Jennifer Valente of the TWENTY20 Pro Cycling Team earned a stage victory and the Frontier Airlines Sprint Competition Jersey at the crowd packed four-day Colorado Classic stage race this past weekend. Valente showed from the first sprint on stage one, where she took the time bonus, that she was in Colorado to attack each stage for the win. Valente finished 4th on stage one and the sprint focused squad had the sprint jersey in mind from that opening lap in Vail. Valente earned the most aggressive jersey on stage 2, a deserving reward for a powerful attack of the uphill time trial course over Vail Pass and was victorious in the technical stage 3 criterium.
“Going into Colorado Classic the whole team was upbeat and motivated as it was the last team race of the season. We went in with a plan to get the sprint jersey and to ride cohesively and aggressively and that’s exactly what we did. All four days we executed a plan. The girls moved me into position and led me out for intermediate sprints each day. And we were able to pull off the win on Stage 3 as an added bonus. The circuits on Stage 1 and 4 were great courses. I especially liked the short dirt climb on Stage 1. It was tough but within a track riders ability. I knew my sprint power was in good coming off the track, but racing on the road and at altitude is always challenging,” said Valente.
At only 23 years of age, Valente seems to be finding a good place with the team and the balance of track to road conversion in a maturity not typically seen at this age.
“Jenn is a truly is a world-class athlete and continues to dig deep on the road endurance. She showed this weekend that track power when combined with riding mileage can transfer nicely to the road competitions,” said Nicola Cranmer, General Manager, TWENTY20 Pro Cycling.
Valente currently sits atop the UCI Track Omnium event rankings and is the 4th position in the points race rankings.
Allie Legg came into Colorado in good form, eyeing the time trial stage in Vail, where she finished 2nd to Olympian Kristin Armstrong in 2015. Unfortunately for Legg, she could not find her rhythm on the stage. Legg regrouped and came back the next day to work dynamically with the team for positioning and to keep Valente secure for what would be a dominating sprint victory.
“It was nice to have four days of racing. I do wish each day was longer, maybe not the time trial, but the rest for sure. My favorite stages were Saturday and Sunday. Saturday's rainy crit made for aggressive racing and Sunday's circuit was very fast. Those types of races make me engage mentally and physically. It's easy to zone out of the race if there isn't any action- those days were both very active. The team rode very well together throughout the race and our biggest accomplishment this year was the growth in communication. This weekend that communication showed as we closed the weekend with the sprinters jersey and a stage win, pretty nice!” commented Legg.
The team brought a roster to this event that was able to work collaboratively and with the dynamic of the race. This year’s event showcased the strength of the domestic women’s cycling scene and brought the excitement of women’s racing to the sports centric state of Colorado.
“It was a really good team race for us. The whole team contributed and committed to winning the sprint jersey. Our overall goal was to win the sprint jersey from Day 1. Our second goal was to win stages. The team accomplished both goals. As a director it was nice for me to see the progression that our team has made over the year and I am so happy we finished the year on a high note,” said Mari Holden, Sports Director, TWENTY20.
“I'd like to thank Vail and Denver for hosting the event and everyone who was involved in making it happen for the women up there. Both cities were very different but were both very welcoming and fun. I love racing in Colorado,” Legg added.