Tour of California starts with Women’s Racing

Posted on 23. Feb, 2010 by in news, releases

Project Sport, LLC – producers of the San Francisco and San Rafael Twilight Criterium cycling races – announced today an agreement with the Sacramento Sports Commission and the Amgen Tour of California to present a professional criterium-style cycling race in conjunction with Stage 1 of the 2010 Tour, to be contested on the morning of May 16, 2010, just prior to the Tour’s opening stage arrival in Sacramento.

Columbia-HTCs Emilia Fahlin won the wet Tour of California Women's Criterium in 2009

Columbia-HTCs Emilia Fahlin won the wet Tour of California Women's Criterium in 2009

The Sacramento Grand Prix at the 2010 Amgen Tour of California will begin at 10 a.m. and travel a 1.4 mile course circling the Capitol Building, duplicating portions of the Tour’s circuit just hours before Stage 1 is slated to finish in downtown Sacramento. It will include men’s and women’s races of category Pro/1/2 cyclists, and will feature cyclists from the 2012 US Women’s Olympic team.

While the Tour showcases the world’s best cyclists in a European-style road racing format, the Grand Prix will exhibit cycling’s best short course and up-and-coming cyclists, and will rejoin women’s cycling to the prominence offered by an event that serves as the United States’ premier staging of the sport. The women’s criterium marks the return of women’s professional racing to the Tour and will feature some of the best female cyclists in the world.

“The Sacramento Sports Commission is very excited to have reached an agreement with Project Sport to stage this professional criterium for men and women racers as a prelude to the 2010 Amgen Tour of California,” said Commission Executive Director John McCasey. “We envision the great crowds we enjoyed last year lining the course. When you factor in a Sunday afternoon finish in May, this should be a great win for the sport of cycling, for the cyclists and for Sacramento.”

“The Sacramento Grand Prix is emerging as one of the top women’s cycling events in America and carries international athletic importance,” followed Ryan Dawkins, president of Project Sport and race director of Sacramento Grand Prix. “With huge crowds expected in Sacramento the event promises to be exciting for both racers and cycling fans.”

The Grand Prix will offer fans a particularly close look at the elite of women’s cycling. The field of female competitors will feature members of Team Twenty12, assembled for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, and led by Kristin Armstrong, a 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist and the current World Time Trial Champion.

“I am very pleased that Project Sport is including a women’s event in conjunction with the Tour’s men’s race,” said Nicola Cranmer, General Manager of the Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY12 team. “Its my hope that this partnership could develop into a great stage race for the women too. It’s critical to our sponsors that women’s racing gets the attention it deserves and is able to take advantage of the great media impressions that the Amgen Tour of California affords. Women’s racing is dynamic and exciting. I can assure you the cyclists will put on a great show for the spectators and the City of Sacramento.”

The Sacramento Grand Prix becomes the third major professional cycling event produced by Project Sport, in addition to a roster of running events including the San Francisco US Half Marathon series. The company has been in discussion with the Sacramento Sports Commission for several years conceptualizing this race.

“We didn’t come to this decision overnight,” said McCasey. “We have been talking for three years about this idea. Our LOC put Project Sport through a pretty thorough evaluation and Ryan Dawkins and his staff did a great job of presenting this concept and showing how nicely they could fit the three hour presentation into an already busy day of setup. We are excited to partner with Project Sport not only for this year but in going forward with the Sacramento Grand Prix in future years. They showed great patience and persistence.”

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