"It looks like the women's field will be as good as it's ever been, if not even better," said Trans-Sylvania Epic co-promoter Mike Kuhn to Cyclingnews.
Several other fast women will join Carey and Sornson in Pennsylvania from May 26 to June 1. Sonya Looney (Topeak Ergon) and Sarah Kaufmann, State College local Vicki Barclay and Sue Haywood (all Stan's No Tubes) are also among the podium favorites.
Based on sheer numbers, the Stan's No Tubes team will be a force to be reckoned with.
"The NoTubes women could race as a team although that's not always the easiest thing to do in a mountain bike stage race," said Kuhn.
The attendance of Pua Mata (Sho-Air/Cannondale) is still in question since she broke her leg while racing at the Mellow Johnny's Classic in early March. She had been considering coming, but may not be recovered in time to compete in a week-long stage race.
The Trans-Sylvania Epic is also doing a few unique things for the 2013 edition of the race. First is an under 25 classification, in which the best U25 riders across all categories (solo, duo, etc.) are recognized and awarded. The top male and female U25 riders will go home with a free solo entry to the next year's event.
"I think it's a good way to offer a development category. It's a way to get some up and coming racers some significant exposure for themselves and their sponsors," said Kuhn.
In addition, the Trans-Sylvania Epic will have neutral support bikes at check points throughout the race.
"We definitely have people each year who can't finish because of mechanicals, but now we can help these folks out," said Kuhn. "It makes privateering a little easier."
Both the U25 classification and the neutral support bikes are being made possible by the race's new partnership with BMC.
The Trans-Sylvania Epic will continue to include an enduro competition. One day's stage will be dedicated to the enduro format, with approximately five time segments. Also, there will be one additional timed section for each of the other stages and the times across all enduro segments will be combined to calculate the enduro classification.
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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews. She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.
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