On Saturday, August 24th, the Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefits Strategies women will rendezvous with the men’s team currently underway at the USA Pro Challenge in Fort Collins, CO for the Fort Follies Women’s Grand Prix. Saturday’s one mile criterium course is going to be flat and fast, and spectators will see the women racing along the same finishing circuit as the men, at the end of Stage 6 of the men’s race, a tough trip from Loveland to Fort Collins. Performance Director Rachel Heal is sending a powerful squad to Fort Collins, which includes Jade Wilcoxson, Lauren Hall, Brianna Walle, Leah Kirchmann, and Amber Gaffney.
“We’re bringing a stacked team to the race, so we have lots of cards to play and we’re looking to make it an aggressive and exciting race,” said Heal. “With a significant $9,000 prize purse, and another $1,000 up for grabs in awards for the sprinter’s, most aggressive rider, and young rider classifications, there will certainly be extra incentive to stick to their opportunistic race strategy.”
Fort Follies Roster:
From Fort Collins, Team Jets to Italy to Contest World Team Time Trial Championship
Following the race in Colorado, Jade, Lauren, and Leah head to Europe to join teammates Joelle Numainville, Janel Holcomb, and Denise Ramsden for a lengthy European campaign in preparation for the Team Time Trial World Championships in Tuscany, Italy on September 22nd.
The schedule for Europe includes the Tour Cycliste Féminin International de l’Ardèche, a difficult and hilly six day stage race in the Ardeche region of Southern France, and the Giro della Toscana, a five day stage race in Tuscany very close to the World Championship venue.
“Although these are our first races in Europe as a team, the riders have all ridden in Europe with their respective national teams, and we are looking forward to combining their experience with the winning spirit we have in the US,” said Heal. “We’ll be looking for some great results,” said Heal. “We will then have a week to fine tune before the team’s big goal of a result at the TTT World Championships.”
Europe Campaign Roster: