USA Pro Challenge cycling race adds women’s competition

<p>(Courtesy of USA Cycling)</p>
<p>Cyclist Mara Abbott climbs Lookout Mountain.</p>
Cyclist Mara Abbott
Cyclist Mara Abbott climbs Lookout Mountain.

announced Tuesday that it will add a three-stage women's competition this summer to coincide with the men's race.

The inaugural event will begin Aug. 21 in Breckenridge, move to Fort Collins on Aug 22, and finish in Golden on Aug. 23. Route details will be announced in three to five weeks, organizers said.

“I am beyond thrilled to have a chance to compete at the Women’s USA Pro Challenge this year,” said Mara Abbott, a professional cyclist from Boulder. "To get a chance to compete in the Colorado mountains is a dream come true.”

The women will compete for the same prize money as men. Abbott said she hopes the new race serves to promote the sport to younger girls.

“I’ve had a lot of success at this sport. It’s become my career and to a large extent my life, and I didn’t know about it until I got to college," she said. "So if you’ve got a little girl in Breckenridge, who’s going to see that before she gets to college, that’s huge. That’s amazing.”