Teams to Bring 126 Riders Representing 23 Countries for 13th Edition of “America’s Toughest Stage Race”
SALT LAKE CITY (July 26, 2017) – An all-star cast of 126 professional cyclists representing 23 countries are expected in Logan, Utah to begin the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah stage race on July 31. The preliminary rosters have been confirmed for the 16 men’s teams competing at the 605-mile event, which will finish in front of the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City on Aug. 6. The Tour of Utah was elevated in 2011 by the Union Cycliste Internationale, the global governing body for cycling, as one of the top stage races in North America, and now boasts a star-studded field that includes national champions, Grand Tour veterans and notable cycling talent.
Among the athletes competing in this year’s 605-mile, seven-day stage race are 27 riders who have competed at Grand Tour races, which include Tour de France, Giro d’Italia, Vuelta a España. Six riders are current national champions in various road disciplines – – Silvan Dillier (BMC Racing Team), Swiss Road Race champion; Joey Rosskopf (BMC Racing Team), U.S. Pro Time Trial champion; Nielson Powless (Axeon Hagens Berman), U.S. Under-23 Road Race champion; Travis McCabe (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycing) U.S. Pro Criterium champion; Matteo Dal-Cin (Rally Cycling), Canadian Road Race champion; Pier-André Côté (Silber Pro Cycling), Canadian Elite Criterium champion.
Rosskopf is one of the seven riders who raced the Giro d’Italia in May, finishing fifth in the final stage, the individual time trial. This event, referred to as the race of truth, returns to the Utah race for the first time since 2011 and will be held at Big Cottonwood Canyon on Tuesday, Aug. 2.
“My goal for the Tour of Utah is to win a stage. Winning is always the goal,” said Rosskopf, who finished sixth overall at last year’s Tour of Utah. “The Stage 3 time trial will be my first opportunity to wear the national champ kit, and I’m pumped! I’m not necessarily excited that the time trial is a hill climb, but nonetheless it’s really exciting to debut the jersey here in the U.S. when so much of my time is spent elsewhere. And hopefully the jersey will add an extra level of strength and motivation to drag my big bod up Big Cottonwood.”
There are three Utah-based riders in the pro peloton this year – – Taylor “T.J.” Eisenhart of Holowesko-Citadel presented by Hincapie Sportswear, and two riders from Hangar 15 Bicycles, Rob Squire and Cortlan Brown. Eisenhart, who resides in Lehi, finished seventh overall in the 2016 edition, riding as a stagiaire for BMC Racing Team. Squire has finished in the Top 10 of the G.C. twice. Hangar 15 Bicycles, as well as Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling, was recently added to the lineup of seven UCI Continental teams racing at the Tour of Utah, both teams making first appearances.
“My favorite part of Tour of Utah is getting to race in front of my friends and family,” said Squire, who lives in Salt Lake City. “Watching on TV is one thing, which is cool in its own right, but witnessing the race in person is totally different. Mountains look big on TV, but when my friends drive up Little Cottonwood, they can really appreciate the feat of racing up it.”
Based on preliminary rosters, 24 of the athletes were born on or after Jan.1, 1995, qualifying these riders for Under-23 classification points and the WCF Insurance Best Young Rider jersey. Axeon Hagens Berman’s eldest rider is 22 years of age, qualifying the entire eight-rider squad for the best-young category.
The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah continues to be free for all spectators, making professional cycling one of the most unique professional sports in the world today. Fans can follow the race live each day with mobile applications from Tour Tracker powered by Adobe®, as well as live coverage each day on FOX Sports Networks (FS2 nationally). Prior to the overall race start, the 16 teams and all their riders will be part of the Team Presentation in Logan on Saturday, July 29. This special event will take place 5:30-7 p.m. and is free to the public.
2017 TEAMS – LARRY H. MILLER TOUR OF UTAH
- Amore & Vita – Selle SMP presented by Fondriest (Albania)
- Axeon Hagens Berman Cycling Team (USA)
- Bardiani CSF (Italy)
- BMC Racing Team (USA)
- Caja Rural-Seguros RGA (Spain)
- Cylance Cycling (USA)
- Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling (USA)
- Hangar 15 Bicycles (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)
Rosskopf’s teammate on the BMC Racing Team is the silver medalist at the 2017 U.S. Pro Time Trial Championships, Brent Bookwalter. At the 2015 Tour of Utah, Bookwalter, now 33 years old, was third overall and claimed the Utah Sports Commission Sprint classification title.
Among the UCI Pro Continental teams, Bardiani-CSF brings a full Italian squad to the Tour of Utah with four of the squad’s riders having raced at the Giro. Simone Andretta finished fourth on Stage 7 of that Grant Tour, and Giulio Ciccone won a stage in 2016.
Two Americans, Chris Butler and Justin Oien, will represent the Spanish-based squad, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA. The team, which competed at the Vuelta last September, makes its inaugural appearance at the Tour of Utah. Oien won the final stage of the Rhône-Alpes Isère Tour, a tough under-23 only race.
The UnitedHealthCare Pro Cycling Team has the distinction to have participated as a team in every edition of the Tour of Utah. Colombian Janier Acevedo will lead the team in search of overall success, having finished third overall in the 2013 Tour of Utah. McCabe, the newly crowned U.S. Pro Crit champion, will look for another stage win to add to the Stage 4 victory he had last year.
Israel Cycling Academy will be making its first appearance in Utah. The first Israeli professional team will send a multi-national squad with four former national champions representing Mexico, Canada, Estonia and Israel. Two veterans with WorldTour experience are Dutchman Dennis van Winden and Canadian Guillaume Boivin, the later a 2015 road race national champion. Also on the squad is Olympian Luis Lemus of Mexico, a top climber who is a three-time Mexican road race national champion.
Nippo-Vini Fantini brings a squad with a mix of Italian and Japanese riders. Italian Marco Canola is showing great legs this year, winning three stages of the Tour of Japan. He recently finished sixth at the Italian National Road Championships at the end of June.
Team Novo Nordisk continues as the first professional cycling team comprised of all riders living with diabetes. Italian Umberto Poli, who starred in the breakaway at this year’s Milan-San Remo, finished 14th at the Tour of Estonia earlier this year. Australian Fabio Calabria sprinted to eighth on Stage 2 of the Grand Prix de Saguenay in June. Also on this year’s roster is Sam Brand of Great Britain, a former triathlete from the Isle of Man, who joined Team Novo Nordisk’s development team in 2016 after switching exclusively to cycling.
Previously racing as Canyon Bicycles-Scott, Hangar 15 Bicycles is the only team in the field based in Utah. The team features Salt Lake City-resident Robbie Squire (USA), who finished ninth overall at the 2015 and 2016 Tour of Utah. He will be joined by Spaniard Francisco Mancebo, who won the final stage in Park City in 2013 and won the race general classification title in 2009.
Like Hangar 15 Bicycles, Elevate-KHS Pro Cycling makes its inaugural appearance to the Tour of Utah. The team will be led by Canadian James Piccoli, who finished second in the King of the Mountains competition at the four-day Grand Prix Cycliste de Saguenay in his home country. Connor Brown powered to a sixth-place finish at the Under-23 U.S. National Time Trial Championships.
Amore & Vita – Selle SMP presented by FONDRIEST is an Albania-based Continental team making its inaugural appearance at the Tour of Utah. Italian Pierpaolo Ficara has three of the team’s five wins on the year. including the opening stage and points classification at the Tour of Albania. Besmir Banushi and Redi Halilaj both finished second in the Albanian National Road Championships, the former in the individual time trial and the latter in the road race.
The young guns on Axeon Hagens Berman squad include Americans Logan Owen and Powless, as well as British rider Chris Lawless. Owen won Stage 3 at the 2015 Tour of Utah. Twenty-year-old Powless is the current Under-23 U.S. Road Race National Champion. He also finished third in the U.S. Pro Time Trial Championship and second in the U.S. Pro Road Race Championship this year. Lawless captured the silver medal at the road race national championships in Great Britain this year.
Cylance Cycling is led by the 2014 U.S. Road Race National Champion Eric Marcotte. He finished second on the final stage of this year’s Joe Martin Stage Race in April. He is loaded with power, so look for him to make his mark on several stages. Sixteen-year veteran Karl Menzies of Australia is a strongman of the peloton and will make his first appearance at the Tour of Utah.
Holowesko-Citadel presented by Hincapie Racing returns to Utah with Lehi, Utah-native Eisenhart leading the team’s ambitions for overall success. He also leads the individual men’s standings in the USA Cycling Pro Road Tour. His American teammate, Robin Carpenter won Stage 2 in Torrey in 2016, and also held the yellow Larry H. Miller Group of Companies leader’s jersey last year. Carpenter comes into the Tour of Utah with great form having recently won the UCI2.2 Cascade Cycling Classic.
“The race will be a little more friendly to me this year,” Carpenter said. “The Stage 2 summit isn’t too steep or too long, so if I’m climbing well I might be able to limit the losses. Snowbird is Snowbird and is always tough. But what stands out to me is the toughness and openness of the final stage in Salt Lake City. Stage 7 will be so tough for a team to control that I think they will want to let a break win. That’s where I come in.”
Jelly Belly presented by MAXXIS returns to Utah for an eighth year. The team won the overall title in 2016 with Lachlan Morton, who used the win to propel him to the WorldTour in 2017. Romanian Serghei Tvetcov is a top G.C. rider for the team in Utah. He finished second overall at this year’s Tour of the Gila.
With a substantial lead in the USA Cycling Pro Road Tour this season, Rally Cycling will bring Americans Eric Young, Sepp Kuss and Colin Joyce to Utah. Young has sprinted to two stage wins at this race in 2014 and 2015. Kuss, 22 years old, has demonstrated great climbing ability the last two years at the Tour de Beauce, finishing on the podium twice this year and winning a stage in 2016. Joyce finished second on the opening stage at the 2016 Tour of Utah in Cedar City.
Canadian-based Silber Pro Cycling includes just one rider from outside the country, American Stephen Bassett. The team is back for the second year and has its sights on making a repeat performance of last year’s win of the opening stage at the Tour of Utah in Cedar City. At the Canadian national championships, Pier-André Côté won the elite criterium title, Nigel Ellsay finished second in the individual time trial, while Marc-Antoine Soucy and Coté finished second and third in the road race. Team members swept the U23 ITT podium as well.
About the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah
The Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, referred to as “America’s Toughest Stage RaceTM,” is a week-long, professional cycling stage race for the best men’s teams in the world. The 2017 event will be held July 31-Aug. 6. Now in its 13th year, the event was elevated in 2011 as a UCI stage race, making it one of the premier events in North America. The 2017 Tour of Utah will cover 605 miles of racing and 36,525 feet of climbing. The Tour of Utah is owned by Larry H. Miller Sports & Entertainment. More information about the Tour of Utah, host venues and professional teams can be found by visiting www.tourofutah.com, as well as social channels Facebook (tourofutah), Twitter (tourofutah), Instagram (thetourofutah) and YouTube (tourofutah).