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Nature Valley Grand Prix - NE

USA, June 9-13, 2004

2003 results     Stage List     Preview      Past winners

Big women's field for final test before Olympic trials

Nature Valley Grand Prix is a relatively new race on the National Racing Schedule and is growing in stature and popularity every year. Last year the race held UCI status for the women but has been removed this year so that riders from non-UCI registered teams can participate. Timed perfectly after the Wachovia Cycling Series, teams are in fine form to battle it out on the rolling and sometimes very hilly terrain of Northern Minnesota before traveling south to race in the twin cities and surrounds.

The race is five stages for men and women consisting of a short time-trial, which takes place on a bike path, two criterium style races and two road races encompassing a very broad section of countryside Minnesota.

This year the Nature Valley Grand Prix takes place only a week before Olympic Trials. A few riders have chosen not to attend, wanting to concentrate on the trials, however this year the women's field at Nature's Valley has 120 starters, making it the biggest field ever and the men's field is exceptionally strong.

Strong teams in the women's peloton such as Victory Brewing, Genesis Scuba and Quark will be on the start line coming off great results at the Liberty Classic with Gina Grain (Victory Brewing) taking second place behind seven-time winner Petra Rossner and Laura Van Gilder (Genesis Scuba) taking third. Also on the start line will be many of the newer teams such as America's Dairyland and Kenda Tire. TDS/Schwalbe is ready for a good race with newly crowned world pursuit champion and world record holder Sarah Ulmer riding with them.

This is a particularly important race for women as it is the second race of four in the Women's Prestige Cycling Series. Currently leading the series is Lyne Bessette (Quark Cycling Team), followed by her compatriot and rival Genevieve Jeanson (Rona Esker) and Christine Thorburn (Webcor). Bessette is here to defend her lead in the series, but the race will certainly have an effect on the standings as neither Jeanson or Thorburn are on the start list for this week.

In the men's field, last year's winner Trent Klasna is not planning on starting but his Sierra Nevada team have a strong line up. Webcor's Chris Horner, who dominated the first half of the domestic season this year, is on the start list and teams such as Health Net, Jittery Joe's, Jelly Belly and Navigators as well as the new Subway-Express and a few local teams such as Salsa and Penn Cycle / Nature Valley among others, make up a strong field.

The schedule for Nature Valley is a little unusual, with the women's first stage on Wednesday June 9 but the men's on June 10. The women then have their second stage on June 10 - and so do the men, later in the day.

Current Women’s Prestige Series rankings

1 Lyne Bessette Quark Cycling Team 220
2 Genevieve Jeanson Team Rona 165
3 Christine Thorburn Webcor Cycling Team 132
4 Susan Palmer-Komar Genesis Scuba / FFCC 121
5 Kristin Armstrong Team T-Mobile 110
6 Magali LeFloch Quark Cycling Team 99
7 Rhonda Quick Red 5 Racing 88
8 Tina Pic Genesis Scuba / FFCC 77
9 Amy Moore Quark Cycling Team 66
10 Kim Anderson Team T-Mobile 55

Past winners

2003 Trent Klasna (USA) Saturn  Katie Mactier (Aus) Saturn
2002 John Lieswyn (USA) 7 UP    Laura Van Gilder (USA) Trek Plus