SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (May 31, 2011) - The 2011 edition of the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah professional cycling stage race will now feature a total of five UCI ProTeams, and a total field of 16 teams from around the globe. Four international squads, including Liquigas-Cannondale and Garmin-Cervélo, and five domestic teams were added this week by race organizers. Taking place August 9-14 using six different Host Venues across northern Utah, "America's Toughest Stage RaceTM" will be the first UCI 2.1-rated stage race for ProTeams in the U.S. following the Tour de France.
In the final field for Tour of Utah, six of the teams (all the UCI ProTeams and Geox-TMC) just completed the Giro d'Italia, one of the three Grand Tours of Europe. Eleven of the confirmed teams competed at the Amgen Tour of California in May. And, the five UCI ProTeams will be competing in July at the Tour de France. The final field for Tour of Utah includes 11 teams registered in the United States, and other teams represent Canada, Italy, Great Britain, New Zealand and Spain.
UCI ProTeams Confirmed: (world rankings as of May 30, 2011)
HTC-Highroad (USA), No. 1 on World Tour
Team Radioshack (USA), No. 4 on World Tour
BMC Racing Team (USA), No. 7 on World Tour
*Team Garmin-Cervelo (USA), No. 9 on World Tour
*Liquigas-Cannondale(ITA), No. 12 on World Tour
UCI Professional Continental Teams Confirmed: (rankings as of May 23, 2011)
*Geox-TMC (ESP), No. 11 on UCI Europe Tour
Team Type 1 - sanofi-aventis (USA), No. 16 on UCI Europe Tour
Team SpiderTech powered by C10 (CAN), No. 15 on UCI America Tour
UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling (USA), No. 3 NRC and 13 on UCI America Tour
UCI Continental Teams Confirmed:
*Bissell Pro Cycling (USA), No. 1 NRC team
*Endura Racing (GBR), no. 22 on UCI Europe Tour
*Jamis/Sutter Home Pro Cycling (USA), No. 9 NRC team
*Kelly Benefits Strategies - OptumHealth (USA), No. 14 NRC team
*PureBlack Racing (NZL), No. 5 NRC team and No. 4 on UCI Oceania Tour
*RealCyclist.com Pro Cycling (USA), No. 2 NRC team
Trek-LIVESTRONG U23 (USA), No. 7 NRC team
*denotes recent addition to Tour of Utah
Each domestic and international professional cycling team will compete with a maximum of eight riders per team. The athletes will compete for six days across the mountains, buttes and plateaus of Utah, vying for UCI points, award jerseys and $116,000 in prize money. Professional teams competing in the Tour of Utah will announce their rosters later in the summer. The Tour of Utah was elevated by the international governing body of the sport of cycling (UCI) to be one of just three 2.1-rated, or higher, world-class stage races in the U.S. The Tour of Utah is the second largest of these three races.
In early April, Tour of Utah organizers announced the first seven teams that had been confirmed to participate in this year's stage race, including BMC Racing, HTC-Highroad, and Team RadioShack. The addition of two more ProTeams, Garmin-Cervélo and Liquigas-Cannondale, and three more UCI Professional Continental teams, Team Type 1 - sanofi-aventis, Team SpiderTech powered by C10 and UnitedHealthcare, validates the strongest international field of professional athletes in the seven-year history of the Tour of Utah.
The cream of the crop of Continental teams, which focus on USA Cycling's National Racing Calendar, are provided an opportunity in Utah to go head to head with the bigger teams that focus on international races. Six teams in the field are ranked in the Top 10 on the NRC team standings.
"The elevation of the Tour of Utah to a 2.1-rated UCI stage race this year makes it possible to include the best teams in the world, and across North America, to compete on the challenging terrain of the Wasatch Front. All of our spectators, corporate partners and volunteers will be rewarded this year with the best field yet, a showcase for international cycling here in Utah," said Steve Miller, president of the Utah Cycling Partnership, which owns the Tour of Utah.
Based in the U.S., Team Garmin-Cervélo has raced at the Tour of Utah as early as 2006, when it was known as Team TIAA-CREF. For 2011, the team already has overall wins at Tour Down Under and Tour of Qatar. The team features Americans Tom Danielson, Christian Vande Velde, and Ryder Hesjedal, who all finished in the overall Top 10 of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California, with Danielson on the podium in third place. Among the other speedsters are Tyler Farrar, from Washington, who won four stages at Grand Tours last year (two each at Vuelta a España and Giro), and Utah native David Zabriskie, who is the only American cyclist to have won stages at all three Grand Tours. Zabriskie won this year's time trial at the Amgen Tour of California and claimed his sixth national time trial championship this past weekend. Zabriskie raced as an individual in the 2009 Tour of Utah and finished second in the Prologue.
The Italian Liquigas-Cannondale squad finished 2010 in second place in the UCI world rankings, boosted by wins at the Giro by Ivan Basso and Vuelta by Vincenzo Nibali, both top Italian all-rounders. This ProTeam had an impressive 39 victories throughout the year. 2011 marks the team's debut at the Tour of Utah. The first Americans to sign with the squad include Tim Duggan, from Colorado, and Ted King, from New Hampshire. Duggan had Top 20 results at Tour of Austria and Tour of Missouri in 2009. King was a bronze medalist at the 2011 USA Cycling Professional Road Race national championship, just his third year as a pro. Sprinter Peter Sagan of Slovania earned the Best Young Rider designation at the 2011 Amgen Tour of California for a stage win and two second place finishes.
An Italian shoe company (Geox) and a multi-national producer of electronic transformers (TMC) joined forces to give a new look to a Spanish team that started in 2004 as Saunier Duval-Prodir. Geox-TMC is a UCI Professional Continental team that primarily races on the UCI Europe Tour. This year it got a big boost with the acquisitions of Grand Tour winners Denis Menchov of Russia and Carlos Sastre of Spain. The team has a number of early-season wins in Europe, including the Team Classification title at Vuelta a Murcia in Spain. 2011 represents the team's first visit to the Tour of Utah.
Now in its second season, Endura Racing is a British UCI Continental team. The team roster has a number of British riders, including multiple Olympic and World Champion Rob Hayles. New additions to the team this year include experienced Grand Tour athletes Iker Camaño of Spain, Paul Voss of Germany, and British track standout Chris Pritchard. Also a first-time entrant for the Tour of Utah, Endura Racing has two overall wins to start 2011, at Tour de Normandie and Cinturón a Mallorca.
Always strong on talent, the BISSELL Pro Cycling Team enters its fourth year with BISSELL as owner/title sponsor. The team is on top of the NRC team standings going into June, and will ride a fourth consecutive campaign at the Tour of Utah. American veterans Ben Jacques-Maynes, an accomplished all-rounder, and Frank Pipp, a sprinter, have accounted for overall wins at Merco Cycling Classic (B. Jacques-Maynes) and the Joe Martin Stage Race (Pipp). The team has more than a dozen podium finishes in 2011 to date. Other notable riders include two-time national time trial champion Chris Baldwin, South African Jay Thomson, and 21-year- old climber Chase Pinkham, a native of Salt Lake City, Utah.
In the No. 2 spot on the U.S. race circuit is newcomer RealCyclist.com Pro Cycling Team, with the top rider in NRC points, Francisco Mancebo. The title sponsor, an on-line retailer of premium bikes, parts and accessories, is based in Park City, Utah. Spaniard Mancebo has already won three stage races in the U.S. this spring - Redlands Bicycle Classic, Sea Otter Classic and Tour of the Gila. Although the team makes its debut at Tour of Utah, Mancebo won the overall title in 2009 and finished second in 2010, riding for two different teams. Other big-time climbers on the team include Colombian Cesar Grajales, who won the KOM classification at the TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Classic in 2010, and Thomas Rabou (NED), who took the KOM crown at the 2010 Amgen Tour of California. Teammate Evan Hyde, from Anchorage, Alaska, has been a Park City resident for two years.
The Jamis/Sutter Home Pro Cycling Team is ranked ninth in the NRC team standings. The team has recorded eight podium finishes so far this year. It bolstered its roster earlier this month by adding time trial specialist Tom Zirbel. The 32-year-old from Iowa finished second at the USA Cycling Professional Time Trial National Championship in 2009 and 2011, and captured fourth in the World Time Trial Championships in 2009. The early-season team leader has been designated as Ignacio Pereyra of Argentina, who finished fourth overall at last year's Tour de San Luis. He will be supported by fellow Argentineans, brothers Alejandro and Anibal Borrajo.
Entering its fifth season is Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth, based out of Minneapolis, Minn. The team had Top 10 finishes at Tour of Taiwan and Tour de Bretagne Cycliste (France). New England rider Jesse Anthony placed second at this year's Tour of the Battenkill in N.Y. Returning for 2011 is sprinter Alex Candelario, from Las Vegas, Nev., who finished second at the USA Cycling Professional Road Race Championship last year, and sixth this year. Other veterans on the team include 12-year pro Michael Creed, accomplished track cyclist Mike Friedman, and 2007 U.S. national criterium champion Daniel Holloway. They also added climber Jason Donald, who won Stage One of the 2008 Tour of Utah racing for Garmin/Chipotle.
Team PureBlack Racing, based in Auckland, New Zealand and named after the famous rugby team, the All Blacks, was founded in July 2010. The team features a strong roster of 13 Kiwi riders, which has finished in the Top Three in stages at Redlands Bicycle Classic and Joe Martin Stage Race this year. Roman van Uden scored the first win for Team PureBlack at the downtown criterium in Redlands, Calif. in April. While the team is new, its roster of experienced pros has positioned them at fifth in NRC team standings. Glen Chadwick, a 10-year veteran, raced previously with U.S. teams (Navigators, Team Type 1 and Rock Racing). Roman van Uden and Mike Northey both raced with Rubicon-ORBEA out of Oregon for the past two years.
The 2011 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah will consist of an opening prologue and five stages. The six-day event continues to be free to all spectators, making professional cycling one of the most unique pro sports in the world today. Information about teams, VIP Packages, The Ultimate Challenge and additional event information can be found by visiting www.tourofutah.com, with updates on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
Deemed "America's Toughest Stage Race," the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah is a six-day, six-stage, professional bicycle road race along the Rocky Mountain's Wasatch Range. It traditionally covers more than 400 total miles of racing through some of Utah's most beautiful and challenging terrain. Now in its seventh year, the 2011 Tour of Utah is scheduled to take place August 9-14 as a UCI 2.1 sanctioned road race for the best pro cyclists in the world. The event is owned and operated by the Utah Cycling Partnership. The 2011 Tour of Utah will be accompanied by a colorful, rolling festival celebration that will take place at each day's finish line host venue. More information can be found by visiting www.tourofutah.com.
The Larry H. Miller Group of Companies began with a single automotive dealership, Larry H. Miller Toyota, in Murray, Utah in 1979. Since that time, the Group has amassed more than 80 businesses and properties in the western United States. Most notable are the Utah Jazz NBA professional basketball franchise, EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City, the Salt Lake Bees Class-AAA professional baseball affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, state-of-the-art Miller Motorsports Park, Megaplex Theatres across Utah and 40 automobile dealerships representing 23 different automotive brands in seven Western states. www.lhm.com
Medalist Sports, LLC is an international, full-service, sports management and production company. An industry leader, Medalist Sports specializes in the successful planning, promotion and management of special events, ranging from professional competitions to amateur experiences, to cause-related/fundraising events. Members of the Medalist team are proud to have been successfully involved with the production of the Tour DuPont, Tour of China, Amgen Tour of California, USA Pro Cycling Challenge, Tour de Georgia, Tour of Missouri, the Lance Armstrong Foundation (Livestrong Challenge), USA Cycling Professional Championships, the Tour of Hope, The Dempsey Challenge presented by Amgen and more. Medalist Sports' headquarters are located south of metro Atlanta at P.O. Box 415, Tyrone, Ga. 30290. The company website is www.medalistsports.com.