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A look at the school, the races and the future of this unique 'sport'
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Classic Colnago steel frame with gorgeous pantographed Campagnolo components
Tejay van Garderen shows grit and determination on stage 10
Five ProTeams to start in Aspen
Race organizers of the 2014 USA Pro Challenge have announced the 16 teams that will compete in the seven-day race held from August 18 to 24 from Aspen to Denver, throughout the Colorado Rockies. Five ProTeams headline the start list along with four Professional Continental teams and seven Continental squads.
“We consistently get such an overwhelmingly positive response from the teams that participate in the Pro Challenge each year,” said Rick Schaden, owner of the USA Pro Challenge. “The race continues to build momentum year-after-year and we’ll look to build on that in 2014 by welcoming back some veteran teams and introducing some new ones to the challenging terrain and beautiful scenery of Colorado.”
BMC Racing’s had much success during last year’s edition winning the overall team competition, Tejay van Garderen won the overall title and his then-teammate Mathias Frank, who now races for IAM Cycling, was second. Although it is not confirmed whether or not van Garderen will be returning to defend his title, his BMC team will be on the start line.
Cannondale Pro Cycling, which won four stages and the sprint jersey with Peter Sagan, will also be returning to the race with a similar goal of securing stage wins. "We're really looking forward to racing in the USA Pro Challenge again this year,” said Cannondale director Alberto Volpi. “With tough, competitive racing and amazing crowds, this is the kind of race we love. Last year, the team rode really well and Peter Sagan took the sprint jersey. This year, we’re coming back to take stages and be again among the main contenders. We’ll certainly bring a strong team.”
Other ProTeams in the mix are Tinkoff-Saxo, Trek Factory Racing and Garmin-Sharp, which won the young rider competition with Lachlan Morton and had Tom Danielson as third overall last year.
“We’ve had huge success in the Pro Challenge the past three years and we’re looking forward to returning for a fourth,” said Jonathan Vaughters, CEO, Slipstream Sports and Team Garmin-Sharp. "As a Colorado-based team, this is a race we look forward to all year and the riders always bring their a-game. Last year Lachlan Morton won the Best Young Rider competition and Tom Danielson got third overall, so we have high goals for the race and we will give fans plenty of reasons to cheer.”
Professional Continental teams Drapac, NetApp-Endura, Novo Nordisk and UnitedHealthcare will also be on the start line.
The Continental-level teams include Jamis-Hagens Berman p/b Sutter Home, which won the mountains competition with climber Matt Cooke last year. Team SmartStop has earned a spot this year after a strong season that saw its rider Eric Marcotte win the US professional road title. Bissell Development Team, Hincapie Sportswear Development Team, Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis and Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies will also be on the line, along with British Continental team Rapha Condor JLT.
“The USA Pro Challenge has featured some of the best teams in the world over the last three years and 2014 will be no different,” said Shawn Hunter, CEO of the Pro Challenge. “We’re giving cycling fans in the United States the chance to see the teams they love up close and in person. Interest in the race continues to grow and this year’s diverse roster of teams is going to create seven intensely competitive days of racing in August.”