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Nature Valley Pro Chase qualifier races selected
 
By Staff
Date: 2/25/2013
Nature Valley Pro Chase qualifier races selected
 
The Nature Valley Pro Chase, the only race series in the United States offering amateur cyclists trips to the Nature Valley Grand Prix where they will compete against the country’s top men and women professionals, adds new cities for 2013.

The Nature Valley Pro Chase will select the top amateur man and woman at six races to become part of a pair of composite Nature Valley Cycling Teams for the 15th annual edition of the premier stage race on the 2013 USA Cycling National Racing Calendar. The qualifying racers all share a common goal: to earn a pro contract.

Three of the 2012 Nature Valley Pro Chase qualifying racers earned pro contracts following their performance in the Nature Valley Grand Prix.

Riders earning pro contracts for 2013:
♦ Lindsay Bayer, Reston, Virginia - Colavita/fine Cooking
♦ Connor McCutcheon, Bend, Oregon - Get Crackin’ U25
♦ Brianna Walle, Beaverton, Oregon - Optum Pro Cycling

“I always enjoy watching the Nature Valley Cycling Team gel as a team. Even though the riders and coaches are complete strangers at the start of the pre-race camp, by the last stage of the Nature Valley Grand Prix, they've become lifelong friends,” Nature Valley Grand Prix Executive Director David LaPorte said. “It's also very rewarding to give talented riders a shot at going pro. The Nature Valley Pro Chase program, and the coaching that they get when they're here, have played major roles in the careers of quite a number of riders who have professional contracts today.”

Rider invitations will be issued following each of the six stops on the Nature Valley Pro Chase national tour: Tour de Murrieta (March 8-10) near San Diego; Independence Valley Road Race (March 30) near Seattle WA.; Jefferson Cup (April 7) near Charlottesville, VA.; Tour de Moore (April 27) near Raleigh, N.C.; Sterling Road Race (May 11) near Boston MA.; West Michigan Stage Race (May 17-19).

In this year’s race series, the Independence Valley Road Race, Sterling Road Race and West Michigan Stage Race were added to the lineup while the Tour de Murrieta, Jefferson Cup and Tour de Moore are all returning from last year.

West Michigan Stage Race Director, Brian Bangma is looking forward to seeing his goal of getting this stage race into the Nature Valley Pro Chase come to fruition.

“I considered this a win for the West Michigan Stage Race as well as for racers across the Midwest. Being a small part of one of the greatest races in the U.S. and knowing that my event will provide someone the opportunity to go head-to-head with the best in the country is truly an honor,” Bangma said.

Nature Valley Pro Chase qualifiers will earn free entries to the Nature Valley Grand Prix, generous travel stipends, team clothing, housing, ground transportation, and staff support for their composite teams. They will also receive pro-level recognition before, during and after the events, including pre-race call-ups and participation in promotional and media appearances. Their entire journey can be followed through blogs and on-line videos on the Nature Valley Pro Chase website (www.naturevalleyprochase), the Nature Valley Grand Prix Facebook page (www.facebook.com/NatureValleyGrandPrix) and on Twitter (@NVBikeFest).

Snapshot glances at the six Nature Valley Pro Chase events:

Tour de Murrieta (March 8-10), San Diego, CA.: Three unique courses comprise a weekend of racing – Friday's time trial features a 1.2-mile portion of unpaved/dirt road. Saturday's criterium is run on a lightning-fast, one-mile course in historic Downtown Murrieta, while Sunday’s circuit race is run on a 3.5-mile course (56 miles for men, 46 miles for women). Murrieta will be a start city for the 2013 Amgen Tour of California, which will use some of the same roads as the Tour of Murrieta.

Independence Valley Road Race (March 30), Seattle, WA.: New to the Nature Valley Pro Chase calendar, and located midway between Seattle and Portland, this race takes place on a 19-mile loop that features 2 hills each lap that are sure to sap the legs.

Jefferson Cup (April 7), Charlottesville, Virginia: Nearly two dozen editions make this is the oldest continually run road race in the Mid-Atlantic region. The course for this race winds through rolling countryside south of Charlottesville. The race is 70 miles for men and 50 miles for women.

Tour de Moore (April 27), Raleigh, N.C.: The oldest road race in the South (this is the 37th edition) has previously been used as both a Pan American games qualifier and a qualifier for the Quebec Provincial Team. Men will tackle four laps of a 27-mile rolling loop of the Fort Bragg Military Reservation (112 miles) while women do two laps for a 58-mile race.

Sterling Road Race (May 11), Boston, Ma.: Returning the Nature Valley Pro Chase calendar in it's 19th year, the Sterling Classic Road Race features an 8-mile loop of rolling terrain with a punchy climb to the start/finish each lap.

West Michigan Stage Race (May 17-19): The other race new to our calendar this year, the West Michigan Stage Race is a three stage race with a 7.5 mile Time Trial, a Criterium, and a Road Race on a rolling 30 mile course. The West Michigan Stage Race, now entering its third year, boasts a $10,000 prize list. In 2012 racers from all over the country came out for the event, and this year they are expecting an equally impressive turnout of 400 riders.

About the Nature Valley Bicycle Festival: Now in its 15th year, the Nature Valley Bicycle Festival is an eleven-day celebration of bicycling that includes amateur and professional racing and community events. The Nature Valley Grand Prix has become the premier professional bike race in the U.S., attracting top American racing teams and nearly 300 top riders from around the world. It is the only professional sporting event in Minnesota for which no admission ticket is required. Proceeds from the Nature Valley Grand Prix are donated to Children’s Lighthouse of Minnesota, a pediatric hospice project. For a detailed schedule of events visit www.naturevalleybicyclefestival.com.

About Nature Valley: Nature Valley, the brand that created the granola bar category in 1975, brings variety to healthy, active consumers looking for wholesome and great-tasting snacks. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Nature Valley is part of General Mills, a leading global manufacturer and marketer of consumer foods products.

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