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The Tour of Utah has announced the provisional start lists for its men’s and women’s races, and both reigning champions will return to defend their titles — though they’ll face plenty of opposition.
2013 and 2014 Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah champion Tom Danielson (Cannondale-Garmin) will pursue a record third consecutive overall victory in the men’s race, which runs from August 3 to August 9. Joe Dombrowski, who was named the Best Young Rider and finished fourth overall at the 2012 Tour of Utah, will also make the start for Cannondale-Garmin.
“The Tour of Utah is one of the toughest races in the world. I am super proud to be two-time defending champion of this race,” said Danielson. “The state of Utah and the race are one of a kind and I look forward to coming back with my teammates to defend my title.”
Chris Horner, riding this year for Airgas Safeway Cycling, will be among those hoping to challenge Danielson’s recent dominance. The 43-year-old has been runner-up to Danielson two years in a row, and won a stage during his 2013 campaign.
Cannondale-Garmin is not the only WorldTour team making the start at the America Tour race, recently awarded an upgraded 2.HC rating. U.S. national champion Matthew Busche — Tour of Utah runner-up in 2012 — and Luxembourg’s Fränk Schleck will headline the Trek Factory Racing squad. Joey Rosskopf, winner of the mountains classification in 2014, and Michael Schär, stage winner last year, are set to represent BMC Racing.
South African Pro Continental team MTN-Qhubeka, which recently debuted in the Tour de France, will make its Tour of Utah debut this year led in the hunt for sprint victories by Matthew Goss, while Wouter Wippert of Australian Pro Continental team Drapac and 2014 points classification winner Jure Kocjan (SmartStop) will hope to oppose him in the bunch finishes. Janez Brajkovic will bid for the general classification from American Pro Continental squad UnitedHealthcare. 2013 Giro d’Italia king of the mountains Stefano Pirazzi and his Bardiani-CSF teammates Manuel Francesco Bongiorno and Edoardo Zardini will look for success on the climbs as well.
22-year-old American Coryn Rivera (UnitedHealthcare) will look to defend her title in the Tour of Utah Women’s Edition: Criterium Classic, which runs August 3 to August 4. She is currently ranked fifth in the individual standing of the USA Cycling National Criterium Calendar (NCC).
The rest of the current NCC top 10 will compete as well, among them points leader Erica Allar (LA Sweat) and U.S. criterium champion Kendall Ryan (Team TIBCO-SVB).
The starters in both the men’s and women’s races will be presented at the official team presentation August 1.