The SRAM Tour of the Gila enjoys first year UCI status

The SRAM Tour of the Gila kicks off on Wednesday, and the edition marks the first time that the event has designated as a UCI 2.2 stage race. Consequently, the grueling five-day stage race has attracted professional racers from Pro Continental teams UnitedHealthcare, Team Type 1 and Champion System - a Hong-Kong based sports apparel company. This team of eight adds to the already strong field of international participants from Belgium, Spain, Columbia, and Mexico.

The race features five stages; a criterium, time trial, and three road stages, with approximately 15,000 feet of climbing, making it one of the most challenging stage races in the US.

US-based Competitive Cyclist Racing Team will likely be placing high hopes on their captain Franciso Mancebo to nab his second win at the SRAM Tour of the Gila.

UnitedHealthcare plans to start Tour of Spain stage winner and Olympian Jason McCartney, NRC Calendar winner Rory Sutherland and climbing specialist Jeff Louder. Team Type 1 – Sanofi’s roster includes Rubens Bertogliati, past Tour de France stage winner.

In the women’s pro/1/2 field, all eyes will be focused on US Olympic gold medallist Kristen Armstrong. Racing for the Exergy TWENTY12 Pro Women’s Cycling team, Armstrong will be using the five-day stage race to prepare for the London Olympics, where she will defend her 2008 time trial gold medal.

Team TIBCO's stand-out Megan Guarnier will look to repeat her success from the Redlands Classic, while the always aggressive NOW and Novartis team will be racing for Sea Otter Stage Race winner Alison Powers.

Cyclingnews is assisting with the live coverage, you can follow the ticker below or at the Tour de Gila's Tour Tracker website here for live updates of all the action.

Pro Continental Teams

ChampionSystem Pro Cycling Team (China)
Team Type 1 – Sanofi (USA)
UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team (USA)

Continental Teams
BMC Hincapie Sportswear Development Team (USA)
Bissell Cycling (USA)
Bontrager Livestrong Team (USA)
Competive Cyclist Racing Team (USA) (Canada)
Team Exergy (USA)
Jamis/Sutter Home (USA)
Kenda 5 Hour Energy p/b Geargrinder (USA)
Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefits Strategies (USA)

Elite Teams
California Giant Berry Farms/Specialized (USA)
Colombian National Team (Columbia)
Hagens Berman Cycling (USA)
Jet Fuel Coffee (Canada)
Juwi Solar Elite Cycling Team (USA
Landis/Trek (USA)
Mexican National Team (Mexico)
Team Rio Grande (USA)

Women's Teams
Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
NOW and Novartis for MS
Exergy TWENTY12
FCS|ROUSE p/b Mr. Restore
Primal/MapMyRide Women's racing
Colavita-espnW Pro Cycling

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