DENVER, Aug. 2, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- USA Pro Cycling Challenge today announced that all three Tour de France podium placers are set to be at the starting line for the inaugural race, August 22-28. In a move that is unprecedented in US cycling history, this stellar line-up, fresh off the Tour de France, will compete against each other next here on American soil.
In addition, the top American finisher, Tom Danielson is confirmed to compete along with two-time Giro d'Italia winner Ivan Basso of Italy. "The confirmed participation of the sport's premiere athletes is a monumental achievement for the event in its first year," said Sean Petty, Chief Operating Officer for USA Cycling. "It shows the interest and intrigue in what will prove to be an epic battle through the Colorado Rockies."
"Our goal is to assemble one of the best competitive fields an American professional stage race has ever seen," said Shawn Hunter, co-chairman of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. "This is a great moment of truth for the sport in America and for our race. To have secured such an incredible lineup of teams along with the greatest riders in the world is a credit to what the owners have committed to do in the event's inaugural year."
Australian Cadel Evans, who races for UCI ProTeam BMC Racing Team (USA), began his career as a champion mountain biker and prior to focusing on road cycling won two World Cup titles in addition to placing seventh in the men's mountain bike cross-country race at the 2000 Olympic Games. Evans completed the Tour de France in just over 86 hours and was followed closely by brothers and Leopard Trek (Luxembourg) teammates Andy and Frank Schleck, who both finished within two and a half minutes of him. All three riders also finished in the top five in the hunt for the King of the Mountains jersey, defining a skill that will prove instrumental as the diverse terrain of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge ascends more than two miles in elevation through the Rocky Mountains.
"I've heard good things about the race in Colorado and I know it won't be easy. But I'm up for one more challenge," said Evans.
Boulder, Colorado native Danielson, who races for Tour de France team champion Garmin-Cervelo (USA), will look to become the home-state hero of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge following his ninth place finish at this year's Tour de France. He will be challenged by Ivan Basso of Liquigas-Cannondale (Italy), who emerged as the best of the field in the 2006 and 2010 editions of the Giro d'Italia.
Also joining BMC Racing Team, Leopard Trek, Garmin-Cervelo and of Liquigas-Cannondale in next month's race are fellow UCI Pro Teams HTC-Highroad (USA), Rabobank Cycling Team (Netherlands), Saxo Bank-SunGard (Denmark) and Team RadioShack (USA). UCI Professional Continental Teams UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team (USA), Team Type 1-sanofi aventis (USA), Skil-Shimano (Netherlands), and Team Spidertech Powered by C10 (Canada) are also set to compete along with UCI Continental Teams Jelly Belly Cycling (USA), Bissell Cycling (USA), Team Exergy (USA), EPM-UNE (Columbia) and Gobernacion (Columbia).
Participating cyclists for each team will be announced as rosters are finalized this week.
About the USA Pro Cycling Challenge
The USA Pro Cycling Challenge is expected to be the largest spectator event in Colorado history and one of the largest sporting events to ever take place in the United States. For seven consecutive days, 136 of the world's top athletes will race across 518 miles through the majestic Rockies, reaching higher altitudes than they've ever had to endure, more than two miles in elevation. It's the best of the best in professional cycling, competing on a challenging course through some of America's most beautiful scenery, including cities such as Aspen, Vail, Breckenridge and Steamboat Springs.
Referred to as "America's Race" the inaugural USA Pro Cycling Challenge will take place August 22-28, 2011. With more than one million spectators expected at the event, as well as national television exposure on NBC and VERSUS, the USA Pro Cycling Challenge will be one of the largest cycling events in United States history.
Spectators of this race will see Olympians, World Champions and Tour de France competitors. Fans worldwide will have access to the competition and riders like never before with the most advanced, interactive online, smartphone and broadcast television experience presented to date in professional cycling.
More information can be found on the website www.USAprocyclingchallenge.com and Twitter page @USAProChallenge.
SOURCE USA Pro Cycling Challenge