SALT LAKE CITY (July 30, 2015) – The preliminary rosters for the 16 men’s teams competing at the 2015 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, Aug. 3-9, include 125 professional cyclists representing 24 countries. Fifteen of the athletes taking part in this year’s 712-mile, seven-day race have experience at Grand Tour races (Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a España). On the women’s side, 17 teams competing at the two-day Tour of Utah Women’s Edition: Criterium Classic, Aug. 2-3, are expected to bring a total of 94 riders representing eight countries.
“This is one of the strongest fields in the 11-year history of the Tour of Utah,” said Executive Director Jenn Andrs. “We will have very worthy men’s and women’s champions emerge from such talented and competitive teams. From the sprint finishes to the mountain climbs, the race route will be challenging for the riders and provide dramatic viewing for spectators. We look forward to a tremendous week of racing as we showcase the state through sport.”
Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah Riders to Watch
Defending two-time Tour of Utah champion Tom Danielson (USA) of Team Can nondale-Garmin will pursue a record third consecutive overall victory. Danielson will be supported by three Americans with Grand Tour experience — Alex Howes, Ben King, and Ted King — as well as Joe Dombrowski, who was named the Best Young Rider and finished fourth overall at the 2012 Tour of Utah.
“The Tour of Utah is one of the toughest races in the world. I am super proud to be two-time defending champion of this race,” said Danielson, who captured the King of the Mountain jersey at this year’s Volta Ciclista a Catalunya in Spain. “The state of Utah and the race are one of a kind and I look forward to coming back with my teammates to defend my title.”
The American climber will be challenged by a number of stellar riders, including two-time Tour of Utah runner-up Chris Horner (USA), riding this year for Airgas Safeway Cycling Team. Horner, the 2013 Vuelta a España champion, finished a solid fifth in May at the USA Cycling Professional Road Race championship.
“I love Utah. It has everything that I love about the sport — hard racing, hot weather, steep climbs, fantastic fans and beautiful courses. I can’t wait to be back there with Team Airgas Safeway to race for the win,” Horner added.
Four teams in this year’s men’s field competed at the Tour de France — BMC Racing Team, Team Can nondale-Garmin, MTN-Qhubeka presented by Samsung, and Trek Factory Racing. The BMC Racing Team will feature American Joey Rosskopf, who was the Utah Office of Tourism King of the Mountain winner in Utah last year; Campbell Blakemore, the 22-year-old Australian who is the reigning world Under 23 time trial champion; and veteran Michael Schär of Switzerland, who has competed at all three Grand Tours and won Stage 2 of the 2014 Tour of Utah.
Trek Factory Racing brings the 2015 USA Cycling Professional Road Race national champion Matthew Busche and the five-time national road race champion of Luxembourg Fränk Schleck. After a one-year hiatus from racing in 2013, Schleck returned in 2014 by winning his fifth national title.
MTN-Qhubeka presented by Samsung, a Pro Continental team, made its Tour de France debut this year, winning one stage and finishing fifth overall in the team classification. It became the first African-registered trade team to ride the Tour, and makes its debut at the Tour of Utah. The team will feature riders from six countries, including accomplished sprint specialist Matthew Goss of Australia. A former world champion in track cycling, Goss was a silver medalist at the 2011 world road race championships and won two stages of the 2010 Giro d’Italia.
Other Pro Continental teams racing in Utah are Bardiani-CSF, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team, Drapac Professional Cycling and Team Colombia. The UnitedHealthcare Pro team will bring its newest member, Janez Brajkovic of Slovenia. He is a former Grand Tour rider who finished in the Top 10 of the Tour de France in 2012. His teammates in Utah will include American Kiel Reijnen, who won the mountains classification at the 2015 Tour of Langkawi, and Tanner Putt, a Park City native who won the Under 23 National Road Race championship last year.
Featured on the Drapac Pro Cycling squad is Dutch sprinter Wouter Wippert, who has won multiple stages this year at the Tour de Taiwan and Tour de Korea. He is joined by lead-out specialist Graeme Brown of Australia, a 15-year veteran with Grand Tour experience. On Team Colombia, 19-year-old Daniel Martinez is one Colombian rider to watch, who captured the King of the Mountain jersey on the first stage of the Route du Sud in France. His teammate, Miguel Ángel Rubiano, is the reigning Colombian Road Race national champion and finished sixth overall at Route du Sud. Bardiani-CSF had a stage victory at this year’s Giro d’Italia. Its Utah roster includes Italian Sonny Colbrelli, who had five wins in 2014 including a stage at the Tour of Slovenia.
Team rosters from Continental teams include strong talent who have excelled at the Tour of Utah in past years. Michael Torckler (New Zealand), who captured the 2013 Utah Office of Tourism KOM classification, will be racing this year for Australia’s Team Budget Forklifts. The 2012 KOM winner from Utah Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA) will return, racing for Jamis Hagens-Berman presented by Sutter Home. Americans Eric Young and Jesse Anthony of Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies have won stages at the Tour of Utah, Young in 2014 and Anthony in 2011. Jelly Belly presented by Maxxis returns this year with Australian Lachlan Morton, who won Stage 3 of the 2012 Tour of Utah and won the Best Young Rider jersey that year. Team SmartStop returns with last year’s Tour of Utah points classification winner Jure Kocjan of Slovenia. He will be joined by Mexican time trial national champion Flavio De Luna, and U.S. Pro Criterium national champion Eric Marcotte.
All riders ranked in the Top Three of USA Cycling’s National Racing Calendar (NRC) will be in Utah this year – – NRC points leader Michael Woods (Canada) of Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies, second-place rider Gregory Brenes (Costa Rica) of Jamis-Hagens Berman presented Sutter Home, and John Murphy (USA) of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling in third position. Hincapie Racing Team leads the team point standings for the NRC.
There are six riders in the field who have ties to Utah. Brothers Tanner Putt of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team and Chris Putt of Axeon Cycling Team, grew up in Park City. Rob Squire of Hincapie Racing Team and Erik Slack of Jelly Belly presented by Maxxis both live in Salt Lake City. Daniel Eaton of Axeon Cycling Team and Australian Tommy Nankervis, used to live in Salt Lake City when they competed for other teams.
Tour of Utah Women’s Edition: Criterium Classic Riders to Watch
Returning to defend her title at the Tour of Utah Women’s Edition is 22-year-old American Coryn Rivera of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling team. Rivera has 68 national titles so far in her career covering three disciplines (road, track, cyclocross). She is currently ranked fifth in the individual standing of the USA Cycling National Criterium Calendar (NCC).
The Tour of Utah Women’s Edition: Criterium Classic is an omnium-style competition that will take place over two days — Aug. 3 in Logan and Aug. 4 in Ogden. It is sanctioned by USA Cycling as part of the NCC. All of the women’s professional teams currently ranked in the Top 11 of the NCC are confirmed to race in the 17-team field.
In addition, the Top 10 riders on the NCC individual rankings will compete. Rivera will be joined by NCC points leader Erica Allar, racing for LA Sweat; Samantha Schneider of ISCorp presented by Smart Choice MRI (second overall); Tina Pic of Pepper Palace Pro Cycling presented by The Happy Tooth (third); Skylar Schneider of ISCorp presented by Smart Choice MRI (fourth); and Kendall Ryan of Team TIBCO-SVB (sixth), who will wear the stars-and-stripes jersey as the U.S. national criterium champion.
Sprint specialist Allar has won the individual NCC title for four consecutive seasons. This year she has 11 podium finishes, including a third place at one stage of the Amgen Tour of California Women’s Edition and the Omnium title at the 2015 Saint Francis Tulsa Tough. Pic, a Bountiful, Utah resident, is a six-time U.S. national criterium champion and four-time NRC champion.
The ISCorp, a Domestic Elite team from Wisconsin, leads the NCC team standings by 472 points over UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling. This top team is led by the Schneider sisters. Twenty-four-year-old Samantha holds 11 U.S. national titles (U23 & Junior) and has two NCC event wins this year (Saint Francis Tulsa Tough and Chevron Manhattan Beach Grand Prix). Skyler, 17, won the 2014 USA Cycling Junior Criterium national championships and has three podium finishes this season.
For the first time, all the men’s teams will be joined by the women’s teams at a special event for cycling fans on Saturday, Aug. 1. The Team Presentation, hosted at the Logan Golf and Country Club, will take place at 7 p.m. The event provides free general admission seating for all spectators, and cameras are welcome.
The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah continues to be free to all spectators, making professional cycling one of the most unique professional sports in the world today. Read details about the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah by visiting www.touofutah.com, as well as social channels Facebook (tourofutah), Twitter (@tourofutah #TOU15, #TOUWE15), Instagram (thetourofutah) and YouTube (Tour of Utah).