America’s Race’ Announces Participating Teams
DENVER – Defending champion Levi Leipheimer (USA) and 2011 Tour de France winner Cadel Evans (AUS) have committed to returning to Colorado’s USA Pro Cycling Challenge this August.
Both cyclists will have completed this year’s Tour and competed in the London Olympics.
Also announcing his participation, American George Hincapie, now competing in a record 17th Tour de France, has said the Pro Challenge will be the final race of his illustrious career.
USA Pro Cycling Challenge has announced the names of the 16 teams competing in Colorado’s seven-day stage event, known as “America’s Race.” All teams are either UCI Pro, Pro Continental or Continental teams, according to Shawn Hunter, CEO of the Pro Challenge.
“After the 2011 USA Pro Challenge, we had such an overwhelmingly positive response from the teams that it was difficult to narrow it down to 16 teams for the 2012 edition,” said Hunter. “The USA Pro Challenge is building a reputation for having the highest caliber teams in the world, creating fierce competition in the Colorado Rockies. I can’t wait to see what these teams have in store for us this August.”
Last year, the race featured some of the best athletes in the sport, and 2012 will be no different. Californian Leipheimer, who also won the 2011 Tour de Suisse with his Omega Pharma-QuickStep team, will be returning to defend his title. 2011 Tour de France champion Cadel Evans (AUS) of BMC Racing Team also will be competing here, as well as his teammate and last year’s fifth-place finisher George Hincapie (USA). A three-time national road champion and 10-year teammate of Lance Armstrong on the U.S. Postal Team, Hincapie currently lives in South Carolina.
Colorado resident Tim Duggan (USA) of Liquigas-Cannondale, who took first place in the most recent National Road Race Championships and will be competing in the London Olympics, has committed to participate as well. RadioShack-Nissan-Trek riders Frank Schleck (LUX), third overall in the 2011 Tour de France; Chris Horner (USA), of Bend, Ore., who took first in last year’s Amgen Tour of California, and is racing now on the Tour de France, has committed; and fan-favorite Jens Voigt (GER), who came in sixth overall in last year’s Paris–Nice, will be competing, along with the Slovenia National Time Trial Champion Janez Brajkovic (SLO) from the Astana Pro Team. Full team rosters will be announced closer to the race.
“After winning the Tour de France last year and seeing the enthusiasm of the fans, I didn’t think anything could match it, but then I came to Colorado,” said Evans, who was sitting fourth in the general classification (as of press time) in this year’s Tour. “Seeing the huge crowds along the route supporting us at the USA Pro Challenge was remarkable and really motivated us to do our best,” said Evans. “The course and the mountains were beautiful, but incredibly challenging, and I can’t wait to take them on again. I knew last August that I wanted to return to the race in 2012.”
According to USA Pro Challenge, last year’s race attracted 1 million spectators for the seven-day event. This year’s course covers 683 miles, three 12,000-foot passes, and over 42,000 feet of climbing. Colorado’s altitudes are far higher than anything the racers experience in Europe.
Six of the 16 teams selected are new to the lineup for 2012. Returning for a second year are Bissell Pro Cycling, BMC Racing Team, EPM-UNE, Liquigas-Cannondale, Team Exergy, Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda (formerly Team Garmin-Cervelo), RadioShack-Nissan-Trek, Team SpiderTech powered by C10, Team Type 1-SANOFI, and UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team.
Here is the complete list of teams that will be competing in the 2012 USA Pro Challenge:
• Astana Pro Team (KAZ)
• BMC Racing Team (USA)
• Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda (USA)
• Liquigas-Cannondale (ITA)
• Omega Pharma-QuickStep (BEL)
• RadioShack-Nissan-Trek (LUX)
UCI Professional Continental Teams
• Champion System Pro Cycling Team (CHN)
• RusVelo (RUS)
• Team SpiderTech powered by C10 (CAN)
• Team Type 1-SANOFI (USA)
• UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team (USA)
UCI Continental Teams
• Bissell Pro Cycling (USA)
• Bontrager Livestrong Team (USA)
• EPM-UNE (COL)
• Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies (USA)
• Team Exergy (USA)
More information on each team can be found on the USA Pro Challenge website usaprocyclingchallenge.com/teams