Criterium is the Series Grand Finale for the First Time
(Minneapolis, July 30, 2008) The Presbyterian Hospital Invitational, taking place this Saturday, is the last stop on the 2008 Women’s Prestige Cycling Series. This is the first time that a one-day criterium has been included in a Series that has traditionally been composed entirely of stage races and this change is likely to upset the balance of power.
In the team competition, Cheerwine holds a razor thin 38 point lead over Aarons (676 vs. 638). Aaron’s will field Series leader Katharine Carroll while criterium ace Laura Van Gilder will be the rider to watch for Cheerwine. However, the Series scores the top four riders from each team, plus a bonus for young riders, so team depth is likely to be the deciding factor.
The greatest threat to Carroll’s Series lead isn’t second place Leigh Hobson (Cheerwine), who’ll be absent as she heads for the Olympics, but Hobson’s teammate Anne Samplonius, currently in third. However, Samplonius may be needed to ride in support of Van Gilder for the criterium win, so Team Cheerwine may face a tough choice.
The leader in the Best Young Rider classification, Cheerwine rider Catherine Cheatley, is also gone for the Olympics, making her lead tenuous at best. The greatest threat is TIBCO’s Lauren Franges, who could take the lead by finishing at least 10th among riders under age 26, a feat that seems all but certain. Hot on her heels is Colavita – Sutter Home rider Tiffany Cromwell, who trails Franges by 33 points (165 vs. 132).
The Series sprint classification may also come down to a duel between Carroll and Samplonius. Unlike the stage races that are the usual fare at the Series, the Presbyterian Hospital Invitational doesn’t have a separate sprint competition, so this classification will be scored only at the finish, as will the overall Series lead. Thus, two jerseys will be on the line in one roll of the dice as the riders make that final dash for the line.
The Women’s Prestige Cycling Series began at the Redlands Bicycle Classic in April followed by the Nature Valley Grand Prix in June. The Presbyterian Hospital Invitational is the grand finale of the 2008 Series.
About the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series
The Women’s Prestige Cycling Series began in 2004 with the goal of highlighting women’s racing by giving them a spotlight that they don’t have to share with the men. The Series grew out of meetings that began in Minnesota in 2003 at the first Women’s Cycling Summit Conference hosted at the Nature Valley Grand Prix. The Summit, now sponsored by Rasmussen College, takes place at the Nature Valley Grand Prix every June.