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Van Garderen will return to Tour of Utah

Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) will head directly from the Tour de France back to the US for the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, returning to the seven-day 2.HC race for the first time in seven years next month for the August 6 start in St. George.

Van Garderen will lead a BMC Racing team that also includes fellow Americans Brent Bookwalter and Joey Rosskopf. Van Garderen won a time trial at the Tour of Utah in 2011, but if he wants to take out the overall win this year he'll have to get past defending champion Rob Britton (Rally Cycling) and 2015 winner Joe Dombrowski (EF Education First-Drapac), who will have the assistance of 2015 stage winner Michael Woods.

Americans Peter Stetina and Kiel Reijnen will lead the Trek-Segafredo squad, while Dutch team LottoNL-Jumbo will feature American neo-pros Sepp Kuss and Neilson Powless. Cameron Meyer will lead the charge for Australian team Mitchelton-Scott.

Pro Continental team Israel Cycling Academy is bringing a strong team led by veterans Ben Hermans and Ruben Plaza.

The 2018 race starts with a 5.3km prologue time trial, something Bookwalter, who finished sixth last year, said he was excited about.

"I always enjoy and appreciate when the Tour of Utah has a prologue or a non-uphill time trial, because it rounds out the race," Bookwalter said. "By adding in a prologue, it balances out the race a bit and forces the climbers to be in their best form in the race against the clock. The classic Salt Lake City circuit is one of my favourite stages of the Tour of Utah because it brings us back into the city and in front of the great crowds that line the course."

US Pro Continental team Holowesko-Citadel will be led by Utah native TJ Eisenhart.

"I am super excited to be back down south racing in Cedar City, and very excited about this year's course," said Eisenhart, who grew up in the Lehi area of Utah. "The climb over Brian Head up to Cedar Breaks is definitely not an easy climb. The climb has some very difficult pitches, and then adding into the mix the high altitude. It will be a very hard opening stage."

Other Pro Continental teams in the race include UnitedHealthcare, Hagens Berman Axeon and Nippo-Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini. From the Continental ranks are 303 Project, Aevolo Cycling, Elevate-KHS, Jelly Belly-Maxxis, Silber Pro Cycling and late addition Mobius-Bridgelane of Australia.

The 2018 Tour of Utah covers 876.8km of racing over seven days and features nearly 13,345 metres of climbing.

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