Fresh off three national track titles, Valente scores a powerful stage win to start Colorado Classic
(Boise, Idaho) August 10, 2017 — Track specialist Jennifer Valente of Sho-Air TWENTY20 Cycling scored a powerful hometown victory in the opening stage of Colorado Classic in Colorado Springs, showing that last week’s National Track Titles were the perfect tune-up for today’s fast 61km course. Valente sprinted out of the fast charging peloton to win by more than a wheel margin.
“It’s a unique opportunity to have a race of this caliber at home and it was cool to be racing the same roads I train on. The course had some step pitches in it with the QOM and then Mesa Rd. The team did a great job of making sure I made it over those near the front and safe. Going into the finishing circuits there was a lot of reshuffling which continued into the sprint. It was a long way to go being able to see the finish line so having a balance of patience and staying at the front paid off,” said Valente. “Last weekend on the track was the perfect speed work for today.
Valente has spent more time on the road this season, building her endurance speed. With victory in the Andersen Banducci criterium in Boise, Idaho, and a fifth place overall in the Cascade Cycling Classic, Valente has shown versatility and ability to balance the two cycling disciplines of road and track.
“We were working hard to have a hometown win for Jennifer. The team really committed to make it happen. I am so happy for the win today,” said Mari Holden, Sports Director, Sho-Air TWENTY20 Cycling. “This starts this races for the team on good momentum.”
The team’s General Manager Nicola Cranmer believes the teamwork of the group as a whole really gives Valente the confidence to tap her speed in the finale.
“I had no doubt that Jennifer could win the stage today. The climbs were not long enough to break up the race and I knew she was the best sprinter in the field. The team raced well to keep her in position throughout the day,” said Cranmer. “Jennifer can then have the ability to have full faith in her legs to close in the final, and today she did just that.”
Valente sports the leader jersey tomorrow as the race heads to high altitude of Breckenridge. The course featured 5 laps and a rolling terrain, and will look for the climbers to show.
Colorado Classic Roster: Jennifer Valente, Allie Dragoo, Leah Thomas, Steph Roorda, Sofia Arreola, Shayna Powless
About Sho-Air TWENTY20
When the team was formed in 2005, TWENTY12 had a definite goal of taking athletes to the 2012 London Olympics. London resulted in two Olympic medals; gold and silver, the only U.S based road program to achieve this. The team replicated its success with a gold and silver in the Rio 2016 Olympics. Youth cycling is an important component to the program, supporting 14 of the top juniors in the nation ranging in ages 11-18. These young women learn essential skills such as teamwork, sacrifice and commitment, which they can carry over to the workplace if a professional athletic career is not pursued. In 2011, TWENTY16 was the first American team to recruit a Para-Cycling athlete to the roster of a professional squad and is still the only professional team to have an integrated junior program. After the success of TWENTY16 in Rio, the team is now focused on Tokyo 2020 with TWENTY20.
Photo: Brian Hodes/VeloImages