There's a new stage race in town this year. The Exergy Tour, running 24-28 May, is a five-day women's stage race, and earlier this week, the Exergy Tour announced the course cities for this year's edition. It starts and finishes in Boise, Idaho, home to the sponsor Exergy. Along the way, the women will visit Nampa, Kuna, Garden Valley, and Idaho City. Apparently, there's plenty of variety in the neighborhood: Mountains, high desert, sprints.
The Exergy Tour also carries a UCI 2.1 ranking. It's the only women's race in the U.S. with the 2.1 ranking, actually. Hello there Olympic points! The May time slot makes the Exergy Tour one of the last chances to pick off qualifying points for London.
For the U.S. riders, it's the last chance saloon to make the team. The USA Cycling selection committee will announce the final team at the end of May. This year, the national championship events for women come after the Olympic decision has already been made. The Exergy Tour is the last shot to make a good impression on the committee and pick up points. The selection process starts at zero at the beginning of this season.
Currently, the U.S. has three slots in the Olympic road race and two starts in the time trial. Kristin Armstrong, Amber Neben, and Evie Stevens all have ambitions to race in London. No doubt there will be tears no matter how the selection process goes.
I had the chance to talk to Megan Guarnier and Amanda Miller last week, who were in town for their Tibco team training camp. They said that the U.S. is close to qualifying a fourth rider for the road race, and much would depend on how the early season classics go. Only the top five ranked riders from each country can score points for the Olympics. Guarnier is among the five riders who can add points to the U.S. total.
Guarnier and Miller are both on their way to do a block of racing in Northern Europe. They will ride for the national team at Omloop het Nieuwsblad and for Tibco at the Ronde van Drenthe. For Miller, it'll be her first experience racing on the cobbles.
The Olympic year always means Drama. And the Exergy Tour has the potential to become a showdown among the U.S. hopefuls for London. Olympics aside, it is also a solid addition to the women's racing calendar. More like this, please.