Women's Challenge

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The peloton in 1998, at the start
of the Boise to Idaho City stage
GalenaSummit is located in United States
GalenaSummit
Galena
Summit
Location in the United States
Galena Summit is located in Idaho
Galena Summit
Galena Summit
Location in Idaho

The Women's Challenge bicycle race (originally known as the Ore-Ida Women's Challenge, after its leading sponsor of "Ore-Ida" brand frozen potato products) was held annually in and around southern Idaho, beginning in 1984 until its demise in 2002. Later primary sponsors were PowerBar and Hewlett-Packard.[1]

During much of its 19-year history, it was the most prestigious women's cycle race in North America. From 1995, when it first obtained sanctioning from the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the international governing body for cycling, it developed into one of the strongest races in the world, attracting numerous World and Olympic Champions. Prior to that, in 1990, the UCI had refused to sanction the event, citing as their reason the "excessive climbing, stage distances, number of stages, and duration of event".

The following year (1991) marked the debut on the international scene of a team representing Lithuania,[2] which had just recently declared its independence and was still awaiting recognition as a country.

The race, which was run almost entirely by volunteers, set a very high standard in terms of technical administration and conduct of the race itself. Jim Rabdau, the race founder, served as chief organizer of the race throughout its entire history.

By the late 1990s, the race was able to attract sufficient sponsorship money to offer the richest prize fund ever in women's cycling and, for a while, was the richest prize fund race in North America, men's or women's. At its peak, it offered $125,000 in prizes.

However, cuts in sponsorship forced a reduction in prize money to $75,000 in its last year (2002) and no title sponsor could be found to replace the outgoing sponsor for the following year, forcing the cancellation of the race. Race organizers cited a downturn in the economy as the reason.

One of the stages crested Galena Summit at 8,701 feet (2,652 m) above sea level on Highway 75, the Northwest's highest highway pass.[2][3]

Women's Challenge Past Winners[edit]

Year 1st Place 2nd Place 3rd Place
1984 Rebecca Twigg (USA) Cindy Olavetti (USA) Inga Thompson (USA)
1985 Rebecca Twigg (USA) Inga Thompson (USA) Sally Kittredge (USA)
1986 Rebecca Twigg (USA) Madonna Harris (NZL) Susan Ehlers (USA)
1987 Inga Thompson (USA) Katrin Tobin (USA) Susan Ehlers (USA)
1988 Katrin Tobin (USA) Jane Marshall (USA) Sara Neil (CAN)
1989 Lisa Brambani (GBR) Ruthie Matthes (USA) Jane Marshall (USA)
1990 Inga Thompson (USA) Ruthie Matthes (USA) Lisa Brambani (GBR)
1991 Jeannie Longo (FRA) Dede Demet (USA) Diana Cepeliene (LTU)
1992 Eve Stephenson (USA) Inga Thompson (USA) Jeanne Golay (USA)
1993 Jeanne Golay (USA) Eve Stephenson (USA) Karen Kurreck (USA)
1994 Clara Hughes (CAN) Anne Samplonius (CAN) Karen Kurreck (USA)
1995 Dede Demet (USA) Jeanne Golay (USA) Mari Holden (USA)
1996 Anna Wilson (AUS) Clara Hughes (CAN) Dede Demet (USA)
1997 Rasa Polikevičiūtė (LTU) Linda Jackson (CAN) Zulfiya Zabirova (RUS)
1998 Linda Jackson (CAN) Valentina Polkhanova (RUS) Diana Žiliūtė (LTU)
1999 Jeannie Longo (FRA) Mari Holden (USA) Zulfiya Zabirova (RUS)
2000 Anna Wilson (AUS) Diana Žiliūtė (LTU) Sarah Ulmer (NZL)
2001 Lyne Bessette (CAN) Judith Arndt (GER) Rasa Polikevičiūtė (LTU)
2002 Judith Arndt (GER) Genevieve Jeanson (CAN) Kim Bruckner (USA)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Women’s Challenge canceled". Velo News. January 27, 2003. Retrieved October 12, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Lithuanians win at Ore-Ida". Idahonian (Moscow). Associated Press. June 25, 1991. p. 8A. 
  3. ^ "Twigg leads Idaho bicycle race". Deseret News (Salt Lake City). Associated Press. July 11, 1985. p. 6D. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°52′12″N 114°42′47″W / 43.870°N 114.713°W / 43.870; -114.713