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BOISE -- For five days in May 2012, Idaho's brand-new Exergy Tour will welcome more than a hundred of the world s top female cyclists to compete for the biggest cash prize in professional women's cycling.

Here, 17 teams of professional cyclists will race for a combined cash purse of $100,000.

The inaugural race takes place May 24th through the 28th across Southwest Idaho. During the race, cyclists will visit five host cities and ride through diverse terrain from urban landscapes, to desert canyons, to steep mountain climbs. The tour boasts a 2.1 designation by the International Cycling Union (UCI).

The prestigious ranking puts this event on par with professional events like the women's Tour of Italy, and also allows professional competitors to compete for international ranking points in order to qualify for the upcoming London Olympics in July.

Top competitors include reigning world champion, Giorgia Bronzini from Italy, Olympic time trial champion Kristin Armstrong from Boise, 2008 Olympic road race gold medalist Nicole Cooke from Great Britain, along with many more.

The seventeen teams include:

*Exergy Twenty12 (USA)

*Team Tibco - To The Top (USA)

*Now and Novartis for MS (USA)

*Team Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies (USA)

*Colavita/espnW Pro Cycling (USA)

*Canadian National Team

*Diadora Pasta Zara (Italy)

*Faren Honda (Italy)

*Forno D Asolo Colavita (Italy)

*Specialized lululemon (Germany)

*ABUS Nutrixxion (Germany)

*Sengers Ladies Cycling Team (Belgium)

*Topsport Vlaanderen Ridley 2012 (Belgium)

*Dolmans Boels Cycling Team (Netherlands)

*GreenEdge AIS (Australia)

*Ukraine National Team

Heather Hill, Exergy 2012 Tour Marketing, Race, and Events Coordinator noted that many of the top cyclists racing on the tour will be featured in the upcoming Olympic Games in London in July. The competition level will rival the classic European races and set a new standard for the highest level of ladies professional bike racing in North America, Hill told KTVB.

Hill also said that race details and current team rosters are constantly updated on the official website of the Exergy 2012 Tour.

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