Two elite amateurs were selected to compete in the professional races at the Nature Valley Grand Prix in June through qualifying races in the second edition of the Nature Valley Pro Chase.
Lindsay Bayer, 27, of Reston, Virginia, and Pete Custer, 28, of Washington, DC were selected through their performances in the Jefferson Cup in Charlottesville, Virginia on April 1, and join Trina Jacobson and Connor McCutcheon of California who qualified through the Tour de Murrieta in their home state in March.
Bayer came in second place to retired pro Kelly Benjamin in Charlottesville, and as the top-ranked amateur she earned an invitation. Custer came 14th in the men's category 1,2,3 event.
The Nature Valley Pro Chase was started last year as a way to bring new talent into the professional ranks. Jade Wilcoxson and Anna Barensfeld, now with Optum Pro Cycling, and Alison Tetrick Starnes of Exergy Twenty12 all came through the Nature Valley pro ride program, where amateurs are chosen for a fully supported composite team.
All of the team members receive travel stipends, housing, team clothing, ground transportation, a pre-race training camp, and staff support for their composite teams.
A total of six riders will form the 2012 men's and women's teams. The remaining four qualifying events are the RBC Tour de Moore in Southern Pines, North Carolina on April 28, the Superior Morgul Classic in Boulder, Colorado May 18-20, the San Jose Omnium in California May 27-28 and the Memorial Weekend Omnium in the Quad Cities region of Iowa/Illinois May 26-28.
All riders selected during the Nature Valley Pro Chase will be documenting their preparation and experiences at the Nature Valley Grand Prix via the blog and video galleries.