USA Cycling announced today that it will create a formal women’s professional team structure for the 2013 national calendar.
This groundbreaking initiative gives women racers the opportunity to compete in the Volkswagen USA Cycling Professional Road & Time Trial National Championships in Chattanooga, Tenn., on the same weekend as the men pro racers and with equal prize money.
The race will be open to registered UCI and domestic Elite riders, as well as Category 1 and 2 racers.
"There has been a tremendous increase in awareness and interest in women’s professional road racing over the past decade," said USA Cycling CEO and President Steve Johnson in a statement. "We were very excited to add women’s representation to the Professional Road Committee as part of last year’s governance reform; and I think bringing the two championships together and equalizing the prize lists are important steps in the continuing development of women’s cycling in the U.S."
There will also be a stand-alone U23 women’s national championship at the USA Cycling Amateur & Para-cycling Road National Championship, July 3-7, in Madison, Wis. The U23 championship is open to category 1, 2 and 3 racers age 19-22, and will feature road, time trial and criterium races.
Women will also race on the same day as the men at the USA Cycling Professional Criterium National Championships, July 27, in High Point, N.C. That race is open to U23 riders under the same stipulations mentioned above.
"Combining the women's and men's National Road and Time Trial Championships in 2013 is nothing but a good move," stated Nicola Cranmer, general manager of the Exergy TWENTY12 UCI Professional Cycling Team in a press release. "Not only because of the obvious boost in media exposure that this will gain for women's racing, but also the fact that creating a separate U23 national championships later in the year gives the young athletes a target. Showcasing pro women alongside the pro men is a positive statement."