The 24-year-old American returned to racing with BMC last week at the Tour of Utah after missing more than 14 months of competition while recovering from a crash at the 2014 US championships. He finished third during the opening stage in Logan. Phinney’s last appearance in Colorado came at the 2012 race, when he won the final individual time trial.
Phinney will be part of a strong BMC roster that also includes Rohan Dennis, who won the opening stage of this year’s Tour de France and wore the maillot jaune for a day. Dennis will be backed in the mountains by Damiano Caruso and Brent Bookwalter, who was third overall in Utah and second on the final day.
US champion Matthew Busche will return to racing for Trek after he was forced to abandon the Tour of Utah following a nasty high-speed downhill crash. While Frank Schleck will head from Utah to the Vuelta a Espana, Julian Arredondo joins the squad in Colorado, along with Laurent Didier and Jesse Sergent.
Roman Krueziger will lead Tinkoff-Saxo after finishing 17th overall at the Tour de France and most recently 13th at Classica San Sebastian. The Czech rider will have Eduard Beltran backing him up, along with Jesus Hernandez.
Utah overall winner Joe Dombrowski is also off to the Vuelta for Cannondale-Garmin, but the US-based team is adding Giro d’Italia stage winner Davide Formolo and Janier Acevedo to pick up the team banner in the mountains. The squad is also fielding Ted King in one of his last US races before he retires.
Kiel Reijnen, winner of the first stage last year in Colorado and the first stage this year in Utah, will headline a revamped UnitedHealthcare squad, which has Janez Brakjovic for the general classification.
Lachlan Norris, who won the final stage in Utah with a dare-devil descent into Park City, will lead the Australian Drapac squad, while Pro Continental team Caja Rural-Seguros RGA will hope to continue the success it established in North America earlier this year.
Michael Woods, who won a stage in Utah and finished second overall, will skip Colorado to target the Tour of Alberta in his home country, but his Optum Pro Cycling Squad has Phil Gaimon for the climbs, Ryan Anderson for the puncheur stages and Utah stage winner Eric Young for the sprints.
Tour of California stage winner Toms Skujins, who wore yellow in the Golden State for three days, will lead the Hincapie Racing roster that also features 2014 Colorado stage winner Robin Carpenter.
Team SmartStop’s Jure Kocjan, who won a stage in Utah and led the race briefly before abandoning, will lead the US team’s roster, while Utah stage winner Logan Owen will be back with an Axeon that includes British climbing prodigie Tao Geoghegan Hart.
Jamis-Hagens Berman brings a mix of Latin American climbers and US rouleurs, along with sprinter Lucas Haedo. Australian climber Lachlan Morton will lead the Jelly Belly-Maxxis team next week.
The seven-day 2.HC race begins Monday in Steamboat Springs and Concludes the following Sunday in Denver.