Blue Ribbon Restaurants to sponsor Aspen women’s stage race

August event will coincide with USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado

The Aspen Snowmass Women’s Pro Challenge has attracted a new title sponsor for 2012. Organizers this week announced that Blue Ribbon Restaurants had signed on to back the second-year National Racing Calendar event that coincides with the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in August.

Founded by chef brothers Eric and Bruce Bromberg in coordination with the Blue Ribbon Team, an amateur bike racing squad based in New York City, Blue Ribbon Restaurants looked to the Aspen race as a chance to support cycling, healthy food and an active lifestyle.

Other sponsors include Exergy Development Group, Primal, T. Edwards Wines and even the Ajax Tavern at the Little Nell, whose combined support will help raise awareness of women’s cycling and draw top-level athletes to the race.

In addition to putting on the race, 2002 and 2009 women’s elite national road champion Jessica Phillips has also worked to form a non-profit organization to help female endurance athletes in the surrounding Aspen/Snowmass area.

The Blue Ribbon Alpine Challenge will run August 20-22 and will begin with a nine-mile uphill time trial finishing in the Maroon Bells mountain range. Stage 2 is a 35-mile circuit race around Snowmass. The final stage, a criterium through Aspen, will finish just before the USA Pro Challenge racers arrive in town for the finish of the third stage, allowing for a large crowd to see both races.

Phillips started the race last year to be run alongside the men’s Pro Challenge.

Olympic gold medalist Kristin Armstrong (Exergy Twenty12) won stage 2 and the overall title in last year’s race. According to Phillips, several 2012 U.S. Olympians plan to race this year’s Alpine Challenge after returning from London, potentially including Armstrong, who will be looking to defend her 2011 title.