Colorado looks set to have a new women’s stage race after it was announced that plans are under way for a three-day race to be held at the same time as the Quiznos Pro Challenge.
The race, which will take place between August 22-24 has already attracted interest for top US teams HTC-Highroad and Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY12.
"It’s going to be a women’s race around the Tour of Colorado [sic]," said organiser and professional rider Jessica Phillips who is part of organisers Ajax Tavern.
"It’s going to be a three-day stage race for women. HTC has already said they’ll send riders and the same for the Peanut Butter team. So we’re hoping to make it a top level event."
The race has yet to find a title sponsor but already has the backing of USA Cycling and has also secured permits to race. Along with a prize fund of between $7,000 to $10,000, Philips is hoping that this will be the start of an upsurge in women’s racing.
Philips was inspired to organise an event after the Quiznos Pro Challenge was unveiled last year. The men’s professional race will attract some of the biggest teams in the world but the organisers were not in a position to organise a women’s event in conjunction.
"No one wanted to attempt to put on a women’s race. We read the press release about the men’s race and how cycling in Colorado is such a big deal. Women are always saying it’s not fair that they don’t have a women’s race, so instead of just complaining about it I just said, 'I’m going to work really hard on putting together a women’s race'.
"We’ve not secured sponsorship yet so we’ll either call it something along the lines of a possible title sponsor or sponsors for each stage but if not of that happens I’m fortunate to be in the town of Aspen where we can probably get private sponsors. It’s definitely happening. For now we’re calling it the Aspen Women’s Stage Race."
As well as securing permits Philips has also organised the entire race route. The event will start with a hilly individual time trial, while the next day will showcase women’s racing in the form of an undulating circuit race. The final stage will be a criterium race in downtown Aspen, which will finish an hour ahead of the men’s stage.
"The dates don’t conflict with any US calendar races and Aspen is amazing because of the lodgings for the teams. I want people to see how strong women can be and to have spectators out on the route watching us," she said.