AEG Sports, organizers of the Amgen Tour of California, announced that it has secured UCI 1.1 status for its invitational women’s time trial set to take place on May 15 in Big Bear Lake. In addition, its inaugural women’s three-day stage race will run as a 2.1-level event and will start in South Lake Tahoe on May 8 and conclude in Sacramento on May 10.
"The UCI designation elevates the prestige of the women's time trial event and increases the relevance of women's cycling," said Kristin Bachochin Klein, executive director of the Amgen Tour of California and senior vice president of AEG Sports.
"This event will feature some of the best time trial specialists in the world, including World and Olympic Champions. Combined with the new women's stage race, both events will showcase the extraordinary achievements of female cyclists from around the world.”
The invitation-only individual time trial is expected to include roughly 20 of the top domestic and international time triallists.
The stage details for both the multi-day women’s race and the individual time trial are in the works, and will be announced at a later date. However, Big Bear Lake has been the location for the individual time trial stage of the Redlands Bicycle Classic, which used a 12.5km route that took place along the lake's north shore.
The Tour of California has expanded its women's races every year. It started hosting an event for women with a criterium from 2008 to 2010 and replaced it with the individual time trial held from 2011 to 2013. Last year, AEG hosted a circuit race in Sacramento, won by Carmen Small, and an individual time trial in Folsom, won by Alison Powers.
Nine UCI-sanctioned events in North America
Top-level racing opportunities are increasing for the women’s peloton in North America with nine UCI-sanctioned women’s events in 2015.
The races include the Joe Martin Stage Race (2.2) held from April 23-26 in Arkansas, Tour of the Gila (2.2) held from April 29 to May 3 in New Mexico, the Amgen Tour of California Women’s Race (2.1) held from May 8-10 and Invitational Time Trial (1.1) held on May 15 and Winston Salem Cycling Classic (1.2) held on May 31.
The UCI racing moves north of the border to the Canadian province of Quebec for the Grand Prix Cycliste de Gatineau Road Race (1.1) on June 4 and the Chrono de Gatineau Time Trial (1.1) on June 5.
The international women’s field will unite in Pennsylvania at the Philly Cycling Classic, the newest member of the UCI’s World-Cup series held on June 7. After a short break, the UCI racing heads back up in Canada for the White Spot/Delta Road Race (1.2) on July 12 in British Columbia.
The world-class racers (men and women) will return to the US for the 2015 UCI Road World Championships from September 19-27 in Richmond, Virginia.