By Mark Zalewski
With the fifteen teams announced for the 2006 race, speculation quickly turned to which riders the teams would present on April 17 in Augusta, particularly the ProTour teams. Monday the preliminary 8-man line-ups were revealed with the current number one ProTour rider, Floyd Landis leading the way for his Phonak squad. Joining the Tour of California and Paris-Nice champion is the winner of last year's first stage, South African sprinter Robbie Hunter.
2005 champion Tom Danielson (Discovery Channel) will have veteran Viatcheslav Ekimov, 2005 best young rider Trent Lowe and 2004 stage winner Jason McCartney assisting his defence. Sixteen time Tour de France stage winner Robbie McEwen leads a fast Davitamon-Lotto squad consisting of American Freddie Rodriguez and former Tour de Georgia stage winner Henk Vogels. CSC brings most of the usual State-side squad led by American David Zabriskie, but without Bobby Julich.
Quickstep-Innergetic does not have a certain rainbow jersey wearer on the roster, but a very deep team nonetheless. American fans will finally get a glimpse of the man that has routinely represented the USA in races like the World Championships, Guido Trenti. Saunier Duval-Prodir rounds out the ProTour teams with two North American products in Charles Dionne and Aaron Olsen.