Organizers of the Women's Prestige Cycling Series in the United States of America have announced that the Presbyterian Hospital Invitational in Charlottte, North Carolina, will join the series and will serve as the grand finale in 2008. The event's addition will mark the first time the series' five-year history that a one-day race has been included in a schedule that previously included all stage races.
"We're thrilled to be part of the Series", said Presbyterian Hospital Invitational director Thad Fischer. "Women's racing is a priority of our event and being the grand finale of the country's only national women's-only series has long been a goal for us. We're going to work hard to create the grand finale that's worthy of this important series".
As the grand finale, the Presbyterian Hospital Invitational will be the deciding factor in a series that also includes the Redlands Bicycle Classic, the Nature Valley Grand Prix and the International Tour de 'Toona.
"Adding a big one-day criterium balances out the Series", said Carmen D'Aluisio, manager of the Aaron's Cycling Team. "Stage race specialists may well take the lead early in the Series, but the tables will be turned in the finale. This gives crit specialists a shot at the individual, best young rider and team titles and could make for a dramatic finish to the Series."
As the only criterium ranked at 1.1 on the USA Cycling National Race Calendar, the Presbyterian Hospital Invitational is the most important criterium on that national calendar. Unlike the three stage races that precede it on the Series schedule, this is a true sprinters' race.
Women's Prestige Cycling Series 2008 calendar:
Redlands Bicycle Classic (April 3-6)
Nature Valley Grand Prix (June 11-15)
Tour de 'Toona (July 21-27)
Presbyterian Hospital Invitational (August 2)