive gap,” said Noonan, who won the best young rider award at the Parx Philly Classic. “To be able to come to these races with good support consistently is the only way to bridge the gap.”
Riders like Noonan have good support locally, said D3Devo-Airgas director Chris Johnson.
“But they have to get results against Continental Pro teams if they want to go to a division 1 or division 2 team, which is the goal of our riders,” Johnson added.
The Nature Valley Grand Prix also attracts established programs like California Giant, which has a long history of pairing developing riders with former professionals.
California Giant rider Jared Barrilleaux previously rode professionally for Jittery Joes, and his Cal-Giant squad has been active throughout the NVGP, taking fourth place and the most aggressive rider’s jersey at the St. Paul Downtown Criterium.
Barrilleux acts as a mentor for his younger teammates, whose average age is 21, passing on the knowledge he gained the hard way. Those lessons include “how to save and conserve energy, and how to be aggressive at the right times,” he said. “It really comes down to utilizing what works best for you, and racing to your strengths.”
One successful graduate of the Nature Valley Grand Prix college of pro cycling is Jade Wilcoxson (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies). Wilcoxson, who raced for the Nature Valley Pro Chase in 2011, credits the program with helping her go to the next level — which included winning the U.S. pro road championship and leading this year’s NVGP.
“It’s an amazing opportunity for the riders,” said Wilcoxson after winning the Minneapolis Downtown Criterium. “This was definitely a springboard for me. I made so many connections here, and I learned so much.
“I don’t think I’d be here today if I didn’t have that opportunity.”
- Connor Fields won his second consecutive UCI BMX World Cup superfinal time trial on Saturday in Papendal, Netherlands, while Alise Post finished second in the elite womenand#39;s race.
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- 1. Peter SAGAN, Cannondale, in 4:33:26
- 2. Daniele BENNATI, Saxo-Tinkoff, at :00
- 3. Philippe GILBERT, BMC Racing, at :00
- 4. Michael ALBASINI, Orica-GreenEdge, at :00
- 5. Christophe RIBLON, Ag2r La Mondiale, at :00
- 6. Martin ELMIGER, IAM Cycling, at :00
- 7. Peter VELITS, Omega Pharma-Quick Step, at :00
- 8. Julien SIMON, Sojasun, at :00
- 9. Maxime MONFORT, RadioShack-Leopard, at :00
- 10. Simon GESCHKE, Argos-Shimano, at :00
Peter Sagan (Cannondale) barreled to victory in stage 8 of the 2013 Tour de Suisse on Saturday.
The 180.5km stage from Zernez to Bad Ragaz saw a long break from Maxime Bouet (Ag2r La Mondiale), Robert Vrecer (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Manuele Mori (Lampre-Merida) and Reto Hollenstein (IAM Cycling). They took a bit more than five minutes before the peloton grew interested, and with 50km to race the gap was down to 1:40.
The gap held steady as the break hit 35km to go, then plummeted to under a minute a half-dozen kilometers later. As the bunch closed in, Hollenstein decided to go it alone with 26km remaining.
It proved too long a row to hoe. Cannondale and Orica-GreenEdge soon were on the front of the bunch, sweeping up Hollenstein’s former comrades. And with 17km to race he was swept up, too, Blanco and Movistar having contributed some riders to the pursuit.
Shortly after the catch eighth-overall Cameron Meyer (Orica) had an untimely mechanical and found himself chasing through the caravan as Katusha took charge up front.
As the bunch barreled onto the final climb Andreas Klöden (RadioShack-Leopard) attacked without much effect. Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) likewise had a go, as did world champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing), whom Sagan promptly quashed.
With 2km remaining Cannondale began setting up to sling Sagan to the line. Gilbert sneaked back into the mix as the line approached, but Sagan would not be denied. He took the win ahead of Daniele Bennati (Saxo-Tinkoff) with Gilbert third.
Mathias Frank (BMC) remains the overall leader going into Sunday’s individual time trial, a 26.8km leg from Bad Ragaz to Flumserberg.
Editor’s note: Stay tuned for more from the Tour de Suisse.
- 1. Jade Wilcoxson, Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies, in 55:43
- 2. Shelley Olds, Team Tibco, same time
- 3. Carmen Small, Specialized-Lululemon, s.t.
- 4. Joelle Numainville, Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies, s.t.
- 5. Joanne Kiesanowski, Team Tibco, s.t.
- 6. Claudia Hausler, Team Tibco, s.t.
- 7. Lauren Hall, Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies, , s.t.
- 8. Brianna Walle, Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies, s.t.
- 9. Lenore Pipes, St. Paul Bicycle Racing Club, at 0:05
- 10. Flavia Oliveira, Birchwood Cycling, at 0:05
- 11. Erica Zaveta, Kowalski’s Markets Collegiate All-Stars, at 0:05
- 12. Sophie Williamson, Vanderkitten, at 0:06
- 13. Jen Purcell, Colavita-Fine Cooking, at 0:06
- 14. Sara Clafferty, Birchwood Cycling, at 0:06
- 15. Lindsay Bayer, Colavita-Fine Cooking, at 0:06
- 16. Vanessa Drigo, Rose Bandits, at 0:06
- 17. Olivia Dillon, Specialized-Lululemon, at 0:06
- 18. Janel Holcomb, Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies, at 0:06
- 19. Madeleine Pape, Iscorp-Intelligentsia Coffee, at 0:06
- 20. Kimberley Wells, Colavita-Fine Cooking, at 0:06
- 21. Mary Zider, Colavita-Fine Cooking, at 0:06
- 22. Tayler Wiles, Specialized-Lululemon, at 0:06
- 23. Jamie Bookwalter, Colavita-Fine Cooking, at 0:06
- 24. Kate Chilcott, Vanderkitten, at 0:06
- 25. Denise Ramsden, Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies, at 0:06
- 26. Mia Loquai, Iscorp-Intelligentsia Coffee, at 0:06
- 27. Anna Christiansen, Nature Valley Cycling Team, at 0:06
- 28. Kimberley Turner, Birchwood Cycling, at 0:06
- 29. Leah Kirchmann, Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies, at 0:06
- 30. Ally Stacher, Specialized-Lululemon, at 0:06
- 31. Jenny Ives, Team Kenda-RACC, at 0:06
- 32. Kelli Richter, Nature Valley Cycling Team, at 0:06
- 33. Emily Georgeson, Nature Valley Cycling Team, at 0:06
- 34. Gillian Carleton, Specialized-Lululemon, at 0:06
- 35. Sarah Rice, Nature Valley Cycling Team, at 0:13
- 36. Kerrin Strevell, Nature Valley Cycling Team, at 0:13
- 37. Caroline Moakley, Nature Valley Cycling Team, at 0:13
- 38. Joy McCulloch, Specialized-Lululemon, at 0:13
- 39. Rushlee Buchanan, Team Tibco, at 0:13
- 40. Samantha Schneider, Team Tibco, at 0:13
- 41. Anne Perry, Birchwood Cycling, at 0:13
- 42. Amanda Miller, Team Tibco, at 0:13
- 43. Shannon Parrish, Team Kenda-RACC, at 0:13
- 44. Lauren Stephens, Team Tibco, at 0:13
- 45. Leah Guloien, Colavita-Fine Cooking, at 0:13
- 46. Katharine Hall, Kowalski’s Markets Collegiate All-Stars, at 0:13
- 47. Whitney Schultz, Colavita-Fine Cooking, at 0:19
- 48. Lindsay Fox, St. Paul Bicycle Racing Club, at 0:19
- 49. Beth Duryea, Specialized-Lululemon, at 0:19
- 50. Abby Ruess, St. Paul Bicycle Racing Club, at 0:19
- 51. Amy McGuire, FCS-Zngine-Mr. Restore, at 0:23
- 52. Rose Long, Kowalski’s Markets Collegiate All-Stars, at 0:34
- 53. Leah Kleager, St. Paul Bicycle Racing Club, at 0:34
- 54. Kristabel Doebel-Hickok, Team Tibco, at 5:34:
- 55. Amber Gaffney, Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies, at 5:34:
- 56. Kaelly Farnham, FCS-Zngine-Mr. Restore, at 5:34:
- 57. Corey Coogan Cisek, FCS-Zngine-Mr. Restore, at 5:34:
- 58. Hayley Giddens, Iscorp-Intelligentsia Coffee, at 5:34:
- 59. Nicole Mertz, Iscorp-Intelligentsia Coffee, at 5:34:
- 60. Jenn Perricone, Iscorp-Intelligentsia Coffee, at 5:34:
- 61. Amity Elliot, Team Kenda-RACC, at 5:34:
- 62. Gabrielle Fortin, Team Kenda-RACC, at 5:34:
- 63. Terra James, Team Kenda-RACC, at 5:34:
- 64. Irena Ossola, Team Kenda-RACC, at 5:34:
- 65. Jennifer Rife, Team Kenda-RACC, at 5:34:
- 66. Laura Parsons, Rose Bandits, at 5:34:
- 67. Christina Birch, Kowalski’s Markets Collegiate All-Stars, at 5:34:
- 68. Justine Boddy, Kowalski’s Markets Collegiate All-Stars, at 5:34:
- 69. Abigail Mickey, Kowalski’s Markets Collegiate All-Stars, at 5:34:
- 70. Lisa Mueller, Birchwood Cycling, at 5:34:
- 71. Heather Nielson, Birchwood Cycling, at 5:34:
- 72. Danielle Bradley, St. Paul Bicycle Racing Club, at 5:34:
- 73. Diana Carolina Penuela Martinez, Colombia Specialized, at 5:34:
- 74. Ana Milena Fagua Raquira, Colombia Specialized, at 5:34:
- OTL: Ana Christina Sanabria Sanchez, Colombia Specialized, at 17:28:
Irish cycling clubs voted against nominating compatriot Pat McQuaid as a candidate in the upcoming UCI presidential elections at Cycling Ireland’s Extraordinary General Meeting on Saturday in Dublin.
The meeting was called to allow clubs in Ireland vote on the nomination after an original decision to back McQuaid by Cycling Ireland’s board members was deemed invalid due to a breach of federation rules at the board meeting.
Instead of simply holding the meeting again and casting the same vote, the Irish governing body bowed to pressure from domestic clubs to allow them a vote on the decision.
On Saturday a low percentage of 188 delegates from 60 Irish cycling clubs turned up to the proceedings, with 91 voting against and 74 voting for the nomination. Debate lasted roughly an hour and saw reasoned arguments from both sides of the divide.
Although the margin suggests a close vote, club members of Cycling Ireland’s board and other commissions, who were in favor of nominating McQuaid, had two votes each, meaning the majority of clubs present were against the nomination.
“We always knew … and I’m speaking for the board, who were in favor of the motion, that the anti-McQuaids, if you’d like to call them that, were the favorites in betting terms,” said Cycling Ireland president Rory Wyley afterward.
“I knew over the past week or two the gap was closing. From my point of view it didn’t close enough. I would have obviously preferred if the motion was carried and became a resolution of the company.
“Most delegates were mandated by the clubs prior to the meeting, so there wasn’t a huge amount of debate. I asked at the start that the discussion take place in a civil and courteous manner and it did.”
The McQuaid issue has loomed over Irish cycling for much of the year and although there have been heated exchanges and serious arguments during the course of the season among various clubs, friends and even families on both sides of the divide, the decision was greeted with a philosophical inevitability by both sides of the camp.
“The sun will set this evening and we’ll get up in the morning … I hope anyway,” said Wyley. “Life goes on. As a national federation, who is president of the UCI doesn’t impact us hugely, directly. We’ve more important things to do. Over in St. Anne’s Park today there’s a Sprocket Rocket family day as part of national bike week. Life goes on.”
Former Cycling Ireland vice president Anthony Moran, who has since resigned his position on the board after the original meeting at which he was the only one to vote against McQuaid, was happy with the result but even happier that most friendships with people on the opposite side of the debate seem have come out of the room unscathed.
“I’d say there are a few people who see me as a traitor,” said the Dubliner. “Some of my friends are pro-McQuaid and I know they’re not happy with me, but hopefully in time that’ll change.
“I don’t think it’s going to be a huge issue. On an international level this is extremely important but at a local level we have other issues, like the police trying to stop us running races in North County Dublin at the moment. These are real issues which affect most grass-roots cyclists and they are the things Cycling Ireland has to address now.”
While McQuaid has now lost the support of his home nation, Moran reckons the current head of the sport will receive a nomination from Swiss Cycling, despite a legal challenge to that process.
“There was a certain degree of apathy out there because of what the Swiss have done. Nobody really knows what they have done exactly, but that took the wind out of our sails a bit and there would have been a lot more clubs represented had this been his only nomination,” said Moran.
“We believe the Swiss haven’t nominated him. We also believe that what they should have done is waited until Cycling Ireland had their EGM and then did whatever they wanted to do.
“The Swiss will nominate him, though. They’ll nominate him tomorrow or Monday, there’s no doubt about that in my mind. He will go on and contest the presidential election in September.
“My love of the sport has dwindled because every single hero I’ve had in cycling from when Pat McQuaid got me into cycling, ironically, by running the 1995 Nissan Classic, all of those heroes have been dopers apart from my local club heroes. That’s 30 years it’s been going on. It’s time now to say, ‘Enough is enough, the young guys going into the sport can have a chance.’ But we’ll see what he does if he does get in.”
A well-known and popular figure in Irish cycling, Tadgh Moriarty runs the Listowel Cycling Club and is race director of the Kerry Group Ras Mumhan. His son Eugene is a former Irish international. Having turned 60 during the week, Moriarty has been involved in Irish cycling since he first held a red flag on a race corner when he was 12 years old.
Moriarty left his home at 5.30 a.m. to get to Saturday’s meeting and vote for McQuaid. While he was visibly disappointed to have lost the vote, the Kerryman was also philosophical about the decision.
“Everybody in this room brought cycling in Ireland to where it is today, young or old,” he said. “Some of us are around longer than others.
“There was a time that I knew everybody in Irish cycling. I must say I knew less than half the people here today. I knew very few of the people that voted against McQuaid. I knew all of the people that voted for McQuaid, so there must be a message there somewhere. Maybe the older brigade are after getting a small push here today and it’s time to let the younger ones take over.”