BMC Racing Team, HTC-Highroad and Team Garmin-Cervélo Bring Top Talent from Successes at Tour de France
Salt Lake City, UT - Fresh from Paris and the Champs-Élysées, a number of noted professional cyclists next eye the Wasatch Front and the Tour of Utah. Race organizers for the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah confirmed team rosters today, including participation by George Hincapie (BMC Racing Team), three-time U.S. Pro Road Race Champion; Tom Danielson (Team Garmin-Cervélo), 9th overall at the 2011 Tour de France; and Levi Leipheimer (Team RadioShack), defending Tour of Utah champion and reigning Tour de Suisse winner. The August 9-14 event, referred to as "America's Toughest Stage Race™", is now a UCI 2.1-sanctioned stage event and will feature five ProTeams.
The final field, available on the official event web site, includes 120 riders representing 20 countries. There are a total of 16 professional teams who accepted invitations to compete in the sixth edition of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, with five of these teams having just competed in the Tour de France. The Tour of Utah covers 409-miles in six days, and will begin Tuesday, August 9 with the Prologue presented by KJZZ-TV and 1320 KFAN at Utah Olympic Park in Park City.
Among the notable professionals in this year's contest are: American David Zabriskie (Team Garmin-Cervélo), winner of a record six U.S. time trial championships; American Christian Vande Velde (Team Garmin-Cervélo), 4th overall at the 2011 Amgen Tour of California; Spaniard Francisco Mancebo (RealCyclist.com), reigning NRC individual points leader and 2009 overall winner of the Tour of Utah; German Robert Förster (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling), an accomplished sprinter with five stage wins in 2011; American Tejay Van Garderen (HTC-Highroad), best young rider at the 2011 Amgen Tour of California; and Spaniard Oscar Sevilla (Gobernación de Antioquia - Indeportes Antioquia), reigning champion of Vuelta a Colombia.
"It is an unbelievable field of international athletes this year, from Grand Tour veterans to National Racing Calendar stars here in the U.S. Spectators are going to be treated to incredible competition, the best we have had in six years of competition. The cream of the crop of Pro Continental and Continental teams will be at the Tour of Utah, providing an opportunity for them to go head to head with the ProTeam squads," said Steve Miller, President of Utah Cycling Partnership, which has owned and operated the Tour of Utah since 2007.
Each domestic and international professional cycling team will compete with a maximum of eight riders per team. The athletes will compete for six days across the mountains, buttes and plateaus of Utah, vying for UCI points, award jerseys and $116,000 in prize money.
ROSTER HIGHLIGHTS FOR EACH TEAM:
The world is very familiar with BMC Racing Team, which returns for its third Tour of Utah fresh off capturing the coveted yellow jersey at this year's Tour de France. Hincapie, who crashed out of the Tour of Utah last year, returns after finishing his 16th Tour de France. He will be joined by fellow Tour de France rider Brent Bookwalter of the U.S., and Utah native Jeff Louder, the 2008 Tour of Utah champion.
Having just captured the Best Team classification at the Tour de France,Team Garmin-Cervélo is stacked with talent for Utah. Americans Danielson, Vande Velde, and Canadian Ryder Hesjedal, all finished in the Top 20 of the Tour de France. Danielson was third overall at the 2011 Amgen Tour of California. Peter Stetina (USA) was the top American at this year's Giro d'Italia, finishing 22nd. Utah native David Zabriskie was injured on Stage 9 of the Tour de France, and has recovered to race the Tour of Utah. He is the only American professional cyclist to have a stage win in each of the three Grand Tours (Italy, France, and Spain).
World No.1- ranked HTC-Highroad returns to the U.S. after six stage victories at the Tour de France. They will bring 10-time U.S. national junior champion Tejay van Garderen, who wore the King of the Mountain (KOM) jersey after Stage 8 at the Tour de France. Van Garderen, who grew up in Montana, finished sixth overall in this year's Amgen Tour of California. He'll be joined by American Danny Pate, who helped position his team to five sprint victories in France, and Hayden Roulston, the 2011 New Zealand 2011 Road National Champion.
Team RadioShack brings a full squad of eight riders in its quest to win a second Larry H. Miller Dealerships yellow jersey, won by Leipheimer last year. The Montana native, who trained for many years in Utah, crashed hard on Stage 6 of the Tour de France and was able to finish 32nd out of 167 riders who finished in Paris. Kiwi George Bennett comes over from the Trek-LIVESTRONG squad to support Leipheimer, having won the G.C. at Tour of Wellington earlier this year and securing the KOM title at Tour de Vineyards (both in New Zealand). American Jason McCartney was the KOM winner at 2006 Tour de Georgia and 2009 Amgen Tour of California.
Liquigas-Cannondale squad features American Ted King, from New Hampshire, who was a bronze medalist at the 2011 USA Cycling Professional Road Race national championship. He'll be joined by Tim Duggan as the first two Americans to race for the Italian team. Duggan, a climber from Colorado, finished third at the 2008 USA Cycling Professional Time Trial Championship.
There are three UCI Professional Continental teams in this year's race. Förster is one of the international stars of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling, the No. 2-rated NRC team. Förster has stage wins at the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España, and finished third this year at the TD Bank Philadelphia International Championship. He'll be joined by Scott Zwizanski of the U.S. and Rory Sutherland of Australia.
Team Type 1- sanofi-aventis brings Russian Vladimir Efimkin, a stage winner from the Vuelta a España and he finished 11th overall at the 2008 Tour de France. He will ride along side his twin brother Alexander Efimkin. The team also brings Rubens Bertogliati, a two-time Swiss national time trial champion.
Team SpiderTech powered by C10, Canada's first Pro Continental team, is currently ranked 5th on the UCI Americas Tour. Among the Americans are Lucas Euser, who won both the KOM and Sprint classifications at this year's Classic Tro Bro Leon in France, and Pat McCarty, who won the KOM classification at the 2011 Amgen Tour of California.
Geox-TMC, a UCI Professional Continental team based in Spain, will showcase Swiss time trial specialist Marcel Wyss, who finished second in his national time trial this year.
Endura Racing, a British UCI Continental team, will bring experienced Grand Tour athletes Iker Camaño Ortuzar of Spain and Paul Voss of Germany. Camaño won the G.C. at this year's Cinturon Ciclista Internacional a Mallorca.
The top-rated NRC team is BISSELL Pro Cycling Team, which will bring two-time U.S. national time trial champion Chris Baldwin as the team leader. Look for 21-year-old climber Chase Pinkham, a native of Salt Lake City, Utah, to vie for both the Miller Lite Best Utah Rider and Subaru Best Young Rider jerseys.
RealCyclist.com Pro Cycling Team has captured four stage race victories this year, including the recent Cascade Cycling Classic. The top rider is Mancebo, the 2009 champion and 2010 runner-up of the Tour of Utah. He has dominated the G.C. at four stage races this year, winning Redlands Bicycle Classic, Sea Otter Classic, Tour of the Gila and Cascade Cycling Classic. The team will also include all-rounder Evan Hyde, who lives in Park City, Utah.
The Jamis/Sutter Home Pro Cycling Team has U.S. time trial specialist Tom Zirbel, who finished second at the USA Cycling Professional Time Trial National Championship this year. He was fourth in the World Time Trial Championships in 2009.
Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth, features sprinter Alex Candelario, from Las Vegas, Nev., who finished second at the USA Cycling Professional Road Race Championship last year, and sixth this year. They also added climber Jason Donald, who won Stage One of the 2008 Tour of Utah racing for Garmin/Chipotle.
Team PureBlack Racing, based in Auckland, New Zealand, features a strong roster of 13 Kiwi riders, which has finished in the Top Three in stages at Redlands Bicycle Classic and Joe Martin Stage Race this year. Roman van Uden scored the first win for Team PureBlack at the downtown criterium in Redlands, Calif. in April.
The Gobernación de Antioquia - Indeportes Antioquia is a UCI Continental team based in Colombia that is directed by former 14-year pro Santiago Botero. His team will feature notable Spanish climber, Oscar Sevilla, who won the Best Young Rider classification at the 2001Tour de France, captured this year's G.C. at the two-week Vuelta a Colombia.
The 2011 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah continues to be free to all spectators, making professional cycling one of the most unique pro sports in the world today. Information about teams, Health and Wellness Expo presented by UnitedHealthcare, national television coverage on FOX Sports Network and the Host Venues can be found by visiting www.tourofutah.com, with updates on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.