USA Pro Cycling Challenge announces 16-team field

The USA Pro Cycling Challenge announced the 16 teams which will contest the second edition of the seven-day stage race, taking place August 20-26 in Colorado. Levi Leipheimer, champion of last year's inaugural race, plus 2011 Tour de France champion and seventh place finisher last year in Colorado, Cadel Evans, are confirmed participants as their respective Omega Pharma-QuickStep and BMC Racing Team are among the six ProTeams invited to the UCI 2.HC-ranked event. Garmin-Sharp, Liquigas-Cannondale and RadioShack-Nissan are three additional ProTeams which make their return to Colorado, while the Astana Pro Team will make its Colorado debut to round out the ProTeam selections.

Five UCI Professional Continental teams will compete in Colorado with three of last year's selections slated to return: Canada's Team Spidertech p/b C10, and the US-based squads of Team Type 1-Sanofi and UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team. The Champion System Pro Cycling Team and RusVelo squads round out the Pro Continental ranks.

The USA Pro Cycling Challenge peloton is completed by five UCI Continental squads including three which competed in the inaugural race last year: Colombia's EPM-UNE plus US-based teams Bissell Pro Cycling and Team Exergy. The field is rounded out by two additional American Continental teams making their race debut, the Bontrager Livestrong Team and Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies.

Not present on the roster for the race are the US Continental teams Jamis-Sutter Home, Kenda/5 Hour Energy and Jelly Belly, all of which also missed out on the Tour of California and Tour of Utah.

"After the 2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge, we had such an overwhelmingly positive response from the teams that it was difficult to narrow it down to 16 teams for the 2012 edition," said Shawn Hunter, CEO of the Pro Challenge. "The USA Pro Challenge is building a reputation for having the highest caliber teams in the world, creating fierce competition in the Colorado Rockies. I can't wait to see what these teams have in store for us this August."

"After winning the Tour de France last year and seeing the enthusiasm of the fans, I didn't think anything could match it, but then I came to Colorado," said BMC's Cadel Evans. "Seeing the huge crowds that were along the route supporting us was remarkable and really motivated us to do our best. The course and the mountains were beautiful, but incredibly challenging, and I can't wait to take them on again. I knew last August that I wanted to return to the race in 2012."

Other ProTeam riders who've committed to the race include BMC's George Hincapie, a stage winner in last year's edition who will cap off his lengthy professional cycling career in Colorado. Additionally, Colorado resident Tim Duggan (Liquigas-Cannondale), who recently took first in the US professional road championships and will be competing in the London Olympics, has confirmed his place on the start line. RadioShack-Nissan riders Frank Schleck, third overall in the 2011 Tour de France, Chris Horner, who won the 2011 Amgen Tour of California, and fan-favorite Jens Voigt will be competing. Astana's Janez Brajkovic (Astana Pro Team) has also confirmed his participation.

The full team rosters will be announced closer to the race.

UCI ProTeams
Astana Pro Team (Kaz)
BMC Racing Team (USA)
Garmin-Sharp (USA)
Liquigas-Cannondale (Ita)
Omega Pharma-QuickStep (Bel)
RadioShack-Nissan (Lux)

UCI Professional Continental Teams
Champion System Pro Cycling Team (Chn)
RusVelo (Rus)
Team SpiderTech powered by C10 (Can)
Team Type 1-Sanofi (USA)
UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team (USA)

UCI Continental Teams
Bissell Pro Cycling (USA)
Bontrager Livestrong Team (USA)
Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies (USA)
Team Exergy (USA)

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