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The Nature Valley Grand Prix podium after stage 1: Alison Powers (2nd), Kristin Armstrong (1st), and Erin Willock (3rd).
Races across the USA will earn amateurs free entry to NVGP
The organisers of the Nature Valley Grand Prix have named six events which take place across the USA as qualifiers for amateurs to earn a free entry into their race, one of the premiere stage races in the country.
The "Nature Valley Pro Ride" qualifying events include the Hillsboro-Roubaix Road Race (April 10) in Illinois, Rock Hill Spring Bicycle Classic (April 10-11) in South Carolina, Cherry Blossom Cycling Classic (April 23-25) in Oregon, Barrio Logan Grand Prix/Mark Reynolds San Luis Rey Road Cycling Classic (May 1-2) in California, Bear Mountain Spring Classic (May 15) in New York and Mt. Hamilton Road Race/Criterium (May 30-31) in California.
Riders selected through these events will earn free entries to the Nature Valley Grand Prix, June 16-20, and receive generous travel stipends, team clothing, housing, ground transportation, and staff support for their composite teams. They will also receive pro-level recognition before, during and after the events, including pre-race call-ups and participation in promotional and media appearances.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for an amateur to receive a ‘battlefield promotion' to compete with the top professionals," Nature Valley Grand Prix Executive Director David LaPorte said. "Since its inception 11 years ago, the Nature Valley Grand Prix has emerged as the top women's bike racing event and one of the top men's races in the U.S.. The Nature Valley Pro Ride gives top U.S. amateurs a chance race in front of huge crowds, to be noticed by pro team managers and potentially to receive a pro contract."
The Rock Hill Spring Bicycle Races, Cherry Blossom Cycling Classic, Barrio Logan Grand Prix and Mt. Hamilton Road Race/Memorial Day Criterium are all new to the Nature Valley Pro Ride for 2010.
Hillsboro-Roubaix and the Bear Mountain Spring Classic return from the 2009 Nature Valley Pro Ride calendar, as does the San Luis Rey Road Race, which is partnering with the Barrio Logan Grand Prix to add a qualifying criterium this year.
Rock Hill Spring Races Promoter Kim Deacon said becoming part of the Nature Valley Pro Ride marks a high point in his 30 years of organizing the event.
"The prestige of being invited to affiliate with such a prominent event as the Nature Valley Grand Prix enhances not only our racer draw and participation, but also the recognition and importance of our race in the Southeastern U.S. racing calendar and in our local community," Deacon said. "We have always prided ourselves for putting on a first-class and tough bicycle race. The recognition we are receiving from the Nature Valley Pro Ride is a nice confirmation of our work."
More details on the qualifying process can be found at www.NatureValleyProRide.com