Cadel Evans to the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, race will feature entire Tour de France podium
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Friday, July 29, 2011

Cadel Evans to the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, race will feature entire Tour de France podium

by Kyle Moore at 2:15 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Superb lineup for inaugural event

Cadel EvansShawn Hunter, co-chairman of the inaugural USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado, has confirmed that Tour de France champion Cadel Evans (BMC Racing Team) will be participating in the race. The Pro Challenge, which will be held from August 22-28, will feature eight ProTour teams in all. The addition of Evans to the BMC Racing Team roster bolsters the already considerable buzz surrounding the race.

“We certainly hoped a guy like Cadel would race here, but the fact that they've watched our race and our progress and the stature of the event here, they want to be part of that," Hunter told the Associated Press. “That's a big statement. They picked our race over the Vuelta. I'm proud of that.”

Along with Evans, Frank and Andy Schleck are slated to start for Leopard-Trek. “These guys together have become household names in terms of the sporting environment, in particular cycling,” Hunter stated.

“For (Evans) to come after winning the Tour is fantastic. It will be an epic battle. It'll be great for TV ratings and great for generating crowds at every stage.”

Though the overall victory will likely go to a handy climber and all-rounder, the Pro Cycling Challenge should offer opportunities for all types of riders. Before a flat finish on stage 6, there’s a short prologue time trial and a 10-mile individual TT on stage 3. Stage 2 takes riders to Aspen, on a 131-mile ride that could prove epic. Climbs of Independence Pass and Cottonwood Pass both peak at nearly 4,000 meters in elevation.

Hunter credits BMC Racing manager Jim Ochowicz with helping bring publicity, along with his team’s best riders, to Colorado. “(Ochowicz has) been following our race and seeing us build momentum,” Hunter explained to the Denver Post. “He sees value in having his ‘A’ team, including Cadel, race here. This is an important platform and an opportunity to showcase his team. We'll have an incredible field.”

With the race just under a month away, Leopard-Trek has pencilled in the Schleck brothers, as well as Fabian Cancellara for the new American race. Rabobank is hoping that Robert Gesink’s form will have improved in time for the August 22nd start. Garmin-Cervelo has listed climber Peter Stetina, and Radioshack will send American duo Chris Horner and Levi Leipheimer. After a brilliant showing in the Tour of California from both, Horner and Leipheimer had Tours de France they would like to forget. They will look to rebound on home turf.

SaxoBank-Sungard and Liquigas-Cannondale are both sending teams to Colorado, but their respective stars, Alberto Contador and Ivan Basso, are undecided on their participation. “That’s the great unknown,” added Hunter. “I think Contador could [take part], but I have no idea.”

Hunter knows that having such big names in world cycling show up to the first USA Pro Cycling Challenge is a big deal, and could go a long way in establishing the race as a yearly tradition. It could offer World Championships preparation that is less taxing than the three-week Vuelta a Espana.

“It’s huge,” Hunter concluded. “It's a great moment of truth for our race and a great step in racing in America.”
 

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