FORT COLLINS, Colo. (VN)_ Five of the world’s top 18 squads will take to the roads of Colorado for the inaugural Quiznos Pro Challenge in 2011. Race organizers announced Wednesday that Team RadioShack, Liquigas-Cannondale, HTC-HighRoad, Garmin-Cervelo and BMC Racing will start the week-long, UCI 2.1 stage race on August 22.
“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,” said general manager Ellen Kramer.
Each of the five ProTeam licensed squads holds domestic interests, four of them registered in the U.S. Italian-registered Liquigas-Cannondale has signed Americans Tim Duggan and Ted King. The Garmin-Cervelo squad, based in Boulder, Colorado, was the third-ranked team in the UCI’s recently published sporting hierarchy and includes world champion Thor Hushovd.
RadioShack’s Levi Leipheimer rang off three Amgen Tour of California wins between 2007 and 2009 and HTC-HighRoad’s Michael Rogers stood atop the final ATOC podium in 2010. Leipheimer recently told VeloNews that he is interested in taking the start in Colorado Springs, while Rogers left HTC in the off-season for Team Sky. Another rider looking to the QPC startline is BMC’s George Hincapie, who has expressed his desire to ride in the first-year event in what may be the multiple-time U.S. road champion’s final season.
Race organizers at Medalist Sports continue to review Pro Continental and Continental teams ahead of an expanded invitation announcement. “We have had so many ProTour and Pro Continental teams lining up to compete in Colorado next year,” said Jim Birrell, Managing Partner of Medalist Sports. “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.”
The inaugural Quiznos Pro Challenge will take place August 22-28, 2011 in Colorado.