Sundays Le Tour coverage was capped off by an hour of highlights from the 2011 edition of the women’s Nature Valley Grand Prix. I have to applaud Versus for using Le Tour as a lead in to coverage of one of the most important women’s races in the world. I thing this now brings up the total coverage of women’s cycling on “major” networks to 1.5 hours. I am not including the UCI feed that Universal Sports plays from the track and CX world cups… Which is awesome btw! I hope you all tuned in and will let versus know it was a popular choice and kept us all glued to the. TV after their main coverage of Le Tour. It reminded me that I started a piece on NorCal riders at the NVGP abut never published it so I went back, dug it up, and tried to get it in shape for a quick post….
2011 NVGP Women’s Recap – Inspired by Recent TV Coverage
Since the demise of Tour d’Altoona the Nature Valley Grand Prix, fathered by the legendary Dave LaPorte, has become the major race for established and aspiring women professional cyclists in the United States. All the teams show up with their ‘A’ game and the race is rarely without the exciting drama usually reserved for the Tour De France.
The NVGP has been a launching pad for several careers including luminaries like Kristin Armstrong who owned the race for several years before her retirement, Brooke Miller who started a hot streak in 2007 for TIBCO with a win at the Cannon Falls RR, and Shelley Olds who placed second to Armstrong in 2009 and ultimately won in 2010.
NorCal was represented with several teams including TIBCO, Peanut Butter 2012, and the up and coming Vanderkitten squad. Peanut Butters Ali Starnes podiumed the first day with a big TT finish (camera time!) and Vanderkitten guest rider Beth Newell topped most of the amateur field coming in 22nd.
The crits and road races belonged to current world champion Georgia Bronzini, but before her crash in Stage 4 Shelley Olds was looking like she would be able to give Bronzini a run for her money. With Olds out Norcal was represented in the final sprints by Vanderkitten’s Emily Collins who managed several top ten finishes through out the week.
TIBCO was throwing everything they could at the race leaders in order to dislodge the race leaders (HTC and Peanut Butter) and they came close to putting Willock in the leaders jersey. The cool part about all the TIBCO attacks and lead outs was NorCal favorite Megan Gaurnier got lots of camera time. Other notable GC rides included former Stanford rider Amber (Rais) Pierce who finished in the top twenty as did Lindsay Myers.
Editor’s Note: I took a picture of the TV… Thats not much of a technology solution.
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