The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah on Wednesday announced the first 12 teams that have accepted invitations to the 2016 race, with IAM Cycling of Switzerland representing the only foreign squad among the initial list that will be on the start line August 1.
Four more teams will be announced later this spring, according to race organisers.
Chris Horner, who was second overall at the race in 2013 and 2014, will get another shot at victory with Lupus Racing, a US Conitnental team that will join Axeon Hagens Berman, Holoweskio-Citadel, Jamis, Jelly Belly-Maxxis and Rally Cycling in the race.
"It's an honor to have such a prestigious field of teams confirmed early in the year for the Tour of Utah," said Jenn Andrs, the seven-day 2.HC race's executive director.
"We hear so much positive feedback from teams around the world about the welcoming host venues, stunning scenery and competitive courses in Utah," she said. "We look forward to announcing the final field of 16 competitive teams for a great week of racing in August."
IAM Cycling will make their inaugural appearance at the Tour of Utah, while BMC, Cannondale and Trek-Segafredo have been regular features since the race moved onto the UCI calendar in 2011.
Cannondale won the overall classification last year with Joe Dombrowski, who said in a statement released by the organisers that the 2015 Tour of Utah was the highlight of his 2015 season and his career so far.
"It was my first win of anything as a pro and my first general classification win for the overall and stage race, so it was really exciting for me," said Dombrowski, who plans to defend his title this summer. "It has been billed as 'America’s Toughest Stage Race' and that's pretty accurate."
The race returns to Southerm Utah for the 2016 start, taking off August 1 from Zion Canyon Village for a stage 1 finish in Cedar City. Stage 2 will take riders from Escalante to Torrey, with riders tackling a route from Richfield to Payson the following day.
Stage 4 takes riders from the IM Flash headquarters in Lehi to Kearns, with stage 5 returning to Antelope Island and Bountiful. Stage 6 will be the traditional Queen stage that finishes at Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort, with the final stage once again starting and finishing in Park City.
Entering a second year as a UCI 2.HC men's stage race, the Tour of Utah is one of the top two events on the UCI America Tour.
BMC Racing Team (USA)
Cannondale Pro Cycling Team (USA)
IAM Cycling (Switzerland)
Axeon Hagens Berman (USA)
Holowesko-Citadel p/b Hincapie Sportswear (USA)
Team Jamis (USA)
Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis (USA)
Lupus Racing Team (USA)
Rally Cycling (USA)
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