Minneapolis (Jan. 13, 2010) – Six races sprinkled throughout the United States will comprise the 2010 Nature Valley Pro Ride, the qualifying events for amateurs to earn a trip to compete against the country’s top men and women professional bicycle racers at the Nature Valley Grand Prix.
The Nature Valley Pro Ride will select the top amateur men and women to become part of a pair of composite Nature Valley Cycling Teams for the 12th annual edition of the premier stage race on the 2010 USA Cycling National Racing Calendar. The 2010 edition of the Nature Valley Grand Prix, held in East Central Minnesota and Western Wisconsin, runs June 16-20.
Rider invitations will be issued following the six stops on this national tour: Hillsboro-Roubaix Road Race (April 10) in Illinois, Rock Hill Spring Bicycle Classic (April 10-11) in South Carolina, Cherry Blossom Cycling Classic (April 23-25) in Oregon, Barrio Logan Grand Prix/Mark Reynolds San Luis Rey Road Cycling Classic (May 1-2) in California, Bear Mountain Spring Classic (May 15) in New York and Mt. Hamilton Road Race/Criterium (May 30-31) in California.
Nature Valley Pro Riders who are invited to compete in the Nature Valley Grand Prix earn free entries to the race, generous travel stipends, team clothing, housing, ground transportation, and staff support for their composite teams. They will also receive pro-level recognition before, during and after the events, including pre-race call-ups and participation in promotional and media appearances.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for an amateur to receive a ‘battlefield promotion’ to compete with the top professionals,” Nature Valley Grand Prix Executive Director David LaPorte said. ”Since its inception 11 years ago, the Nature Valley Grand Prix has emerged as the top women’s bike racing event and one of the top men’s races in the U.S.. The Nature Valley Pro Ride gives top U.S. amateurs a chance race in front of huge crowds, to be noticed by pro team managers and potentially to receive a pro contract.”
The Rock Hill Spring Bicycle Races, Cherry Blossom Cycling Classic, Barrio Logan Grand Prix and Mt. Hamilton Road Race/Memorial Day Criterium are all new to the Nature Valley Pro Ride for 2010.
Hillsboro-Roubaix and the Bear Mountain Spring Classic return from the 2009 Nature Valley Pro Ride calendar, as does the San Luis Rey Road Race, which is partnering with the Barrio Logan Grand Prix to add a qualifying criterium this year.
Rock Hill Spring Races Promoter Kim Deacon said becoming part of the Nature Valley Pro Ride marks a high point in his 30 years of organizing the event.
“The prestige of being invited to affiliate with such a prominent event as the Nature Valley Grand Prix enhances not only our racer draw and participation, but also the recognition and importance of our race in the Southeastern U.S. racing calendar and in our local community,” Deacon said. “We have always prided ourselves for putting on a first-class and tough bicycle race. The recognition we are receiving from the Nature Valley Pro Ride is a nice confirmation of our work.”
More details on the qualifying process can be found at: NatureValleyProRide.com
Snapshot glances of each event:
Hillsboro-Roubaix Road Race (April 10), Illinois: This challenging road race (120 miles for men, 38 miles for women) rumbles through the brick streets and rural roads about an hour’s drive northeast of St. Louis.
Rock Hill Spring Bicycle Races (April 10-11), South Carolina: The omnium format of the longest continuously-run bicycle race in South Carolina (30 years) combines the Old Town Criterium with the challenging hills of the Patriots Trail Road Race (94 miles for men, 47 miles for women). The start and finish occurs in historic Brattonsville, a “Living History” village near Charlotte, N.C.
Cherry Blossom Cycling Classic (May 15), Oregon: A multi-stage race (four races in three days) set in the Portland area, the Nature Valley Pro Ride invitation will be based on the final overall standings.
Bear Mountain Spring Classic (May 15), New York: Set in Harriman State Park, the second largest state park in New York, this 98-mile road race for men and 56-mile race for women is promoted by the Century Road Club Association, one of the oldest bicycle racing clubs in the nation.
Barrio Logan Grand Prix/Mark Reynolds San Luis Rey Road Cycling Classic (May 1-2), California: The two days of racing in the San Diego area include a 75-minute criterium for the men and a 50-minute criterium for the women, followed by an 88-mile road race for men and a 59-mile road race for women.
Mt. Hamilton Road Race/Memorial Day Criterium (May 30-31), California: One of the longest running bike races in San Jose, Calif., the road race (63.5 miles for men, 63.5 miles for women) climbs 4,500 feet in 20 miles over Mt. Hamilton, the highest peak in the Bay area, on a course that is part of the 2010 Tour of California. The criterium is run over a one-mile course in the Morgan Hill Business Park. This will be the amateurs’ last chance to qualify for the 2010 Nature Valley Pro Ride.