2009 was quite a special year for Alison Powers. While riding for Team Type 1, she not only won the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series, but also ended the season as the NRC individual winner. The 2009 Women’s Prestige Cycling Series began at the Redlands Bicycle Classic, followed by the Joe Martin Stage race and then the Nature Valley Grand Prix before concluding at the Cascade Cycling Classic.
“Last year was pretty exciting,” stated Powers while discussing last year’s Women’s Prestige Cycling Series. “I pretty much knew, after Nature Valley, that I had it wrapped up. It was not only satisfying for me but also for my DS Jack Seehafer (Team Type 1) and also for my teammates. They absolutely helped me. It was very cool but now the bar has been set and the expectations are there.”
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. Powers was over 200 points ahead of the second place finisher. Powers had an insurmountable lead going into Cascade.
She then completed the season as USA Cycling National Racing Calendar women’s champion for 2009. Powers scored 1,291 points and took over the women’s NRC title from five-time champion Tina Pic (Colavita-Sutter Home). Olympic gold medalist and 2009 World TT Champion, Kristin Armstrong (Cervélo-Lifeforce) finished second with 905 points while Joanne Kiesanowski (Team TIBCO) placed third with 670.
Despite having a successful season, Team Type 1 women’s team’s future was in doubt. “It was the end of August that I got word that Team Type 1 women’s team was going more developmental,” stated Powers about the status of the women’s Team Type 1 team. “I was disappointed and frustrated because I loved that team and loved riding for Jack. I also loved riding for a purpose, like riding for diabetes and inspiring people. That is what is really cool about riding for the Vera Bradley Foundation today. If I was going to lose an awesome team than it was cool that I would be riding for another great DS, a pretty good team, and a great title sponsor. I can now step away from Team Type 1 and 2009. 2010 looks like it can be even better.”
Team VBF DS, Lisa Hunt stated, “I heard initially that Team Type 1 was going forward bigger and better but then got a voicemail from Jack and then an email from Ali. I thought…’I must get her.’ I was also talking to Alexis Rhodes. I wanted both riders on the team.”
“I wanted to ride with Team VBF because I wanted to ride for Lisa,” added Powers. “I love her personality. She runs a great team and her riders love her. What sealed the deal for me…when riders of the team asked me to join them…that was really meaningful.”
“Last year I did not have many goals, though I far exceeded the ones I did have,” commented Powers about the upcoming 2010 season. “If I stay healthy and ride well, I can have the same results as 2009, and maybe even better since I am on a stronger team. It is really satisfying and motivating to know that. I am looking to win the individual NRC title again.”
“For me personally, I always target every time trial. Stage races often begin with a time trial. If you have a strong time trial you can have a good GC result. I am targeting every time trial this year. I want to win every one.”
“I was on the podium of every stage race last year and I only won one, Joe Martin. I like to win two or three stage races this year. If for whatever reason I cannot compete, I know that I have teammates who can carry on and win.”
When asked about the impact of the radio ban this year, Powers stated, “I think it will be really interesting. I am still not sure what to expect because it seems so many times in women’s cycling, riders jump from Cat 4 to Cat 2, and then the next year they are racing in NRC races but never really learn how to race or how tactics play. All of a sudden they are on a team and expected to race team tactics. Team tactics are completely different from individual tactics. I am a little nervous how it will play out. However, my teammates have a lot of experience. We have been sitting around talking and many of my teammates have raced in Europe or raced on other teams. I am riding with some very smart women.”
Powers first stop in this year’s Women’s Prestige Cycling Series is on March 25-28 at the Redlands Bicycle Classic.