USA Pro Challenge Adds Women’s Race
Major cycling event seeks to narrow the gender gap
Organizers of the USA Pro Challenge, one of the most prestigious and fastest-growing road cycling races in the United States, have announced that they will add a multistage race for women during the August 2015 event.
“We’re very excited about it,” CEO Shawn Hunter told Colorado community radio station KUNC on Wednesday. “Some of the great riders, not only just in the U.S. but from Europe, probably will be racing here in Colorado next August.”
While the men’s event, which the UCI classifies as a 2.HC race (only the World Tour races are rated higher), will take place August 17 to 23, 2015, the women’s race will take place on many of the same roads, a decision Hunter made after reading feedback from fans on social media.
“We’re the first race in the world to ever involve our fans in selecting part of the route,” he told KUNC. “The feedback was phenomenal.”
Many have taken the announcement by the USA Pro Challenge as another sign of progress in the development of world-class women’s cycling races. In mid-October, Tour of Spain director Javier Gullén told CyclingNews that the September 2015 race would include a one-day women’s competition prior to the last stage in Madrid. A day earlier, organizers of the Tour of California announced that they will be expanding the length of their women’s competition.
“We’re going to have a much stronger world cup calendar and international calendar,” UCI president Brian Cookson told CyclingNews a few days later, when asked about the expanded schedule for UCI women’s races in 2015. “I think we’re moving in the right direction.”