Taking place August 20-26, 2012, on the heels of the Tour de France and the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, the 2012 USA Pro Challenge will feature 16 of the world’s best professional cycling teams. Comprised of UCI Pro, Pro Continental and Continental teams, the race will include some of the top talent in the sport, including Cadel Evans and Levi Leipheimer. After featuring an impressive lineup of teams and riders for the inaugural race in 2011, including the full Tour de France podium for the first time in the history of a U.S. race, the 2012 edition will host a similarly competitive field.
“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 Shawn Hunter, CEO of the Pro Challenge. “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. After taking first place in the 2011 USA Pro Challenge and the Tour de Suisse, Levi Leipheimer (USA) of Omega Pharma-QuickStep will be returning to the seven-day stage race to defend his title. 2011 Tour de France champion Cadel Evans (AUS) of BMC Racing Team also will be competing in the race, as well as his teammate and last year’s fifth place finisher George Hincapie (USA). A former three-time national road champion who is currently participating in a record 17th Tour de France, Hincapie will cap off his professional cycling career with the 2012 USA Pro Challenge.
Additionally, Colorado resident Tim Duggan (USA) of Liquigas-Cannondale, who just recently took first in the 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), who took first last year in the Amgen Tour of California; and fan-favorite Jens Voigt (GER) who came in sixth overall in last year’s Paris–Nice will be competing, as well as the Slovenia National Time Trial Champion Janez Brajkovic (SLO) from Astana Pro Team. The 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. Seeing the huge crowds that were 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.”
Following 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)
With six new teams added to the lineup for the 2012 race, 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.