Women Kick off World Championship Prep at France’s GP de Plouay

Month-long race campaign culminates with Team Time Trial World Championship

Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies lands in France this week to begin preparations for the 2014 World Championships in Ponferrada, Spain. A 7-women team hops the pond and will kick off their month-long campaign at France’s GP de Plouay. The 121 kilometer single day race in the Brittany region will be the first international World Cup race the Orange & Black tackle as a unit.

“This will be our first World Cup in the history of the team, so that’s creating a great vibe and tons of motivation for the riders right now,” said Performance Director Kevin Field. “Brittany is a region that’s special in the history of French cycling – like Flanders is for Belgium. People in Brittany just love the bicycle, and racing here is always a special experience.”

Canadian champion and La Course podium finisher Leah Kirchmann will lead the team in Brittany, alongside Annie Ewart, Lauren Hall, Janel Holcomb, Brianna Walle, and Jade Wilcoxson. Denise Ramsden will serve as an alternate for the trip after recently developing bronchitis. Field and assistant director Pat McCarty have ingrained an intense focus on the Team Time Trial World Championship in Ponferrada into the 2014 season. The team completed numerous time trial camps around the United States, and one final push in Europe could give the team what it needs to deliver another result on the world stage.

“We just completed a 10 day training camp near the team’s service course in Colorado to finish a year’s worth of preparations for this, so the women are feeling strong and motivated,” said Field. “The team has consistently delivered in the races we’ve done in Europe this year, and the riders have had a month off of racing, so they’re fit and fresh. Obviously our big focus is Worlds, but we are going to aim for a big result to start off the month here in Europe.”

Following GP de Plouay, the team will compete in France’s six-day Tour Cycliste Féminin International de l’Ardèche, September 2-7. Many of the same athletes the Orange & Black will face for a team trial gold medal later that month will also contest the seven stage event.

GP de Plouay Roster
Annie Ewart
Lauren Hall
Janel Holcomb
Leah Kirchmann
Brianna Walle
Jade Wilcoxson
alternate Denise Ramsden

Women’s Race Schedule
August 30 – GP Plouay. World Cup
September 2-7 – Tour de l’Ardeche
September 21 – World Championships TTT

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