Some of the top competitors on USA Cycling's Pro Road Tour will be on the start line of the Thompson Bucks County Classic professional women's criterium sponsored by Doylestown Health on Sunday, Sept. 11.
Much like the Olympic Games last month, a significant amount of attention will be on the female cyclists who compete in the 25-mile, multi-lap race through the streets of Downtown Doylestown, said race director John Eustice.
"With the incredible success of the U.S. women's team at Rio on both the road and the track, it is apparent that women's cycling is both valid, powerful and very exciting," Eustice said. "We are so proud to feature some of the top talent in the sport, as well as to provide them with equal prize money and equal media attention. It promises to be an exciting time for everyone who turns out to watch them race through the streets of Doylestown."
A pair of sisters, who are in the top five of the Pro Road Tour standings, are scheduled to start one of the last events of the season-long competition. Heading into the Labor Day weekend, the No. 1 and No. 4 riders - Samantha and Skylar Schneider, respectively - were battling it out for points against perennial national champion Coryn Rivera (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team) and Olympic gold medalist Kristin Armstrong (TWENTY16 presented by SHO-AIR).
Both Schneiders compete for ISCorp Cycling presented by SmartChoice MRI, the team which leads the PRT standings. Their squad will be competing for the first time in the Thompson Bucks County Classic. Samantha Schneider was the winner of the USA Cycling National Criterium Calendar last year.
"We have had the pleasure of racing in Pennsylvania before and I am always impressed with the atmosphere of the races," Skylar said. "Spectators line the streets and it is electric with how loud they all cheer. It is also really thrilling to be doing a course that we have not done before, as there are many unknown variables. I am pleased to be bringing my team to Doylestown and am really looking forward to the racing and engaging with a new community."
One of the local favorites is 17-year-old Paige Shumskas. The Pipersville, Pennsylvania, resident is a junior-scholar development rider on Fearless Femme Racing. Both a road and track cyclist, Shumskas was an honors student at Central Bucks High School East who has competed at Doylestown before.
"I have been racing large events like this all season," Shumskas said, "but it has special significance to me, being my hometown criterium. Friends and family who have never seen me race will finally get a taste of what bike racing is all about.
"It is also a different and exciting weekend due to the arts festival, which brings a more diverse crowd to the race. Since this is my first year of racing professionally, my goals for Bucks County are very team-oriented. I will likely be towards the front of the lead-out train if it comes down to a sprint, or just making sure that my teammates stay up the road if they are in a breakaway. Overall, I am optimistic and ecstatic to compete next weekend."
Eustice said it has been his dream for the Doylestown pro women's and men's races to be on the national calendar for some time.
"The PRT combines the best road races and the best criteriums in the county into one circuit," he said. "It was a no-brainer that this event should be part of that. And coming off some incredible performances at the Olympics - including a breathtakingly dramatic ride by Mara Abbott that nearly landed her a medal - we are so proud to be supporting women cyclists and what they are doing now."
In Rio, the American women took home four of Team USA's five Olympic cycling medals. Armstrong of Boise, Idaho, became the first cyclist to win three Olympic gold medals in a single discipline. The women's pursuit team earned a silver medal on the track after breaking a world record in the semifinals. Sarah Hammer, a three-time Olympian from Colorado Springs, took silver in the women's omnium. In BMX racing, Chula Vista, California's Alise Post also claimed a silver medal.
The 14th edition of the Thompson Bucks County Classic will feature five races, live entertainment, VIP tents and an awards ceremony. It is run in conjunction with the annual Doylestown Arts Festival, which offers a selection of 160 juried artists, five stages of live music, two food courts and live demonstrations. Both events are free to the public and free parking is available at the County Parking Garage, County VIP Lot, and Fanny Chapman. The Doylestown Dart shuttle will provide transportation to and from the Garage and Fanny Chapman for convenience.
Recreational cyclists will get the exciting day rolling with the Cyclosportif, a beautiful and challenging ride through historic Bucks County. Beginning at 8:30 a.m., cyclists can choose from two routes of either 31 or 60 miles. What follows is the amateur men's criterium (60-minutes) at 9:30 a.m., children's races at 10:45 a.m., the "Lenape Scorcher" - a race featuring high wheel bikes that rose to popularity in the late 1800s. The Doylestown Health Pro Women race at 11:45 a.m., followed by the Thompson Pro Men at 1:10 p.m.
The Thompson Bucks County Classic professional women's criterium will be live streamed. Complete details about the entire day of racing can be found on the official website, buckscountyclassic.com.
About The Thompson Organization:
In business since 1969, The Thompson Organization includes Thompson Toyota, Scion, Lexus, Maserati and BMW and Thompson Rent A Car, located at Routes 313 and 611 in Doylestown, as well as the Thompson Detail Center located on N. Broad Street in Doylestown, and the Thompson Collision Center located on Route 611 in Plumsteadville. For more information on the Thompson family of automotive dealerships, please visit www.1800Thompson.com.
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About Doylestown Health:
Doylestown Hospital is the flagship of the Doylestown Health system, a connected system of inpatient, outpatient and community services. Doylestown Hospital is nationally and regionally recognized for high quality and innovation. The Hospital has 232 beds and a Medical Staff of more than 425 physicians offering comprehensive healthcare services from childbirth to end-of-life care. For more information: www.dh.org.
About Eastburn & Gray:
The tradition of excellence at the law firm of Eastburn & Gray, P.C. began over 130 years ago and continues today. With law offices in Doylestown, Bucks County and Blue Bell, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania our experienced attorneys provide high quality legal services throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. As a full service firm, Eastburn & Gray attorneys practice in many diverse areas of the law, enabling us to effectively meet the needs of all clients. Learn more at www.eastburngray.com.
About Penn Valley Constructors:
Founded in 1933 by George E. Otto and Robert C. Crowell, Penn Valley Constructors, Inc. has been providing its customers with quality and value for nearly eight decades. The tradition continues under the management of Jonathan E. Otto, President and J. Peter Grover, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. As Construction Managers and General Contractors, we specialize in industrial, commercial and institutional construction. Please visit www.pennvall.com for more information.
About the USA Cycling Pro Road Tour:
The USA Cycling Pro Road Tour (PRT) showcases the premier domestic road calendar events in the U.S., including criteriums, road races, stage races and omniums. Over six months and spanning from coast to coast, the PRT will include overall individual and team rankings for men and women, crowning PRT Champions following the 26-event calendar. The Pro Road Tour features the nation¹s top Pro-Am road race events, boasts a total prize purse of more than one million dollars and is open to both professional and amateur cyclists.
About Championship Cycling, Inc.:
Championship Cycling creates and implements international bicycle races and the television productions of them. We specialize in UCI and USA Cycling Pro Road Tour races, ones that require the highest levels of technical expertise and experience.
Image courtesy of Darrel Parks.