Domestic Intel: Catamount Pro XCT to pay women top purse; four qualify for Nature Valley Pro Chase

Duke, Berden involved in conflict with Boulder police officer over traffic ticket

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Catamount Pro XCT finale to offer higher women’s payout

Organizers of the Specialized Catamount Classic have announced that the Pro XCT mountain bike series finale will offer higher payouts to the elite women than the elite men. The August 3-4 event is new for 2013 and sponsors G-Form and Specialized have backed the prize purse.

“We have been striving to support women in cycling for years and are excited that we can do this on a national stage with the support of companies like G-form and Specialized,” said race promoter Eric Bowker in a press release.

Bowker did not provide specific prize lists, but did write in an email that “the race will offer more prize money for the women (at the same depth) than the men and features the women race as the premier event of the weekend. I don’t believe that this has ever been done before in the Pro XCT Series (or UCI mountain bike event).”

Berden, Duke involved in conflict over traffic ticket

Elite cyclocross racers Ben Berden (Raleigh-Clement) and Nicole Duke (Alchemy) were involved in a conflict with Boulder, Colorado, police last week. The incident stemmed from a traffic ticket written by officer Kathleen O’Toole on Tuesday, May 21. According to the Boulder Daily Camera, O’Toole cited Berden and Duke for riding two-abreast.

“She immediately got out of the car and was irritated already,” Duke was quoted in the Daily Camera story. “She said we were violating ‘single-file law’ and that she was ‘sick of pulling people over for this, somebody has to get a ticket.'”

Colorado law allows cyclists to ride two-abreast so long as they do not impede the “reasonable flow of traffic.” Berden and Duke were riding within the bike lane when contacted by O’Toole. Duke claims that, after she sent an e-mail to O’Toole contesting the ticket, the officer called her at 1 a.m. to confirm that she had misinterpreted the law and would cancel the ticket. A spokesperson for the Boulder Police Department had not spoken with O’Toole and could not comment on the ticket.

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Four riders earn Nature Valley Pro Chase berths

Caroline Moakley, Marcos Lazzarotto, Luciano Pavan, and Kerrin Strevell are the latest riders to earn trips to the Nature Valley Grand Prix in the Nature Valley Pro Chase. The four riders will join the composite Pro Chase team for the June 12-16 National Ranking Calendar event in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Moakley and Lazzarotto qualified via the Tour de Moore on April 27 in North Carolina. Pavan and Strevell qualified with their results from the Sterling Road Race in Massachusetts on May 11.

Riders competing with the Nature Valley team next month will receive travel stipends, lodging, and team support for the five-day race. The Pro Chase program has produced professional riders including recently-crowned U.S. women’s road champion Jade Wilcoxson (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies), who competing with the squad in the 2011 Nature Valley Grand Prix.

“I’ve read about how people who make the team end up getting a contract and since that is my biggest goal,” said Lazzarotto. “I am very excited.”

The six-event Nature Valley Pro Chase closes with the Quad Cities Criterium in Rock Island, Illinois, on May 27.

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