The organisers of the Dodge Tour de Georgia have announced that at least five teams from the UCI's ProTour will be among the total of 15 squads competing in the race, which will be held from April 19-24. With the confirmation that Lance Armstrong will be riding to defend his title at the TdG, his Discovery Channel team will be among the strongest squads. Also confirmed are Swiss team Phonak, Danish squad Team CSC, France's Credit Agricole and Spain's Saunier Duval/Prodir.
Phonak will be led by American Floyd Landis, who hails from Pennsylvania. Landis competed in the first ever Dodge Tour de Georgia in 2003 after recovering from a pelvic fracture sustained in a training ride. Team CSC, ranked second in the 2004 UCI team classification, will bring 2004 Olympic bronze medalist and Nevada resident Bobby Julich, who competed in the 2004 edition of the race. Credit Agricole will feature Dalton, Ga. native Saul Raisin, who laid claim to the Best Young Rider jersey in the 2003 TdG.
"When Credit Agricole told me that we were doing the 2005 Dodge Tour de Georgia I was so excited," said Raisin. "It's rare for me to make trips back home during the racing season, so to come back to race against the world's best in a stage race of this calibre in my home state means a lot. The Dodge Tour de Georgia is the ultimate test of endurance and might in the U.S., and the ProTour teams know it. In 2003 I was the best young rider, and this year I want to be one of the best riders."
California's Chris Horner, the 2003 Dodge Tour de Georgia champion, returns for his third consecutive year and is racing for Saunier Duval/Prodir. "I've been looking forward to coming back to the Dodge Tour de Georgia since it ended last year," said Horner. "The course just gets better and better, and I can tell that this year is no exception. I'm coming with a great team that is expecting me to lead them against the ProTour teams as well as the best domestic teams in the U.S."
An additional ProTeam may still be added to the roster of 15 teams that will battle across the America's Peach State during the six stage, 1050 km event this April.