Women competing at this year’s USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships have an added incentive: the chance to earn the opportunity to race against professionals at the premier stage race in the country.
For the fourth consecutive year, the Nature Valley Grand Prix will include a composite team of six collegiate racers who will wear their school jerseys but compete as the “Ryan Collegiate All-Stars.”
Eligibility for the special squad is based on the final individual omnium standings of female riders who are not members of a professional or elite amateur team that is already registered to compete in the Nature Valley Grand Prix.
Ryan Collegiate All-Stars Manager John Barron said the selection process often means a rider doesn’t necessarily have to finish on the podium at nationals to become a member of the Ryan Collegiate All-Stars team.
“Sometimes we have had to go several places down because racers near the top of the standings are already part of pro teams,” he said. “So it’s the perfect textbook example of how previously undiscovered racers have a chance to show what they can do. And it’s been our experience that they absolutely succeed in doing that.”
Past Ryan Collegiate All-Stars team members are a Who’s Who of young up-and-coming talent in the professional ranks, including: Kristin McGrath (Fort Lewis College) and Sinead Miller (Marian University), now both racing for the Peanut Butter and Co TWENTY12 team, Amanda Miller (Colorado State), now competing for Team TIBCO, and Erica Allar (Penn State) and Carla Swart (Lees McRae College), both now racing for Team Vera Bradley Foundation.
The 2010 edition of the Nature Valley Grand Prix will be run in East Central Minnesota and Western Wisconsin from June 16-20. Selections to the Ryan Collegiate All-Stars will be made after the collegiate national championships in Madison, Wis., May 7-9.
Each team member receives complimentary entry into the Nature Valley Grand Prix, free host housing, a support staff comprised of a team manager, mechanic, soigneur and massage therapist, team clothing and a travel stipend.
Ryan Companies, a national commercial real estate firm with national headquarters in Minneapolis, sponsors the team.
More information about the Ryan Collegiate All-Stars team can be found at www.ryancollegiateallstars.com.