Minneapolis - Multi-time world road and track champion Marion Clignet will coach the Nature Valley Pro Ride men's team at the Nature Valley Grand Prix. She and women's team coach Michael Engleman will conduct a five-day camp for their squads before they compete in the Nature Valley Grand Prix, the top-ranked race on the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar.
Clignet won a world title in the team time trial (1991), the individual pursuit (1994, 1996 and 1999) and the points race (1999 and 2000) and was an Olympic silver medalist in the individual pursuit in 1996 and 2000. Following her retirement from competition, the dual American-French citizen became the first woman to coach a men's professional team (Bbox-Bouygues Telecom).
"I was always told I'd never make it because I was too heavy at first and then because I had epilepsy," she said. "So I had a few points to prove as I worked my way up the ranks. I'll be able to answer questions the guys might have on racing in Europe, training, and pushing themselves to the limit, which has always brought me great pleasure! If nothing else, I think they'll be psyched and ready to perform."
The Nature Valley Pro Ride is cycling's version of "American Idol." The top amateur men and women selected at six qualifier races across the country are invited to join the Nature Valley Cycling Team. Besides the camp, Nature Valley Pro Riders earn free entry into the Nature Valley Grand Prix, generous travel stipends, team clothing, housing, ground transportation, and staff support for their composite teams. They will also receive pro-level recognition before, during and after the events, including pre-race call-ups and participation in promotional and media appearances.
Clignet said there are a number of benefits to conducting a training camp before the Nature Valley Grand Prix, June 15-19. The camp will begin in Menomonie, Wis., site of the fifth stage of the Nature Valley Grand Prix. Riders and staff will then move to the Twin Cities as they ramp up for the competition.
"The main benefit is for all of us to get to know each other and the second is to pre-ride courses and have a smooth build up to the race," she said. "We'll also do a few team-building exercises so there will be something fun, too."
More details on the qualifying process can be found at: www.NatureValleyProRide.com.
Photo by CorVos