The USA Pro Challenge today announced the 16 teams which will contest the third edition of the seven-day stage race, taking place August 19-25 in Colorado. Seven ProTeams have been invited to the UCI 2.HC-ranked event, including Team Sky which will be making its USA Pro Challenge debut. BMC Racing Team, Team Garmin-Sharp, Cannondale Pro Cycling and RadioShack Leopard each return for the third time while the ProTeam selection is rounded out by Argos-Shimano and Saxo-Tinkoff Bank, each making their second start in Colorado.
Four UCI Pro Continental teams will compete in Colorado with Team Novo Nordisk and UnitedHealthCare Pro Cycling each returning for the third time. Champion System Pro Cycling Team makes its second straight start in Colorado while the Colombia squad makes its USA Pro Challenge debut this August.
The USA Pro Challenge peloton is rounded out by five UCI Continental teams: Bissell Pro Cycling, Bontrager Cycling Team, Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies, Jelly Belly p/b Kenda and Jamis-Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home. Four of the five Continental squads are making return appearances in Colorado with Bissell the only team to make its third start while Jamis-Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home makes its USA Pro Challenge debut.
"After featuring an impressive lineup of teams and riders for the first two editions of the USA Pro Challenge, the 2013 race will host the most competitive field yet," said Shawn Hunter, CEO of the Pro Challenge. "Interest from teams continues to grow year after year, making the selection of these 16 even more difficult, but we looked at the stats and listened to the fans, and have put together a field that is going to keep things interesting down to the last minute of racing in Denver."
While Team Sky hasn't confirmed their roster yet, the British team features a pair of young Americans in their first year at the WorldTour level, Joe Dombrowski and Ian Boswell. At the 2012 USA Pro Challenge Dombrowski won the best young rider classification and finished 10th overall while part of the Bontrager Livestrong Team.
"We're really looking forward to the USA Pro Challenge," said Carsten Jeppesen, head of technical operations for Sky Procycling. "It's a great race that has everything. With climbing, sprints and a time trial, as well as good crowds, it's a mini-Tour – the kind of race we really like. We'll certainly bring a strong team and there are some strong young American riders in Joe [Dombrowski] and Ian [Boswell] who would love to be there in front of their home crowd. It's only our second race in the U.S. and we aim to put on a good show."
"We always look forward to racing in the USA Pro Challenge every year," said Jim Ochowicz, general manager of BMC Racing. BMC's Tejay van Garderen finished second overall in 2012, held the yellow jersey, plus won a stage. "It tests our team's resources in the mountains of Colorado, which are famous in the world of cycling for their difficult ascents and descents. It comes at a great time in the season when most racers are in peak condition and eager to test their legs. The BMC Racing Team is ready to challenge for the overall race lead each and every day."
2013 USA Pro Challenge teams:
BMC Racing Team (USA)
Cannondale Pro Cycling (Ita)
RadioShack Leopard (Lux)
Sky Procycling (GBr)
Team Argos-Shimano (Ned)
Team Garmin-Sharp (USA)
Team Saxo-Tinkoff (Den)
UCI Professional Continental Teams
Champion System Pro Cycling Team (Chn)
UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team (USA)
Team Novo Nordisk (USA)
UCI Continental Teams
Bissell Pro Cycling (USA)
Bontrager Cycling Team (USA)
Optum Presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies (USA)
Jelly Belly p/b Kenda (USA)
Jamis-Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home (USA)