DENVER, Dec. 8, 2010 // PRNewswire // -- The Quiznos Pro Challenge™ today officially announced the first five teams to sign on for the inaugural 2011 competition, including Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) pro teams: Team RadioShack (USA), Liquigas-Cannondale (Italy), HTC-Highroad (USA), Slipstream Sports/Garmin-Cervelo (USA), and BMC Racing Team (USA). In total, the Quiznos Pro Challenge will host as many as 128 professional cyclists from 16 teams for the 2011 competition.
The five confirmed teams comprise some of the top cyclists in the world, including seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, world champion Thor Hushovd and former world champion Cadel Evans, as well as legendary team directors Johan Bruyneel and Bob Stapleton. The riders from these teams who will participate in the Quiznos Pro Challenge will be defined once the team rosters are finalized for the 2011 season.
"It's exciting to see that the Quiznos Pro Challenge is already considered one of the most important races in the United States," said Ellen Kramer, General Manager of the Quiznos Pro Challenge. "Our goal is to connect new audiences in America with the sport of professional cycling; having several of the premier international teams already signed up is a huge step in that direction."
"We have had so many ProTour and ProContinental teams lining up to compete in Colorado next year," said Jim Birrell, Managing Partner of Medalist Sports, race organizers for the Quiznos Pro Challenge. "Signing teams of this caliber is a key indication that the Quiznos Pro Challenge will be one of the preeminent professional cycling events in the world."
Team RadioShack is led by Sports Team Manager Johan Bruyneel, the most winning sports director in history with nine Tour de France victories, including seven with pro-cycling legend Lance Armstrong. The 2010 team was comprised of riders hailing from 16 countries, including Grand Tour leaders, Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, Andres Kloden, Jani Brajkovic (Slovenia) and Tiago Machado (Portugal).
"I'm glad to see we have the new race in Colorado – the Quiznos Pro Challenge. As the race has a privately funded title sponsor, I am convinced it will continue for years to come. U.S. and world cycling need such initiatives," said Bruyneel. "It is Team RadioShack's job to show our support, appreciation and enthusiasm for these companies and those who are working to bring an international race to Colorado. It is an honor for us to start in this race, but we are more ambitious. We will be there with a strong team and aim to win."
Liquigas-Cannondale is an Italian professional cycling team ranked second in the UCI ProTour for the third consecutive year. Sport team manager Roberto Amadio has many returning stars including Vincenzo Nibali, who took the overall victory at the 2010 Vuelta a Espana, and Ivan Basso, who earned his second career Giro d'Italia win in May.
Led by Bob Stapleton, the HTC-Highroad team has the most victories in professional cycling with 389 wins since 2008, nine national titles and six world champions on its 2011 roster. HTC-Highroad is comprised of top young talent with 19 riders under the age of 26 making it one of the youngest teams in professional cycling. The team represents national champions of Germany, USA, Sweden, Czech Republic, Ireland, Italy and Slovakia.
BMC Racing Team finished as one of the top 10 teams in the UCI world rankings, helping them earn ProTeam status for 2011. Competing in its fifth season overall, the team is managed by Directeur Sportif John Lelangue and includes former world road race champions Cadel Evans (Australia) and Alessandro Ballan (Italy), and U.S. national road champion George Hincapie. In addition to many 2010 wins, BMC Racing Team led both the Tour de France and the Giro d'Italia in its first participation in both events. As a recent addition, Colorado native and multi-time world and U.S. national champion Taylor Phinney will join the team's roster in 2011.
Headquartered in Boulder, Colo., Slipstream Sports and Team Garmin-Cervelo are managed by CEO and Director Sportif Jonathan Vaughters, a Denver resident who had a 10-year career as a professional cyclist. The 2011 team – a powerhouse in the peloton – includes Ryder Hesjedal, who earned seventh place overall at the 2010 Tour de France; sprint sensation Tyler Farrar; world champion Thor Hushovd and Christian Vande Velde.
The Quiznos Pro Challenge is most demanding professional bike race ever held in America, with racers experiencing breathless altitudes and nearly 600 mountain miles, for seven-straight days. The inaugural 2011 Quiznos Pro Challenge will take place August 22-28, traveling through some of the world's most famous and beautiful destinations, including Colorado Springs, Salida, Crested Butte, Gunnison, Aspen, Vail, Avon, Steamboat Springs, Breckenridge, Golden and Denver. 128 of the world's best professional cyclists from 16 teams, including Team RadioShack, HTC-Highroad, Slipstream Sports/Garmin-Cervelo and Liquigas-Cannondale, will be put to the test like never before.
The competition brings the high speeds, danger and adrenaline of professional cycling to heights more than two miles in elevation, across some of the most picturesque terrain in the world—the Colorado Rocky Mountains. In the months leading up to the race and throughout the live event, fans worldwide will be able to track their favorite cyclists like never before with the most advanced, interactive online, smartphone and broadcast television experience presented to date in professional cycling.
To keep in touch with the latest news and updates on the Quiznos Pro Challenge, visit www.quiznosprochallenge.com.
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