With the 100th edition of the Tour de France in the books, attention in the world of professional cycling shifts to North America and Utah’s scenic red rock country. Organizers of the 2013 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah today confirmed a stellar cast of 126 professional cyclists from around the globe will be racing the 586-mile course. A total of 16 professional teams will line up to contest “America’s Toughest Stage RaceTM”, bringing athletes from 32 different countries.
Some of the top athletes from ProTeams include fan-favorites Jens Voigt (Germany) and Chris Horner (USA) of RADIOSHACK LEOPARD TREK; Christian Vande Velde (USA), Dave Zabriskie (USA) and Ryder Hesjedal (Canada) of Team Garmin-Sharp; Michael Schaer (Switzerland) of BMC Racing Team; as well as Baden Cooke (Australia) and Michael Matthews (Australia) of Orica GreenEDGE.
Starting August 6 at Brian Head and finishing on August 11 in Park City, the UCI 2.1-sanctioned stage race boasts an all-star field of Olympians, national champions and Grand Tour stage winners. There are a total of 16 Olympians on race rosters this year, representing 11 countries. Three teams – Team Garmin-Sharp, ORICA-GreenEDGE and RADIOSHACK LEOPARD TREK each have four Olympic athletes.
“An accomplished group of riders with impressive racing credentials will be competing in the Tour of Utah this year. In our ninth year, we have attracted our largest field of international athletes, representing 32 countries. Spectators can enjoy world-class competition from southern Utah to the Wasatch Front,” said Steve Miller, president of Miller Sports Properties, which organizes the Tour of Utah.
Former Tour of Utah champions Jeff Louder (USA) of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling and Francisco Mancebo (Spain) of 5-hour ENERGY presented by Kenda Racing Team are back again to tackle the 43,621 feet of vertical gain in the race. They are joined by past stage winners from the Tour of Utah – American Jesse Anthony (2011 stage) of Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies and Colombian Janier Acevedo Calle (2011 stage) of Team Jamis–Hagens Berman pb Sutter Home, and Jake Keough (2012 stage) of UnitedHeathcare Pro Cycling.
Among the crew of youngsters in the field include two Utahns with the Bontrager Cycling Team, reigning U23 U.S. National Road Race Champion Tanner Putt of Park City and Connor O’Leary of Salt Lake City, who finished sixth in the U23 road race nationals. Others with connections to Utah in the field include two riders on Team Jamis – Hagens Berman – Jamey Driscoll of Park City and former Salt Lake City resident Tyler Wren.
The 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. Fans can follow the race live each day with mobile applications from Tour Tracker® powered by Adobe®, as well as live coverage each day on FOX Sports Network (ROOT Sports and KJZZ in Utah viewing areas). Prior to the race start, the teams will be introduced Monday, August 5 at the Team Presentation Ceremony. This event is free for spectators at Southern Utah University’s Adams Theatre in Cedar City from 3-5 p.m.
ROSTER HIGHLIGHTS FOR TEAMS COMPETING AT THE 2013 LARRY H. MILLER TOUR OF UTAH:
BMC Racing Team returns to the Tour of Utah for its fifth appearance in the race. BMC is the 10th ranked team on the UCI WorldTour and will bring three Olympians – Shaer, the 2013 Swiss National Road Race champion (2004 and 2008 Olympics) , Stephen Cummings of Great Britain (2012 Olympics), and Greg Van Avermaet of Belgium (2012 Olympics). Also on the roster is Julien Taramarcaz, two-time National Championship Cyclo-cross champion of Switzerland (2012-13).
Team Garmin-Sharp will return for a fourth year with Utah native Dave Zabriskie, the five-time U.S. Professional Time Trial champion and Grand Tour veteran. Canadian Ryder Hesjedal is the 2012 Giro d’Italia champion. The team brings to other athletes who raced this year at the Tour de France – Canadian Ryder Hesjedal, the 2012 Giro d’Italia champion, and Americans Christian Vande Velde and Tom Danielson. Vande Velde has recovered from two crashes at this year’s Tour de France, which caused him to withdraw after Stage 7. Garmin-Sharp is currently ranked No. 8 on the UCI WorldTour.
RADIOSHACK LEOPARD TREK is the No. 7-ranked team in the world, and brings 15-time Tour de France veteran Voigt for a return to Utah. He and Horner will be supported by American’s Matthew Busche and Ben King as they seek to give the Luxemburg-based team some results in this stage race. Hayden Roulston of New Zealand won a silver medal in the men’s 4,000 Individual Pursuit and a bronze medal in the men’s 4,000 Team Pursuit at the 2008 Olympic Games.
Cannondale Pro Cycling will be back in the Tour of Utah for the third year. American favorite Ted King – eager to race after a disappointing Tour de France – will be easy to spot in the team’s green kits. Cannondale, based in Italy, is currently the No. 11 team on the WorldTour standings.
On the heels of its performance at the Tour de France, ORICA-GreenEDGE makes its first appearance in Utah. The Australian squad will be paced by Aussie Matthews, the 2010 World Road Race champion, who captured a stage victory during the 2011 Tour of Utah when he raced for Rabobank. The team also features Aussie Baden Cooke, who captured the green Points Classification jersey at the 2003 Tour de France. In the 2012 Olympic Games, Australian Michael Hepburn won a silver medal in the Team Pursuit and New Zealander Sam Bewley won a bronze medal in the Team Pursuit.
UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team makes its sixth appearance in the Tour of Utah. In addition to Louder, the Team will feature Lucas Euser (USA), eighth overall in the 2012 Tour of Utah, and Philip Deignan (Ireland), ninth overall in 2009 Vuelta Espana. As a top UCI Pro Continental team, UHC is ranked No. 3 in the UCI America Tour standings.
Champion System Pro Cycling Team will make its second appearance at the Tour of Utah. The China-based team will send American’s Chad Beyer, Craig Lewis and Chris Butler to the race, as well as Canadian National Champion Ryan Roth. Champion System is Asia’s first UCI Pro Continental team.
South African team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung is ranked No. 1 in the UCI Africa Tour and No. 14 on the UCI Asia Tour. It is the first-ever UCI-registered Pro Continental team from the African continent. Italian Kristian Sbaragli is one to watch with this young team. The team also brings Tsgabu Grmay of Ethiopia, who was second overall at the2013 Tour of Taiwan.
No stranger to the Tour of Utah, “Paco” Mancebo won the stage race in 2009. His 5-hour ENERGY p/b Kenda Racing Team is currently the No. 2 team on the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar (NRC). Mancebo, who just secured the top spot on the National Racing Calendar for a third consecutive year, should attack often in the mountains with support from Taylor Sheldon (USA), Nate English (USA) and new team member Andres Diaz of Colombia.
BISSELL Pro Cycling makes its sixth Tour of Utah appearance and brings strongman Phil Gaimon (USA), who finished second overall of the 2013 Tour of the Gila. He is flanked by Americans Jason McCartney, Chris Baldwin and New Zealander Jeremy Vennell, who won the overall Most Aggressive Rider at the 2012 Amgen Tour of California. BISSELL is No. 6 in the NRC standings and the No. 11 team on the UCI America Tour.
The Bontrager Cycling Team is a U23 development team that features a pair of talented Utah riders, Putt and O’Leary. They are joined by fellow American Nathan Brown, who finished second, behind Putt, in the2013 U23 Road Race Nationals. Ranked No. 7 on the UCI America Tour, the entire team should contest every day for the Subaru Best Young Rider classification jersey.
Jamis-Hagens Berman, ranked No. 3 on the NRC, is back in Utah after a year away from the race. Utah resident Driscoll is a cyclocross star and will try to establish himself as a stage racer. Juan Jose Haedo (Argentina) should contest for the XO Communications Sprint points jersey and Acevedo will chase for the Ski Utah KOM points all week.
One of the most powerful teams in America, Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefits Strategies is running away with the NRC team competition. Former Tour of Utah stage winner Anthony finished second this year in the Philly Cycling Classic. He will be joined by Chad Haga (USA), who won the G.C. of the Joe Martin Stage Race and finished second overall at the Redlands Bicycle Classic this year.
Led by USA Cycling National Road Race champion Freddy Rodriguez, Jelly Belly Cycling p/b Kenda returns to Utah after a two-year absence. Alex Hagman (USA) and Serghei Tvetcov (Moldova) add more weapons to the Jelly Belly arsenal. Tvetcov earned the overall victory at the Cascade Cycling Classic in Oregon earlier this month. The team is ranked No. 5 on the NRC.
The top-rated team in the UCI America Tour is Funvic Brasilinvest-São José dos Campos. A first-time appearance at the Tour of Utahbrings a talented of racers to Utah from Brazil. Led by 2012 Brazilian National Road Champion Otavio Bulgarelli and 2013 Copa América de Ciclismo champion Francisco Chamorro of Argentina. The squad seeks to carry on the legacy of South American teams creating exciting races at the Tour of Utah.
Hincapie Sportswear Development Team will be showing that age is just a number in many ways. The youngsters are the No. 4-rated NRC team, led by Joey Rosskopf (USA), currently ranked No. 3 on the NRC individual points list. This year he has a win at the two-day Paris Arras in Europe and second overall at the six-day Cascade Cycling Classic in Oregon. Teammate Tyler Magner won the 2013 National U23 Criterium championship.