USA Pro Cycling Challenge coming back in 2012 with 16 teams
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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

USA Pro Cycling Challenge coming back in 2012 with 16 teams

by Kyle Moore at 11:19 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Second edition of August race will be Hincapie’s last, Leipheimer defends

George HincapieThe USA Pro Cycling Challenge, America’s newest major stage race, has announced a lineup of 16 teams that will compete in the second edition of the race. Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) won the inaugural edition, which can also go by the name, ‘The Quiznos Challenge,’ or the Tour of Colorado.

Leipheimer won the 2011 race wearing the red and white colors of Team Radioshack, and though the Californian is no longer with the American team, he will get the opportunity to defend his title, as his new Belgian squad is one of the ProTour teams invited.

The USA Pro Cycling Challenge in 2012 will also carry a bit of extra significance as it will be the final race in the professional career of George Hincapie (BMC Racing). Hincapie finished fifth overall in the event last year, picking up a win on stage two in the process.

The first USA Pro Cycling Challenge experienced much success, as a large portion of America’s cycling fan base resides in Colorado, making its second edition a hot ticket amongst many professional teams.

“After the 2011 USA Pro 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,” race director Shawn Hunter stated. “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.”

Also expected to take part for a second time is Hincapie’s BMC Racing team-mate Cadel Evans. The Australian gave American cycling fans a treat last year when he took a victory lap of sorts on the roads of Colorado, in his only race to finish the 2011 season after winning the Tour de France. Evans still managed a top ten finish, taking seventh overall.

“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,” Evans said. “Seeing the huge crowds that were along the route supporting us at the USA Pro Challenge 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.”

Along with BMC Racing and Omega Pharma-Quick Step, Janez Brajkovic is expected to compete with Astana, and Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Sharp) will look to go one better after his runner up finish last year.

The race route features nine mountain passes over the course of seven stages. Six road stages will again subject riders to some of the highest altitudes in WorldTour racing, with stages three and four taking riders to nearly 3800 meters, outside of Aspen.

The Route:

Stage 1
Durango – Telluride: 125.6 miles / 202.1 km

Stage 2
Montrose - Mt. Crested Butte: 99.2 miles / 159.6 km

Stage 3
Gunnison – Aspen: 130.5 miles / 210.0 km

Stage 4
Aspen - Beaver Creek: 97.2 miles / 156.4 km

Stage 5
Breckenridge - Colorado Springs: 117.9 miles / 189.7 km

Stage 6
Golden – Boulder: 103.3 miles / 166.2 km

Stage 7
Denver - Individual Time Trial: 9.5 miles / 15.3 km

The Teams:

Astana Pro Team (KAZ)
BMC Racing Team (USA)
Garmin-Sharp (USA)
Liquigas-Cannondale (ITA)
Omega Pharma-Quick Step (BEL)
RadioShack-Nissan (LUX)

Pro Continental Teams
Champion System Pro Cycling Team (CHN)
RusVelo (RUS)
Team SpiderTech-C10 (CAN)
Team Type 1-Sanofi (USA)
UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team (USA)

Bissell Pro Cycling (USA)
Bontrager Livestrong Team (USA)
Optum Pro Cycling-Kelly Benefit Strategies (USA)
Team Exergy (USA)


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