The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah today announced 13 of the 16 teams that will be competing in the UCI 2.HC event that runs August 3-9. The additional teams will be added later this spring.
Three US-registered UCI Pro teams will return to the race, including BMC Racing, Trek Factory Racing and the Cannondale-Garmin team of two-time winner and returning champion Tom Danielson. The Airgas-Safeway Continental team of Chris Horner, who finished second to Danielson the past two years, was noticeably absent from the list.
MTN-Qhubeka, the South African Pro Continental team, will come straight to Utah from its first-ever Tour de France wildcard invitation. Joining MTN-Qhubeka from the Pro Continental ranks will be Team Colombia of Colombia, Drapac Professional Cycling of Australia and UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling of the US. Known as the “Blue Train,” UnitedHealthcare will make a record ninth appearance at the Tour of Utah, the most of any team.
Continental teams have a strong representation in this year’s field, which includes four of the top five squads ranked on USA Cycling’s National Racing Calendar. Team SmartStop expects to return with Jure Kocjan (Slovenia), who led the race briefly last year and eventually won the Utah Sports Commission Sprint points jersey. Hincapie Racing Team featured the best two climbers at the 2014 Tour of Utah, returning this year with American Robin Carpenter, who was second overall in the Ski Utah King of the Mountains classification.
Other US Continental teams on the list include Axeon Cycling, the development team run by Axel Merckx, Jamis-Hagens Berman, Jelly Belly-Maxxis and Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies
“Each year we are honored to have such an impressive list of teams competing in the Tour of Utah,” said Jenn Andrs, executive director of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, a division of Miller Sports Properties.
“To have four teams already committed to travel to Utah from the Tour de France makes a big statement in the sports world about the growing prestige of the Tour of Utah,” she said. “Our fans and our partners can expect more great racing battles from these world-class teams in August.”
The race's step up to from a 2.1 ranking to 2.HC means the final three teams that will be announced later this spring could come from the UCI Pro Team ranks. Last year, Horner's Lampre-Merida team competed at the race, along with fellow Pro Teams Cannondale and Belkin.
Earlier in April, 11 women’s professional and domestic elite cycling teams were announced as part of the field for the Tour of Utah Women’s Edition: Criterium Classic. The omnium-style competition will take place in Logan on August 3 and in Ogden on August 4. Four women’s UCI teams were confirmed to compete, including the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling team which captured the inaugural Tour of Utah Women’s Edition title in 2014.
BMC Racing Team (USA)
Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling (USA)
Trek Factory Racing (USA)
UCI Professional Continental Teams
Drapac Professional Cycling (Australia)
Team Colombia (Colombia)
Team MTN-Qhubeka presented by Samsung (South Africa)
UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team (USA)
UCI Continental Teams
Axeon Cycling Team (USA)
Hincapie Racing Team (USA)
Jamis-Hagens Berman presented by Sutter Home (USA)
Jelly Belly presented by Maxxis (USA)
Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies (USA)
Team SmartStop (USA)