03 August 2012

Who is coming to the USA Pro Cycling Challenge

WHO will be at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge

Teams, Riders, and Fans

August 2012
Top professional cyclists will begin to arrive in Colorado for training, press and sponsor responsibilities any day now. In 2011 athletes were training in local towns up to two weeks prior to the race. If you see a rider in a pro kit - it could very well be one of your favorites out on the roads of Colorado.

Teams - 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado

Basically teams with sponsor interest in our state or nation and/or a key rider on the team (such as Levi Leipheimer of Omega Pharma-Quickstep, last year's tour winner) plus an invitation by race organizers will compete. Race organizers have complete say in who competes in their race. Please also visit the team section on the official USA Pro Cycling Challenge website: http://www.usaprocyclingchallenge.com/teams. I know nothing about team RusVelo from Russia, it will be exciting to be exposed to an entirely new team.

The USA Pro Cycling Challenge is a Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) 2.HC race (multi-day beyond categorization race). Of the UCI ProTeams you might notice that SaxoBank and Rabobank, who raced in 2011, will not be competing this year. Two additional teams; HTC Highroad and Leopard Trek folded last year. Both Astana and Omega Pharma-Quickstep are new on the list of teams for 2012. Of the Continental Teams, Champion System Pro Cycling Team, RusVelo, Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies  and Bontrager Livestrong Team are new to the race. 

UCI ProTeams
  • Astana Pro Team (KAZ)
  • BMC Racing Team (USA)
  • Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda (USA)
  • Liquigas-Cannondale (ITA)
  • Omega Pharma-QuickStep (BEL)
  • RadioShack-Nissan-Trek (LUX)
UCI Professional Continental Teams
  • Champion System Pro Cycling Team (CHN)
  • RusVelo (RUS) and select translate page
  • Team SpiderTech powered by C10 (CAN)
  • Team Type 1-SANOFI (USA)
  • UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team (USA)
UCI Continental Teams
  • Bontrager Livestrong Team (USA)
  • Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies (USA)
  • Team Exergy (USA)
  • Bissell Pro Cycling (USA)
These 16 teams will compete in the 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge
Pedal Dancer  Education - How are teams selected for a race?
I recently spoke with Shawn Hunter, CEO of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, he explained that race organizers have complete say in who competes in their race. For the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, their goal is to create a high level of competition, plus make the race appealing to fans. Under a guideline that they can invite no more than 8 ProTeams, the ProTeams are invited first. Next Professional Continental teams are considered based on both who is competing at a high level in the current race year and who will add value to the race in terms of exposure or a contributing story in the community. Race Organizers hold off on the final selection of Continental teams until last (see explanation of types of teams below). The decision to invite 16 teams was based on the length and logistics of the race and determined to be the safest number for this event while offering an exciting race experience overall.

Riders - 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge:
The preliminary start list of riders (roster) was announced on August 8th - Rider Roster for USA Pro Cycling Challenge. Race Organizers are bringing George Hincapie, Chris Horner, Levi Leipheimer, Cadel Evans, US National Champion Timmy Duggan, Ben King, Janez Brajkovic, and Jens Voigt to the state of Colorado to delight fans. Team RadioShack Nissan Trek will return again for 2012. Members of the team recently won the team classification at the Tour de France. 

There are a number of riders who were injured during the recent Tour de France and are busy recovering, good news is that Tom Danielson will be racing. Did you know? Jens Voigt wrote that of the 198 riders who began the Tour de France "more than three quarters had a crash or even several crashes" at some point during the race (read: Hardly Serious with Jens Voigt: Light the Night on Fire for Bicycling.com).

The Vuelta a Espana in Spain will take place over three weeks in August at the same time as the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. This is the Start List for the 2012 Vuelta, which means the riders on this start list will definitely not be racing in the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. The biggest news is that Elia Viviani, the sprinting wonder during the 2011 USPCC from team Liquigas-Cannondale, will be racing the Vuelta and not coming to Colorado. And Peter Sagan, the man who won 63% of the Amgen Tour of California, will not be racing at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.

Also this will be George Hincapie's last race before George retires (George Hincapie is retiring). Please come out and help make it an excellent experience for him. Joe Dombrowski, who rides for Bontrager Livestrong, won the 2012 GiroBio (Baby Giro) and may be riding with his team. I hope to see Tejay van Garderen, whose father Marcel will be working with Mavic during the race.

Continental Team Riders
After a full season of professionsl racing and watching coverage of the UCI Pro Tour teams we have become familiar with the more well-known riders, however the Continental teams deserve our attention too. These teams contain excellent athletes who are usually not swamped and will be available for a chat and a word of support from the fans.

Fans are a big part of the WHO will be at the race. In 2011 nearly 1 million spectators came out to see the race. More than 25 million people watched the race on television (NBC and Versus), in 161 countries and territories.  Fans also watched online coverage or used TourTracker (which recorded over half a million launches). Without a doubt fans made a significant contribution to the overall mood and success of the race. Please come see the race this year, if you came for 1 stage last year, come for 2 stages this year. Imagine what we can do as fans to make this the best race in the United States.  

More information for fans
Read a recap of the 2011 by Pedal Dancer - USA Pro Cycling Challenge - wrap up and also More Cowbell

Good deed:
If someone would like to do something nice - team EPM-UNE (COL) does not yet have a team website. This is a team we should all support (The Colombian teams’ low-budget assault on Colorado).
If someone else could please start a "Bring Bernie to Colorado" campaign I would greatly appreciate it. I think we need the character of Bernhard Eisel with Team Sky Pro Cycling to add panache to the race!

Pedal Dancer Education:

Word-of-the-day Definitions: Teams

World Tour
- what used to be called the ProTour became the UCI World Tour in 2011. It is comprised of 27 elite male cycling events around the world. None of the races in the USA are on the World Tour calendar (use a space between the 2 words). View a complete list of all UCI World Tour races. And the current World Tour rankings.
The UCI World Tour consists of 27 events. These events are made up from:
  • The three Grand Tours (Tour de France, Giro d'Italia, Vuelta a Espana)
  • The five Monument one day races
  • Nine further stage races in Europe
  • Six further one day races in Europe
  • One stage race in Australia
  • Two one day races in Canada
  • One stage race in Asia
UCI ProTeam - in 2011 the teams that were approved to compete in the World Tour were renamed as UCI ProTeams (do not use a space between the 2 words). All ProTeams gain automatic entry into UCI World Tour events. 
UCI Professional Continental Team -
these teams compete in the UCI Continental Circuit races divided into 5 specified zones around the world, and must be formally invited to compete in a World Tour event. The team is comprised solely of professional riders and must have 14 riders, 2 team managers and 3 other staff members in full employment all year. ProConti is the slang term used for these teams.
UCI Continental Team
- are governed on a national level and may comprise both professional and amateur riders who compete in continental races in their region. The nation under which the team is registered is the nation under which the majority of its riders are registered.