Racing teams and provisional rosters have been announced for the 2014 USA Pro Cycling Challenge and on Aug 22, many of the best riders in the world will ascent upon Woodland Park.
Headlining the impressive group of riders is 2013 USA Pro Challenge champion — and fifth-place finisher in last month’s Tour de France — Tejay van Garderen.
Van Garderen, who makes his home in Aspen, will be joined by 2014 Tour de France KOM Jersey winner Rafał Majka, as well as teammate and Tour de France stage winner Michael Rogers.
The USA Pro Challenge takes place Aug. 18-24 and will travel through 10 official host cities on a scenic tour of the Colorado Rockies. Colorado Springs will host Stage 4 of the event on Aug. 21. Woodland Park will be the starting point for Stage 5 on Aug. 22.
Many of the riders recently competed in the Tour de France. Three riders competing in the 2014 Pro Challenge finished in the top-12 places at this year’s Tour de France, including van Garderen, Leopold König (seventh) and Frank Schleck (12th).
Majka also won two stages.
Additionally, the race also will feature two riders that finished on the podium in previous years of the Tour de France — Ivan Basso, who also is a two-time Giro d’Italia winner, and Schleck — and multiple riders who captured a stage win — Jens Voigt, Basso, Schleck, Rogers and Majka.
“The best of the best in professional cycling will charge the streets of Colorado,” said Shawn Hunter, CEO of the USA Pro Challenge. “The competition this year will be tough and it’s going to be a great show for fans around the world.”
Emphasizing the competitive level of the field, the current and former USPRO National Champions in road race will line up in Colorado (Eric Marcotte (2014) and Fred Rodriguez (2013). In addition to Marcotte, the race will include three other current national champions - Schleck (LUX), Hayden Roulsten (NZL) and Riccardo Zoidl (AUT).
Other international stars competing in the this year’s Pro Challenge include current junior world champion Matej Mohorič, Tour of Slovania winner Tiago Machado, Columbian climbing sensation Janier Acevedo, and Michael Markov and Matthew Lloyd, who both won stages in the Giro d’Italia.
The 2014 USA Pro Challenge will include five of the top-six finishers from last year, including van Garderen, Gregory Brenes, Tom Danielson, Janier Acevedo and Lachlan Morton. Almost all of the jersey winners from 2013 will be back to defend their titles
The elite professional roster of teams, which includes 128 riders from 30 countries, is comprised of six teams that competed in the Tour de France.
On Aug. 16, the teams were introduced to fans at the opening ceremonies and official team presentation, taking place in Aspen at Base Village Plaza in Snowmass. Celebrity hosts Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen will introduce the teams and riders, giving people a chance to check out the best of the best in cycling before the start of the race.
The presentation is free and open to the public, with parking available in the lower lots and parking garage at Snowmass Village.
More information can be found at www.USAProChallenge.com and on Twitter at @USAProChallenge.