Challenges in store for sprinters, climbers and time trial specialists
Organizers announced the for the inaugural five-day Exergy Tour ladies' stage race, taking place May 24-28, 2012 in Southwestern Idaho. The race will visit six host cities over the US Memorial Day holiday weekend.
Host cities were selected to minimize transfers for the benefit of the athletes, and spectators and volunteers, who will always be within easy driving distance each day.
"We want the route to be a postcard for the state of Idaho and the Treasure Valley," said Heather Hill, Marketing, Communications and Events director. "Idaho isn't just mountains, it isn't just downtown Boise, or lake and river front Canyon County, or small farm communities, it is a mix of all of these and the people that call them home. We have been welcomed by all of these people and plan to show their communities to the world."
Medalist Sports is overseeing the competition and technical production of the Exergy Tour. Medalist is also the event management arm for the Amgen Tour of California, USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado and the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah.
"We tried to create a course that was competitive, but that didn't favor any one type of rider," said Jeff Corbett, Technical Director, Medalist Sports. "We wanted a race that had something for sprinters, something for time trial specialists, and something for climbers. I think we have found that mix, and created a course that showcases all skill sets."
A total of 17 of the top ladies pro cycling teams from nine countries around the world are scheduled to compete in the inaugural race. Countries represented by these teams include Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Taiwan, Ukraine and the United States.
"The Exergy Tour will be an opportunity for spectators in local Idaho communities to see many of the same athletes who will be competing just two months later at the London Olympic Games," said Hill. "Idaho and our host cities will be on the world's cycling stage for five days."
The Exergy Tour is one of the last races to provide international ranking points crucial to qualifying for the upcoming Olympic Games in London. It is sanctioned by USA Cycling and is the only women's race in North America in 2012 with a 2.1 designation by the International Cycling Union (UCI).
2012 Exergy Tour
Thursday, May 24: Prologue - Julia Davis Park, Boise
The Boise prologue should suit the pure time trialist and give a real indication of who's hungry to go after the overall win. The three-kilometer course showcases some of Boise's most iconic images; starting in Julia Davis Park, and featuring the Boise Train Depot and the visual of the State Capitol at either end of the out and back course.
Friday, May 25: Stage 1 - Nampa
Some of the most beautiful landscape in Idaho will be highlighted on this demanding course where the riders will race by scenic Lake Lowell, rolling hills and vineyards, along the Snake River, tackle some epic "Queen of the Mountain" climbs and spread the energy and excitement around downtown Nampa.
The highlight of stage 1 is the Queen of the Mountain (QOM) climb on Pump Road. It is a short steep brute of a climb, but what makes it even harder is that there is no descent off the top. It climbs to a plateau and stays on that plateau for several miles. This means that it is harder for stragglers to catch back on and easier for breakaways to form.
Saturday, May 26: Stage 2 -Kuna (ITT)
Stage 2 is a time trial for the purists. No climbs, nothing technical, just raw speed. The out and back course will make it possible for riders to gauge their progress against their rivals. This can give a mental boost or be devastating.
Sunday, May 27: Stage 3 - Crouch/Garden Valley - Idaho City
Stage 3 is the Exergy Tour's Queen Stage. The mountains will finally come into play in a big way. After a rolling, mostly downhill opening 20 miles the field will tackle the nine-mile climb up Beaver Creek summit followed immediately by the three-mile climb up to Mores Creek Summit. These back-to-back climbs should separate the real players in this year's Exergy Tour and will make sure the winner is a worthy one.
Monday, May 28: Stage 4 - Hyde Park
Stage 4 is a deceptive sting at the end of a long weekend of racing. It seems simple enough, but there truly is nowhere to hide on this day. The hills come one after another starting with the first QOM at mile 4.6 and they don't let up until the last QOM with 5.3 miles to go. In between, the field will have to conquer two serious climbs each lap and then rocket back into town. Defending a leader's jersey on this course will be no easy task and the overall winner will need legs and a strong team.