31 nations represented in USA Pro Challenge
Nationalities at USA Pro Challenge
Steamboat Springs — As professional cycling teams cut across and around Steamboat Springs Friday — they were the ones in spandex … OK, the ones in organized lines and in spandex — the race they were training for made official the start list for this year’s USA Pro Challenge.
That list of 125 racers on 16 teams was led by the riders from the four biggest teams in the event, BMC Racing, Tinkoff-Saxo, Trek Factory Racing and Cannondale-Garmin.
All four teams are already in Steamboat and training. Among the biggest names there is Rohan Dennis of BMC. The Australian time trial wizard wore the yellow jersey for a day in this year’s Tour de France after winning that event’s opening stage.
He’s joined on BMC’s eight-rider roster by Taylor Phinney, a Boulder cyclist and two-time Olympian who’s in the early stages of recovering from a bad accident that left him with a broken leg, Brent Bookwalter, a 31-year old rider from New Mexico, and Damiano Caruso, a surging Italian.
Phinney competed well last week in his first race back, the Tour of Utah, earning a podium finish in one stage. Brookwalter was even stronger, finishing third overall in Utah. Caruso, meanwhile, was eighth at the Giro d’Italia this season.
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“The USA Pro Challenge has a big place in my heart,” Phinney said in a press release. “I’m definitely excited to get into it. I still have some gains to make when it comes to my recovery, so I’m just going to keep the train rolling from Utah.”
Czech Republic rider Roman Kreuziger, who’s finished as high as fifth in the Tour de France, will lead the Tinkoff-Saxo team while American Matthew Busche and Colombian Julian Arredondo are leaders on the Trek team.
From top to bottom, the field is diverse, featuring teams from five nations and riders from 31. It includes 37 Americans and riders from as far away as Israel and New Zealand and as small as Costa Rica and Luxembourg.
The race starts Monday with Stage 1 on a loop around Steamboat. Stage 2 will take riders from Steamboat Springs, up Rabbit Ears Pass and eventually to Arapahoe Basin.
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