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Jade Wilcoxson (Optum) drives the women's break up the final climb.
Series kicks of in Redlands Classic
The Women's Prestige Cycling Series will set off for its 10th run through the US domestic circuit when the Redlands Bicycle Classic begins the National Race Calendar April 4-7.
The women's series, which also includes the Nature Valley Grand Prix in June and the Cascade Cycling Classic in July, honors the top overall rider, best young rider, best sprinter and top team throughout all three races.
TIBCO to the Top's Megan Guarnier, who also won the 2012 national road race championship and later signed with Rabobank for 2013, took the series' top individual jersey last season. Guarnier's TIBCO teammate Lindsay Myers won the best young rider's jersey, while Optum Pro Cycling-Kelly Benefit Strategies won the team title and placed 2012 revelation Jade Wilcoxson in the sprinter's jersey.
"It's great to have that consistent support for the women," Wilcoxson told Cyclingnews this week after returning from a European trip with the USA Cycling national team. "Anything we can do to highlight women's racing and generate some excitement for women's racing is for the better. Sot it's great that they've generated the sponsorship to come back for 10 years in a row."
The series first took place in 2004 after riders and team managers expressed a desire for a focused national series that didn't share the spotlight with the men. The Nature Valley Grand Prix has been a part of the Women’s Prestige Cycling Series from its inception, while the Redlands Bicycle Classic has taken part in the series since its second year. This year will mark the Cascade Cycling Classic's fifth year with the series. The July race in Oregon presents the final series jerseys along with the Nicole Reinhart Trophy, which goes to the women's overall winner of that race.
"We were thrilled and honored when the Bend Memorial Clinic Cascade Cycling Classic was chosen as the grand finale event for the Women's Prestige Cycling Series," said Cascade race director Chad Sperry. "Women's racing has always been a major priority for us, so this validated what we've been trying to achieve. We're also pleased to be associated with such tremendous events as Redlands and Nature Valley, which share our passion in promoting women’s cycling."
2013 Women's Prestige Cycling Series:
Redlands Bicycle Classic, April 4 -7
Nature Valley Grand Prix, June 12 -16
Bend Memorial Clinic Cascade Cycling Classic, July 16 - 21