Medalist Sports announced the 15 teams which will contest this year's edition of the Tour de Georgia on Thursday. A total of 120 riders will make up the field with five ProTour teams, two Professional Continental squads, and six Continental outfits with eight riders each.
ProTour teams Astana, Saunier Duval-Scott, Team CSC, Team High Road, and Gerolsteiner will be joined by Pro Conti teams BMC and Slipstream/Chipotle presented by H30 as well as domestic professional squads Bissell, Health Net - Maxxis, Jelly Belly, Jittery Joe's, Symmetrics, Team Type 1, Toyota-United Pro and the Chinese registered GE/Marco Polo- Trek team.
"This is not only the most international field we have had at Georgia, but one of the most elite as well," said Jim Birrell, managing partner of Medalist Sports and race director for the Tour de Georgia presented by AT&T. The competition for the invitations was tight this year, and Birrell admitted, "We have many teams from across the U.S. and Europe that we just could not accommodate."
This year's addition of a team time trial stage to the event has drawn interest in the race from squads which will be looking to hone their skills in that discipline ahead of the Giro d'Italia, which opens with a team time trial this year. "We will be bringing our 'A' team to the Tour de Georgia," said Slipstream's David Millar. "The team time trial will give us a unique opportunity to showcase the depth of our squad. I am now on an American team and it will be great to race against top European races here."
The Symmetrics Cycling Team of Canada, winners of the UCI Americas Tour in 2007, will be led by Svein Tuft, and will be looking for a good showing after being left off the invitations for the Tour of California. Also looking for a strong showing against the high caliber field will be Tour de Taiwan winner HealthNet - Maxxis, who placed second to the Discovery Channel in the team classification at the 2007 Tour de Georgia.
Team Type 1 (USA) will make its debut on American soil at this year's Tour de Georgia. In its first professional outing of 2008 at the Tour de Langkawi, the team placed second overall. Australians Matt Wilson, a former National Road Champion, and Glen Chadwick, along with American Jesse Anthony lead this squad.