Another ProTeam is headed to Colorado in August for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge and they may have a six-time grand tour winner among their ranks. Organizers have announced that Saxo Bank-Sungard will be among the 16 teams starting the seven-day stage race on August 22 in Colorado Springs.
“Saxo Bank-SunGard is one of the world’s top teams and having them participate in our race rounds out a great group of professional teams that will be featured in the Tour de France in July,” said Shawn Hunter, co-chairman of the event. “They’ve got the world’s top stage racer in Alberto Contador as well as a deep and talented roster.”
It is unclear whether Contador will start the Colorado race, which begins a month after the Tour de France closes in Paris. The three-time Tour de France champion has not raced in the United States since the 2007 Tour of Missouri and faces an August hearing before the Court for Arbitration in Sport, which is presiding over a WADA/UCI appeal of the Spaniard’s exoneration on Clenbuterol ingestion during the 2010 Tour de France.
Hunter told the Denver Post that, “I think it’s a strong chance… I can’t be for sure because riders don’t have to commit until 45 days out. Hopefully he’ll be part of the roster.”
Saxo Bank manager Bjarne Riis looked forward to the first-year event.
“We are excited about competing in Colorado. It’s a beautiful part of the world with a route unlike any we’ve seen before,” said Riis. “Altitude will be a unique challenge for all of the riders, but I am confident that our team will rise to the occasion.”
Hunter called Riis’ top star the hottest athlete in the sport. “He’s a big personality and will add a lot of marketability. He’ll add a lot of sizzle to the race.”
Organizers previously announced ten ProTeam and Pro Continental squads for the inaugural race and will likely confirm the remaining Continental squads next week.
2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge Confirmed teams
- Saxo Bank-SunGard
- BMC Racing
- UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
- Team Type 1-Sanofi Aventis
- Skil Shimano