June 15, 2018
By: Meghan Caffrey
This weekend the 2018 World Series of Bicycling season kicked off with the US Sprint Grand Prix. Rides from a dozen counties came out to T-Town for the first weekend of UCI racing and a fresh slate for the Ride of the Year. For the men, Tjon En Fa defended his 2017 Sprint Grand Prix title beating out James Brister in 2 rounds and earned himself the title for the second straight year. Mandy Marquardt finished the night earning the women’s US Sprint Grand Prix crown, holding her own and beating Lauriane Genest in two rides.
For me, Friday night began my second season trackside on our TV2 sports coverage of the Velodrome. It’s safe to say I am pumped for all of the fun that is to come in these next two months. Friday night I felt right at home, seeing familiar faces of both the local and international riders who are back for another summer of racing. One thing I am extremely excited to see throughout this summer in the UCI racing at the Valley Preferred Cycling Center is the introduction of more women’s racing. T-Town is taking the initiative to equal the playing field for their professional men and women this year. In the year’s past, the men’s UCI racing had become the premiere events on Friday nights, with the men taking home larger prize money. Along with even opportunities in the races to compete in, this year women will earn equal cash payouts as the men. I spoke with some of the female rides this past Friday about the new opportunities, and they could barely contain their excitement. This is a huge step forward for the Valley Preferred Cycling Center, and guaranteeing more fun action packed Friday nights to come in the future.