Minneapolis - The Women's Prestige Cycling Series resumes this week when the 24th annual SRAM Tour of the Gila begins Wednesday in Silver City, N.M.

Ina-Yoko Teutenberg (HTC-Columbia) leads the individual and sprint competition but is not among the 75 women registered for the five-day National Racing Calendar event.

However, second-placed individual Katharine Carroll and her Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 teammate, Mara Abbott - who leads the best young rider competition - are part of the field. Abbott won the Tour of the Gila in 2007 and Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12 currently leads the Women's Prestige Cycling Series team competition.

"The SRAM Tour of the Gila is a great addition to the Series," Women's Prestige Cycling Series co-founder David LaPorte said. "Kristin Armstrong's team, Peanut Butter & Co. TWENTY 12, is fielding a very impressive squad, but they'll face tough competition. The event will also get a lot of attention because Lance Armstrong (no relation), known to women's racing fans as 'the other Armstrong', is participating again this year."

Four events in four different states comprise the Women's Prestige Cycling Series. It began at the Redlands Bicycle Classic in March. Still to come are the Nature Valley Grand Prix, June 16-20 (Minnesota) and the Bend Memorial Clinic Cascade Cycling Classic, July 20-25 (Oregon).

The Series awards the top overall individual, best young rider, best sprinter and top team. Clothing manufacturer Champion System provides special jerseys to identify the leaders in the individual classifications.

For more information about the Women's Prestige Cycling Series, visit the official website, www.WomenCyclists.com, or send an e-mail to: [email protected]

About the Women's Prestige Cycling Series
The Women's Prestige Cycling Series was created following input at the 2003 Women's Cycling Summit Conference, hosted at the Nature Valley Grand Prix. The inaugural edition of the Series was held the following year. The goal of the Series is to promote women's racing by giving them a spotlight that they do not have to share with men. The Women's Prestige Cycling Series is considered the heir apparent to the HP International Women's Challenge, a fabled women's stage race that ended its 19-year run in 2003.