SALT LAKE CITY (May 3, 2017) – Of the 16 prestigious men’s professional cycling teams competing in this summer’s Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, 14 squads have been confirmed. Four of these teams will make their inaugural appearances at “America’s Toughest Stage Race” — Amore & Vita-Selle SMP presented by Fondriest (Albania), Caja Rural-Seguros RGA (Spain), Cylance Cycling (USA), and Israel Cycling Academy (Israel). A total of six countries are represented in the invitation-only field for the 13th edition of the UCI 2.HC men’s stage race on July 31-Aug. 6.
Two teams, BMC Racing Team (USA) and Bardiani CSF (Italy), are racing this month at the Giro d’Italia, the first Grand Tour event of the season. It will be the ninth time for BMC Racing Team to compete in Utah and a second trip for the Italian squad. A complete field of 16 internationally-sanctioned teams will be confirmed later this spring for the Tour of Utah. Rosters for each team are expected to total 120 riders from more than 20 countries, and will be announced the final week of July.
LARRY H. MILLER TOUR OF UTAH TEAMS
Amore & Vita-Selle SMP p/b Fondriest (Albania)
Axeon Hagens Berman Cycling Team (USA)
Bardiani CSF (Italy)
BMC Racing Team (USA)
Caja Rural-Seguros RGA (Spain)
Cylance Cycling (USA)
Holowesko l Citadel Racing Team p/b Hincapie Sportswear (USA)
Israel Cycling Academy (Israel)
Jelly Belly Cycling p/b Maxxis (USA)
Nippo-Vini Fantini (Italy)
Team Novo Nordisk (USA)
Rally Cycling (USA)
Silber Pro Cycling (Canada)
UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team (USA)
“The lineup of teams for the 2017 Tour of Utah brings impressive cycling resumes and international flavor,” said Jenn Andrs, executive director of the Tour of Utah. “With six international teams and four newcomers, the peloton will treat fans to world-class racing with a depth of talent. The scenic byways and mountain roads in Utah always prove challenging and I expect a tremendous week of racing in August.”
Going into this year’s Giro d’Italia, BMC Racing Team sits second overall in the UCI WorldTour Team rankings. The WorldTeam powerhouse scored 14 Top 10s at the 2016 Tour of Utah, making BMC Racing Team the top team for the seven-day stage race. Leading the way was American Joey Rosskopf with four Top 10s, including a sixth-place overall finish on the General Classification (G.C.). The team also features Americans Brent Bookwalter and Tejay Van Garderen. Bookwalter won the Points classification and finished third on G.C. in Utah in 2015. Van Garderen captured a Stage 3 win in 2011, the last time an individual time trial was part of the Tour of Utah. The team also includes 2014 Tour of Utah Stage 2 winner Michael Schär (Switzerland) and 2013 Tour of Utah Stage 1 winner Greg Van Avermaet (Belgium), who won this year’s Paris-Roubaix.
Among the six UCI Pro Continental teams headed to Utah this year are newcomers Caja Rural-Seguros RGA (Spain), ranked 10th on the UCI Europe Tour, and Israel Cycling Academy (Israel), ranked 10th on the UCI America Tour. The Spanish team, which received a wild card entry into the 2017 Vuelta a España, features America Chris Butler on the roster, who has finished in the Top 12 of the Tour of Utah twice (2013, 2014). Israel Cycling Academy, the first pro team from that country, is racing its first year as a Pro Continental squad with 16 riders from 12 countries.
UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team leads the way with an 11th trip to Utah, the most of any team. This Pro Continental team is currently ranked second on the UCI America Tour and on the USA Cycling Professional Road Tour (PRT). UHC captured seven Top 10s in last year’s Tour of Utah, including a Stage 4 win by American Travis McCabe. The team added Argentinian sprinter Sebastian Haedo to the roster this year, who was third on that same stage riding for Team Jamis.
Both Italian-based Pro Continental teams return for a second time to Utah, Bardiani CSF currently ranked 17th on the UCI Europe Tour and Nippo-Vini Fantini ranked 16th on the UCI America Tour. Bardiani CSF last competed in Utah in 2015, with six Top 10s and climber Stefano Pirazzi (Italy) finished 15th on G.C. Nippo-Vini Fantini captured two Top 10s in Utah last year, with its top climber Damiano Cunego finishing 29th on G.C. American-based Team Novo Nordisk returns for a sixth time to Utah, this year ranked 24th on the UCI Asia Tour.
There are seven Continental teams in the field, featuring first-time entries by Amore & Vita-Selle SMP presented by Fondriest (Albania) and Cylance Cycling (USA). Amore & Vita considers itself one of the oldest professional teams in the world, dating back to 1948. Ranked 12th on the UCI Africa Tour, this squad has 15 riders, all between the ages of 22-29, representing five European countries. Cylance Cycling, ranked 14th on the UCI America Tour, consists of 10 riders representing four countries.
Among the Continental ranks, Rally Cycling has raced the most often in Utah, returning for its ninth edition. The top-ranked team on the UCI America Tour, Rally Cycling also has a commanding lead in this year’s PRT team standings. They have scored six victories in PRT events since March, including three by American Eric Young, a two-time Tour of Utah stage winner (2014 and 2015). Other riders on the squad include American Jesse Anthony, who won a stage in Utah in 2011, and Canadian Rob Britton, who finished fifth on G.C. at last year’s Tour of Utah.
This is the fifth trip to Utah for the Holowesko l Citadel presented by Hincapie Sportswear team, ranked third on both the UCI America Tour and PRT. Among the 12 riders representing four countries is Lehi, Utah-native T.J. Eisenhart, who was seventh overall at the 2016 Tour of Utah. American teammate Robin Carpenter scored a win in Utah last year on Stage 2.
Rounding out the Continental squads are Silber Pro Cycling (Canada), Axeon Hagens Berman (USA) and Jelly Belly Cycling presented by Maxxis, which are currently ranked fifth, sixth and seventh on the UCI America Tour, respectively. Silber Pro Cycling returns to Utah for a second season with Canadian sprinter Kris Dahl, who won the opening stage of last year’s Tour of Utah.
Axeon Hagens Berman, making an eighth appearance in Utah, returns Americans Adrien Costa and Logan Owen. Costa, a 19-year-old climber from Bend, Ore., finished second overall at last year’s Tour of Utah. He also captured both the Best Young Rider and King of the Mountain designation jerseys. Owen, now 22 years old, won Stage 3 of the 2015 Tour of Utah and in 2016 scored two Top 10s (Stages 1 and 2).
Jelly Belly Cycling returns to Utah for a sixth time. While the team has lost last year’s Tour of Utah champion Lachlan Morton, it rides into the 2017 season with an 11-rider roster representing five countries. One of its youngest American riders, 21-year-old Sean Bennett, won the Mountains classification in April at the Le Tour de Bretagne Cycliste.
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. The Tour of Utah attracted more than 400,000 spectators and contributed a new high of $23 million in direct economic impact for Utah last year. The Tour of Utah also continued its strong media reach with 28-plus hours of national television coverage on FOX Sports Network as well as more than 35 hours of live start-to-finish web casting via Tour Tracker, which attracted viewers from 142 countries.