Organisers of the Maryland Cycling Classic, the only UCI Pro Series event in North America and the only one-day UCI race in the United States, named the first nine teams for the September 4 race, which includes Trek-Segafredo and BikeExchange-Jayco the first two WorldTeams.
Human Powered Health, whose sponsor has headquarters in Maryland, were confirmed as the only Pro Continental outfit, while US teams L39ION of Los Angeles and Hagens Berman Axeon were among the Continental teams invited.
Colombian Team Medellin-EPM, home to the former Grand Tour contender Oscar Sevilla, 45, will be at the start along with the Canadian squad Yoeleo Test Team p/b 4MIND, Italian Team Corratec and the Irish team EvoPro Racing. Eight more teams will be announced at a later date.
"As the season progresses, we will continue to build on the initial team roster at all levels, adding to our illustrious international field for the inaugural event of 17 teams," Maryland Cycling Classic Chairman John Kelly said.
The Maryland Cycling Classic was originally slated to debut in 2020 but the COVID-19 pandemic caused the race to be postponed two years in a row. The race will start outside Baltimore in Sparks, Maryland and finish in Baltimore's Inner Harbor.
It is one of only three remaining UCI road events in the United States along with the 2.2-ranked Joe Martin Stage Race and Tour of the Gila. The country has lost the Tour of Utah, Tour of California, Colorado Classic, the Philadelphia Classic, and Reading 120 in the past decade.
Positioned on the Sunday before the Grand Prix Québec and Grand Prix Montréal, the Maryland Cycling Classic gives the men's teams an extra reason to make the transatlantic flight. Like the Canadian WorldTour events, there is no race for women in Maryland.
"The goal for the event this first year is to attract an international field with good sprinters and one-day classic riders, affording opportunities for teams in the Americas to compete with big teams from Europe," Kelly said.
Trek-Segafredo have a raft of riders that meet those characteristics, including America Quinn Simmons. General manager Luca Guercilena emphasised the importance of fielding a team in the only major UCI race in their title sponsor's country.
"We've had to wait a long time to take part in the Maryland Classic, but finally this year we'll have the chance to race in the United States again," Guercilena said.
As the leading men's road race in the USA, it's really important for us to be on the start line and we're looking forward to putting on a show for the local fans."
One team that has been putting on a big show in the United States is L39ION of Los Angeles, who have dominated the criterium circuit. Team founder Justin Williams said the race is "an incredibly exciting stop" on their calendar.
"As a black-owned team competing in a city of predominantly black residents, the weekend serves as an even more significant moment for us and I look forward to activating the team within the community," Williams said.
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