After missing out on the initial Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah team announcement in April, Floyd's Pro Cycling made the final team cut that was announced today – sort of. The Canadian Continental team sponsored by the Floyd's of Leadville CBD company owned by Floyd Landis will change its name to Worthy Pro Cycling for the August 12-18 race.
Worthy Brewing of Bend, Oregon, a secondary team sponsor that is owned by longtime Landis supporter Roger Worthington, will take on the title role for the 2.HC race that Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) won last year. Neither race organisers or Floyd's Pro Cycling would comment on the reasons for the name change when contacted by Cyclingnews.
“Race organizers are pleased that the invitation from the Tour of Utah has been accepted by Worthy Pro Cycling to compete in America’s Toughest Stage Race this August," Tour of Utah Managing Director John Kimball said in a statement provided to Cyclingnews in response to an email inquiring about reasons for the name change.
"A name change has been approved by the UCI for this Canadian-based team, which has chosen to highlight another sponsor in its name during the Tour of Utah," Kimball said. "Individual riders for Worthy Pro Cycling are proven competitors and their participation in the Tour of Utah enhances the peloton."
In an exchange of messages with Cyclingnews, Floyd's Pro Cycling director Gord Fraser was equally opaque about reasons for the name change.
"Everyone at Floyd's Pro Cycling just wants our guys to have the opportunity to race the biggest stage race available to us in North America," Fraser told Cyclingnews. "It's great that Worthy Brewing takes the lead sponsor slot for this race. They've been great supporters of the program all year long."
Floyd's Pro Cycling General Manager and co-owner Scott McFarlane addressed the name change in a blog post on the Floyd's Pro Cycling website.
"There’s no blood test for sincerity, but we’re in the Tour of Utah because the most interesting person in North American cycling [Landis] trusts Gord Fraser and has sponsored our team," McFarlane wrote after listing the myriad ways he believes Landis has given back to the sport recently.
"He also trusts his friend Roger Worthington, who was a central figure in the establishment of the Dana Point GP and whose company Worthy Brewing is a presenting sponsor of our team. Floyd agreeing to let the team race the Tour of Utah as Worthy Pro Cycling allows us to showcase a company that recently helped save one of the most popular races on the US calendar: the Cascade Cycling Classic," McFarlane wrote.
Landis and his CBD business signed on as sponsors of the Canadian team in the offseason after former sponsor Silber Investments did not renew. Landis, of course, is the controversial former pro whose 2006 Tour de France win was stripped away after he failed an anti-doping test. He later prompted the US Anti-Doping investigation that brought down Lance Armstrong, and then filed a whistleblower fraud lawsuit against his former US Postal Service teammate that was joined by the US federal government. Armstrong eventually settled the suit, and a portion of that settlement went to Landis.
The business through which Landis sponsors the team, Floyd's of Leadville, was unable to take title sponsorship in Canada due to sports regulations that forbid the direct advertising of CBD products, so 'Floyd's Pro Cycling' was born.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is derived from the hemp plant, a cousin of the marijuana plant, but it lacks the psychoactive THC element present in marijuana and is legal in all 50 US states. Although the federal government still considers CBD in the same drug class as marijuana, it doesn’t usually enforce laws against it. Utah passed a law last year legalising CBD oil and other industrialised hemp products with less than 3 per cent THC content.
The Floyd's team's absence from the initial Utah line up announced in April was conspicuous, given the presence on the roster of riders like Travis McCabe, Serghei Tvetcov and Keegan Swirbul. McCabe is a four-time Tour of Utah stage winner, while Tevtcov finished on the overall podium in 2017 and Swirbul was seventh last year.
Floyd's has had a productive first year on the UCI calendar as well, taking a stage win and the overall at the Tour de Taiwan with Jonathan Clarke, who was also seventh overall at Utah in 2017. The team followed Clarke's Taiwan result this year with stage wins at Joe Martin, Tour de Langkawi, Tour of the Gila, Grand Prix Cycliste de Saguenay and Tour de Beauce. Floyd's has also had a solid run of victories in national calendar events in both the US and Canada. In national championship action, Tvetcov recently won the Romanian time trial, while McCabe won stars-and-stripes at the US criterium championships.
Now that the team is in the Utah race, McCabe, Tvetcov, Swirbul and crew will join three other Continental teams that were also announced today, bringing the roster to 17 teams after earlier invitee Manzana Postobon folded following a series of anti-doping violations. Joining Worthy among the new additions are Dauner-AKKON Pro Cycling of Germany, DC Bank Pro Cycling of Canada and Canel’s-Specialized of Mexico.
US-based WorldTour teams EF Education First and Trek-Segafredo will represent cycling's top level as the only two WorldTour teams in the race this year, while Neri Sottoli-Selle Italia-KTM, Hagens Berman Axeon, Israel Cycling Academy, Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizanè and Rally UHC Cycling come from the Pro Continental ranks.
Continental teams include five US teams and Team Bridgelane from Australia. The previously announced US teams include the 303 Project, Aevolo, Arapahoe-Hincapie p/b BMC, Elevate-KHS and Wildlife Generation-Maxxis.
The 2019 Tour of Utah starts Monday, August 12, with a prologue time trial at Snowbird Resort, and concludes Sunday, August 18, with a 125.9km stage that starts and finishes in Park City. The seven-day race will also visit North Logan City, Brigham City, Powder Mountain Resort, Antelope Island State Park, North Salt Lake, Salt Lake City, and Canyons Village at Park City Mountain.
2019 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah Teams
EF Education First (USA)
Hagens Berman Axeon (USA)
Israel Cycling Academy (Israel)
Neri Sottoli-Selle Italia-KTM (Italy)
Nippo-Vini Fantini-Faizanè (Italy)
Rally UHC Cycling (USA)
303 Project (USA)
Arapahoe-Hincapie p/b BMC (USA)
Canel’s-Specialized Cycling (Mexico)
Dauner-AKKON Pro Cycling (Germany)
DC Bank Pro Cycling Team (Canada)
Team BridgeLane (Australia)
Wildlife Generation Pro Cycling p/b Maxxis (USA)
Worthy Pro Cycling (Canada)
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Growing up in Missoula, Montana, Pat competed in his first bike race in 1985 at Flathead Lake. He studied English and journalism at the University of Oregon and has covered North American cycling extensively since 2009, as well as racing and teams in Europe and South America. Pat currently lives in the US outside of Portland, Oregon, with his imaginary dog Rusty.