Fresh from the Champs-Élysées in Paris and Box Hill in London, a number of noted professional cyclists eye the Wasatch Front to compete in the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah. Race organizers confirmed team rosters today, which include three members of the Team USA road cycling team – Tim Duggan (Liquigas-Cannondale), Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda), and Chris Horner (RadioShack-Nissan-Trek). Other top American riders confirmed are defending two-time Tour of Utah champion Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and seven-time-national-time-trial champion Dave Zabriskie (Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda). The UCI 2.1-sanctioned stage race, which will begin on Tuesday, August 7 in Ogden, will feature athletes from 23 countries this year.
A total of 17 professional teams accepted invitations to compete in the eighth edition of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah. A record seven of those teams also competed at the 99th Tour de France. On Monday, August 6, all teams will be introduced to the public at the KJZZ 14 Team Presentation Ceremony in Ogden at the Ogden City Amphitheater. The next morning at 10:15 a.m., the six-day event kicks off in Ogden with a 131-mile road race, Stage One presented by Zions Bank.
"As the State of Sport, Utah is truly honored and pleased to launch the Tour of Utah again this year. The prestige of this international cycling event is underscored by our breath-taking vistas, and we welcome these world-class athletes and the worldwide audience who appreciate the growing acclaim for this competition," said Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert.
There are a total of 11 Olympians in the field, including seven American riders who have competed in the Olympic Games from 2000 to 2012. At the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, 129 athletes will compete for six days across the mountains, valleys and plateaus of Utah, vying for UCI points, six different award jerseys and $129,000 in total prize money.
“Cycling fans are going to have a real treat this year, seeing so many Grand Tour veterans and Olympians here in Utah. It’s a great opportunity for the rising stars of U.S. cycling to go head to head with the ProTeam squads. We expect large crowds along all the courses and at our host venues from start to finish. And with live broadcasts on FOX Sports Network and online with Tour Tracker this year, the Tour of Utah will be watched by a worldwide audience,” said Steve Miller, President of the Tour of Utah.
Omega Pharma-QuickStep of Belgium makes its Tour of Utah debut in 2012 as the No. 4 ranked team on the UCI WorldTour. The current squad will be led by 2010-11 Tour of Utah champion Leipheimer, a California resident who attended high school in Salt Lake City. Leipheimer won a bronze medal in the time trial at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. He is joined in Utah by Slovakian twin brothers Martin and Peter Velits. Peter finished third overall at the 2010 Vuelta a España and 18th overall at the 2011 Tour de France. Martin won the 2010 time trial championship of Slovakia and is the current national road race champion of his country.
Liquigas-Cannondale of Italy returns for a second year to the Tour of Utah with six riders, this time as the No. 2 team in the world on the UCI WorldTour. The Italian team features Tim Duggan, the current U.S. National Road Race Champion, who finished in the main field (88th position) of the men’s road race at the 2012 London Olympic Games. He also finished 9th overall at the 2011 Tour of Utah. Joining him will be fellow American Ted King, a New Hampshire native, and Italian Valerio Agnoli, who wore the white jersey as the best young rider during the 2010 Giro d'Italia.
BMC Racing Team of the U.S. is currently ranked No. 5 on the UCI WorldTour and returns for its fourth Tour of Utah fresh off the Tour de France. The seven-man roster includes American Brent Bookwalter, a Michigan native who now resides in Ashville, N.C., and was second in the individual time trial at the 2010 Giro d’Italia. Teammate Johan Tchopp of Switzerland has performed well at the Giro d’Italia as well, finishing in the Top 15 in 2011 and 2012.
U.S.-based Team Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda, ranked ninth on the UCI WorldTour, is stacked with talent for Utah. Americans Zabriskie and Farrar are joined by Grand Tour veterans Tom Danielson and Christian Vande Velde. Farrar is fresh off the 2012 London Olympic Games, finishing 33rd overall in the road race on July 28. Both Zabriskie and Vande Velde represented the U.S. at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Vande Velde posted the best finish at the 2011 Tour of Utah for the team at sixth overall. Rounding out the powerhouse team is American climber Peter Stetina, who finished third overall in the best young rider category at the 2011 Giro d’Italia.
Rabobank Cycling Team of the Netherlands, ranked 14th on the UCI WorldTour, makes its Tour of Utah debut in 2012. The squad brings seven Dutch riders and 21-year-old Wilco Kelderman, who won the Best Young Rider classification at the 2012 Amgen Tour of California and was eighth overall at the Critérium du Dauphiné. Also coming to America’s Toughest Stage Race is Australian Michael Matthews, who won the UCI Under-23 World Road Race Championship in 2010. Dutchman Steven Kruijswijk finished eighth overall at the 2011 Giro d’Italia.
RadioShack-Nissan-Trek brings a full squad to Utah as the No. 7-ranked team on the UCI WorldTour. This Luxembourg-based team will be represented by Tour de France standouts Chris Horner and Jens Voigt. Horner represented the U.S. at the London Olympic Games for the first time and was the 2011 Amgen Tour of California champion. Voigt, a three-time Olympian from Germany, took a stage win at this year’s Giro d' Italia. Also look for Americans Matthew Busche and Benjamin King, both past U.S. National Road Race champions.
There are five UCI Professional Continental teams in this year’s race, representing the Netherlands, China, Canada, Germany and the U.S. Team Argos-Shimano of the Netherlands makes its first appearance at the Tour of Utah, bringing seven riders from Europe. The Dutch squad is led by German Patrick Gretsch, a 2011 Tour of Utah veteran with HTC-Columbia, who has top 10 Grand Tour stage finishes to his name including a seventh-place finish in the 2012 Tour de France prologue.
Based in China, Champion System Pro Cycling Team makes its Tour of Utah debut and is the first Asian Professional Continental team. The team includes two Americans known for climbing - Craig Lewis, a Stage 2 winner at the Tour de Beauce in June, and Chris Butler, formerly of the BMC Racing Team and a multi-time collegiate road national champion. Utah’s Burke Swindlehurst serves as the team’s assistant director sportif.
Another newcomer to Utah is Team NetApp of Germany. This young German team, in only its second year as a Professional Continental squad, made its first Grand Tour appearance earlier in the year at the 2012 Giro d’Italia. Some of the top riders who are expected to race in Utah include Marcel Wyss of Switzerland and young climbing sensation Leopold König of the Czech Republic. Matthias Brandle of Austria comes to Utah with several 2012 Giro d’Italia top-10 stage finishes.
Team SpiderTech powered by C10 is Canada’s first Professional Continental cycling team and makes its second appearance at the Tour of Utah. The squad includes American Lucas Euser, who finished in 10th overall at the 2011 Tour of Utah. Canadian teammate Hugo Houle placed third overall this year at Tour de Beauce. Joining Euser and Houle is former Canadian National Road champion Will Routley and three-time Danish national time trial champion Brian Vandborg.
UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team is currently ranked fifth on the UCI America Tour Ranking. Based in California since 2002, this U.S. team enters its second year as a Pro Continental squad, and races for a fifth time in Utah. Joining the team for 2012 is Salt Lake City’s own Jeff Louder, the overall winner at the 2008 Tour of Utah. Along with Louder, the team includes German sprinter Robert Förster, a three-time stage winner at the Giro d’Italia, 2008 Olympian Philip Deignan of Ireland and Australian all-rounder Rory Sutherland, who is currently ranked second in the National Racing Calendar individual standings.
EPM-UNE of Colombia is another 2012 newcomer to the Tour of Utah. This all-Colombian squad finished as the top team on the UCI America Tour last year and is currently seventh on the UCI America Tour. The team started 2012 by winning the Vuelta Independencia Nacional. Two riders who finished in the top three of the Under 23 competition in that race will be in Utah, Eduard Beltran and Javier Gomez. Rafael Abreu Infantio finished on the podium in one stage and sixth overall at 2011’s USA Pro Cycling Challenge.
The top-ranked men’s team on the National Racing Calendar for USA Cycling is the Competitive Cyclist Racing Team. It is one of five Pro Continental American teams in this year’s Tour of Utah. Racing last year as the RealCyclist.com Professional Cycling Team, the team continues to be led by 2009 Tour of Utah champion Francisco Mancebo of Spain. Coming off the overall win at the 2012 Cascade Classic in July, he also leads in the individual rankings on the NRC. He is supported by American all-rounder Chad Beyer and Dutch climber Thomas Rabou.
Bissell Pro Cycling makes its fifth consecutive appearance in the Tour of Utah. Having finished as the top team on the NRC in 2011, this UCI Continental team currently sits in third place. Bissell features USA National Criterium Champion Eric Young.
Another team returning to Utah is Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies, making its fourth consecutive appearance. The team is led by Americans Jesse Anthony, Andrew Bajadali, and Scott Zwizanski, the team currently sits second overall on the NRC team standings. Anthony won last year’s Stage One of the Tour of Utah in Ogden. Hometown pro Reid Mumford of Salt Lake City rounds out a roster of seven Americans and one Canadian for Tour of Utah.
Team Exergy makes its Tour of Utah debut in 2012. The team is led by Giro d’Italia stage winner and 2000 U.S. OIympian Fred Rodriguez. The team will also feature Americans Matt Cooke and Morgan Schmitt.
Composed entirely of American athletes under the age of 23 is the Bontrager Livestrong Cycling Team. Previously competing as Trek-Livestrong, it placed third in the team classification in the 2010 Tour of Utah. In 2012 racing, Ian Boswell took second at the Under-23 Liege Bastogne Liege event and teammate Joe Dombrowski won the 2012 Girobio, or “Baby Giro.” Also racing for the team is Salt Lake City resident Connor O’Leary.
The 2012 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah showcases 17 professional teams, including seven teams from the Tour de France, which will compete over 545 miles of racing in six consecutive days this August. This year’s overall start will be in Ogden and other host venues include Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, downtown Salt Lake City, Park City, University of Utah Research Park in Salt Lake City, Park City, Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort and Lehi in Utah County. The event continues to be free to all spectators, making professional cycling one of the most unique pro sports in the world today. More information about the Tour, pro teams, Experience Packages, Ultimate Challenge and Tour partners can be found by visiting www.tourofutah.com. Updates are also provided on Facebook (Tour of Utah) and Twitter (@thetourofutah).