USA Pro Challenge announces women’s race for 2015

The event will overlap with the men's race for three days in Colorado this August

The USA Pro Challenge announced Tuesday it will hold a three-day elite women’s race in conjunction with the men’s race in August.

The route for the women’s event will overlap with some parts of the men’s race, and the women will compete for the same daily prize money as the men, according to a press release.

The three-day race is slated for August 21-23; the men’s race is scheduled for August 17-23.

“We are very excited to support women’s cycling in the U.S. and bring more of an awareness to these incredible athletes on a large stage in Colorado with world-class crowds,” said Shawn Hunter, CEO of the USA Pro Challenge. “The women bring an entirely new dynamic to our race and we are confident the fierce skills of these riders will impress and inspire all of our passionate fans.”

The women’s race will start with a time trial in Breckenridge, Colorado on August 21, the same day the men will race a TT in the mountain town. The women will conclude their three days of racing in Golden; the men’s final stage takes them from Golden to Denver that same day.

The second stage is in Fort Collins, according to the release, which said the official routes will be “confirmed in the near future.”

Boulder resident Mara Abbott, who races for Wiggle-Honda, is looking forward to the race.

“I am beyond thrilled to have a chance to compete at the Women’s USA Pro Challenge this year,” she said. “I think to be able to race on your home turf is special for any racer and especially for me because Colorado holds the majority of my heart. When the men finished up Flagstaff, only two blocks from the house where I grew up, I avoided the race entirely because I was jealous and sad. To get a chance to compete in the Colorado mountains is a dream come true.”

Connie Carpenter-Phinney, who won the 1984 Olympic women’s road race in Los Angeles, has pushed for a women’s event at the USA Pro Challenge since the men’s race was first held in 2011.

“This is great news for women’s cycling that the USA Pro Challenge has added a women’s division in 2015, which has been highly anticipated by the racers and the fans,” she said. “I know Colorado will embrace the women’s race and 2015 will mark the start of a new era in women’s racing!”