Defending Tour of Connecticut champion Mark McCormack (Colavita Olive Oil/Sutter Home), fresh off of a pair of victories in cycling-mad Belgium, leads an international field of challengers to his title in the 2005 event, May 20-22. Ten professional and eleven amateur eight-man teams will contest this year's three-day race with stages in New Haven, Waterbury and Litchfield Hills/Torrington.
Colavita Olive Oil/Sutter Home brings international flair to aid McCormack's defense with Italian amateur star Davide Frattini, looking to make his professional name on the American Continent, and a pair of Argentine sprinters, JJ Haedo and Gustavo Artacho.
2003 Tour of Connecticut winner David Clinger, now sporting a full-face Maori warrior tattoo that has raised much controversy in the racing world, has returned to the US racing scene after a tough year in Europe. He is the co-leader is of the Webcor Builders Cycling Team alongside T-Mobile International winner Charles Dionne, second overall at the Tour CT last year. Webcor Builders, smarting from its non-selection to April's Tour of Georgia, is coming to the Tour CT looking for a big result.
Another powerhouse squad to watch is the New Jersey-based Navigators Insurance Cycling Team, which has always performed superbly at the Tour CT. Russian sprinter Vassily Davidenko, twice winner of the Housatonic Valley Classic stage, Jeff Louder winner of last year's grueling Waterbury stage and new professional Shawn Milne, third overall and best amateur in 2004, promise to ignite the race. Of note as well from the Navigators, the only Professional Continental Team from the United States in the new UCI classification system, is Colombian climber Cesar Grajales, looking for redemption after a sub-par Tour of Georgia.
Fiordifrutta Cycling Team with white-hot amateur star Mike Dietrich leads the amateur side of the battle. Cannondale bicycle designers and team members Chris Peck and Curt Davis have moved to the other side of the barriers and now direct the team.
2002 US professional champion and Tour de France veteran Chann McRae has returned to the amateur ranks to captain the Weston, CT-based TARGETRAINING team. This new team is made up of experienced international riders, and is fast tracking towards pro status in 2006.
Team TIAA-CREF, a developmental racing program for young professionals, is the brainchild of Tour de France star Jonathon Vaughters. The young pros are returning from a successful European campaign and are led by 23-year old Will Frischkorn.
Massachusetts native Tim Johnson captains the 'Bean Team', Jittery Joe's/Kalahari, making its first-ever Connecticut appearance. 27-year old Johnson is still searching for the power that had made him one of the brightest young prospects from the US.
Stage 1 - May 20: New Haven criterium, 40 miles
Stage 2 - May 21: Waterbury circuit race, 62 miles
Stage 3 - May 22: Torrington-Torrington, 137 miles