The Womenâ€™s Prestige Cycling Series is back for 2012 and with defending champion Erinne Willock taking a year away from the sport, the series is wide open. The WPCS will comprise three events this season and will open with the Redlands Bicycle Classic this week.
The resurgent Kristin Armstrong (Exergy Twenty12), winner of the season-opening San Dimas Stage Race, is among the top favorites for the ninth edition of the series. Other favorites include defending National Racing Calendar champ Janel Holcomb (Optum) and Clara Hughes (Specialized-lululemon).
â€œI am looking forward to bringing a strong team to all three events in the series,â€ said Optum Pro Cycling manager Rachel Heal. â€œThe team has great all-around strength, with general classification riders Janel Holcomb and Carmen Small, and two proven sprinters in Joelle Numainville and Leah Kirchmann.â€
The Nature Valley Grand Prix, June 13-17 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is the second stop on the series. The BMC Cascade Cycling Classic closes the series July 17-22.
It is unclear at this point what, if any, effect the series finale will feel from the London Olympics. The womenâ€™s Olympic road race takes place July 29.
2012 Womenâ€™s Prestige Cycling Series
Redlands Bicycle Classic: March 22-25
Nature Valley Grand Prix: June 13-17
BMC Cascade Cycling Classic: July 17-22