Horner's Airgas-Safeway team earns Tour of Utah invitation

The organisers of the Tour of Utah today announced the 16 teams which will compete in the seven-stage men's race, and the 18 squads taking part in the women's criterium classic. Among the men's squads is the Airgas-Safeway team of former Tour of Utah runner-up Chris Horner, which missed out on a Tour of California bid.

Joining Airgas-Safeway are three WorldTour teams, BMC Racing, Cannondale-Garmin and Trek Factory Racing, and five Pro Continental teams, including Bardiani-CSF, Drapac, Colombia, MTN-Qhubeka and Unitedhealthcare.

The rest of the teams are from the Continental ranks: Axeon, Budget Forklifts, Hincapie Racing team, Jamis-Hagens Berman, Jelly Belly p/b Maxis, Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies and Team Smartstop.

“We have so many great teams at this year’s Tour of Utah, and at the Criterium Classic. With the World Championships for road cycling being held in Richmond, Virginia, just a month after Utah, we expect these teams to bring top contenders for race week. Spectators will be treated to compelling attacks and race action across northern Utah at all seven stages,” said Jenn Andrs, executive director of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, a division of Larry H. Miller Sports & Entertainment.

The news counters speculation that Horner would race the Vuelta a Colombia, which overlaps with Tour of Utah. The Tour of Utah starts on August 3 in Logan, and concludes in Park City on August 9.

The Airgas-Safeway team also received an invitation earlier this month to the 2.HC Tour of Qinghai Lake, a 14-day race that takes place July 5-18 in China. Horner will not participate with the team in China, however, choosing instead to race at the Cascade Cycling Classic July 22-26 in his hometown of Bend, Oregon.

“We're really excited to do the Tour of Uath this summer. This is a race that Chris Horner in particular has done well in the past, and the whole team is focused on riding for the win in August there," team manager Chris Johnson said.

“When Chris got the news that the team was getting an invitation, he was really, really excited. The course excites him. It's a hard race with really steep climbs. It's a beautiful course.

“A lot of our younger guys have been stepping up their performances, and I know that a lot of that has to do with the idea that they are going to get these larger opportunities, and it's come to fruition now. It's a big deal."

Teams for the 2015 Tour of Utah:
UCI ProTeams: BMC Racing Team, Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling, Trek Factory Racing
UCI Professional Continental Teams: Bardiani-CSF, Drapac Professional Cycling, Team Colombia, Team MTN-Qhubeka presented by Samsung, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team
UCI Continental Teams: Airgas-Safeway Cycling Team, Axeon Cycling Team, Team Budget Forklifts, Hincapie Racing Team, Jamis-Hagens Berman presented by Sutter Home, Jelly Belly presented by Maxxis, Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies, Team SmartStop

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