March 20, 2008 (Atlanta, Ga.) – With a surge in the number of teams requesting invitations to race in Georgia in April, the management company for the Tour de Georgia presented by AT&T, Medalist Sports, has announced the elite field of 15 teams. With eight riders on each team, a total of 120 professional cyclists will compete in the 600-mile, seven-day event (April 21-27, 2008), beginning just 31 days from today.
Rounding out this year’s field are one additional ProTour team and six Continental teams: Saunier Duval-Scott (Pro Tour team from Spain), Symmetrics Cycling Team (Canada), Health Net presented by Maxxis (USA), Jelly Belly Cycling Team (USA), Team Type 1 (USA), Toyota United Professional Cycling Team (USA) and the GE/Marco Polo Cycling Team presented by Trek (China). These teams complement the eight announced in February.
The final field of 15 teams in this year’s Tour de Georgia presented by AT&T are:
UCI Pro Tour
– Astana Cycling Team (Luxembourg)
– Saunier Duval-Scott (Spain)
– Team CSC (Denmark)
– Team High Road (USA)
– Team Gerolsteiner (Germany)
UCI Professional Continental
– BMC Racing Team (USA)
– Slipstream/Chipotle presented by H30 (USA)
Continental — UCI America Tour
– Bissell Pro Cycling (USA)
– Health Net presented by Maxxis (USA)
– Jelly Belly Cycling Team (USA)
– Jittery Joe’s Professional Cycling Team (USA)
– Symmetrics Cycling Team (Canada)
– Team Type 1 (USA)
– Toyota-United Professional Cycling Team (USA)
Continental — UCI Asia Tour
– GE/Marco Polo Cycling Team presented by Trek (China)
“This is not only the most international field we have had at Georgia, but one of the most elite as well. Usually you only see names like Hincapie, Zabriskie, Leipheimer and Millar at the Grand Tours. Now you will see them at the Tour de Georgia presented by AT&T. We have many teams from across the U.S. and Europe that we just could not accommodate,” said Jim Birrell, managing partner of Medalist Sports and race director for the Tour de Georgia presented by AT&T.
This year’s diverse, 600-mile route, announced last week, will traverse from the shores of Tybee Island, to the Blue Ridge mountains, and back to the streets of Atlanta. A number of teams have been drawn to this event because of the scheduling on the calendar, looking to make an impact this summer on the European circuit. The Team Time Trial, a discipline most commonly found in the European Grand Tours, and never before included in the Tour de Georgia presented by AT&T, is slated for Stage 4 at Road Atlanta.
“We will be bringing our ‘A’ team to the Tour de Georgia. The team time trial will give us a unique opportunity to showcase the depth of our squad. I am now on an American team and it will be great to race against top European races here,” said pro cyclist David Millar, member of Team Slipstream/Chipotle presented by H30, regarding the strong field coming to Georgia.
Highlights of the new teams announced
Spanish team Saunier-Duval Scott, ranked 6th in the ProTour at the end of 2007 and winners of the team classification in last year’s Giro d’Italia, is home to 2007 Tour de Georgia 3rd and 4th place finishers David Canada (ESP) and Rubens Bertogliati (SUI), both of whom are also Tour de France veterans. Last year, the team captured third at the Tour de Georgia.
The Symmetrics Cycling Team of Canada is the 2007 UCI America Tour Team Champion, and is led by Svein Tuft (CAN), the 2007 UCI America Tour Champion. Canadian Eric Wohlberg, a three-time Olympian and eight-time Canadian National Time Trial Champion also is a member of this team that placed first in the Team Time Trial, and overall, at the 2007 Tour of El Salvador.
No. 1 NRC-ranked American squad HealthNet presented by Maxxis won the 17.1 km Team Time Trial at the 2007 International Tour de Toona, and placed second to the Discovery Channel Professional Cycling Team on overall Team GC at the 2007 Tour de Georgia. The team includes New Zealander Rory Sutherland, the No. 1 ranked individual in the 2007 NRC standings, and American Tim Johnson.
The colorful Jelly Belly Professional Cycling Team (USA), sponsored by the infamous jelly bean company, includes Athens, Ga. resident Nick Reistad, who took first in the 2007 Georgia Cup, and is a former Wisconsin time trial champion. The team will also benefit this year from the experience of two new additions, Brad Huff and Michael Lange.
Team Type 1 (USA), a first year professional squad, makes its debut on American soil at this year’s Tour de Georgia. In its first professional outing of 2008 at the Tour de Langkawi, the team placed second overall. Australians Matt Wilson, a former National Road Champion, and Glen Chadwick, along with American Jesse Anthony lead this squad. Type 1 stands for Type 1 diabetes; the team objective is to draw attention to diabetes and the positive impact a healthy, active lifestyle can have in preventing the disease.
American Chris Baldwin, former U.S. time trial champion, sprinter Ivan Dominguez of Cuba, and UCI B 2007 World Champion Ivan Stevic of Serbia make the Toyota-United Professional Cycling Team (USA) one to watch. Second overall in the 2007 NRC standings, the team is also home to Dominic Rollin of Canada who finished first in the sprint competition at this year’s Amgen Tour of California.
Lending a truly international flavor to this year’s race is the GE Marco Polo Cycling Team presented by Trek, a team based out of China. The Chinese squad will be making its American debut at the Tour de Georgia. Leading the roster is Fuyu Li, a transfer from the Discovery Channel Professional Cycling Team, who expects to represent his home country in the Beijing Olympic Games this summer. The team also features Dutch athletes Bart Brentjens, a former Olympic, world and mountain bike champion, and Leon van Bon, an Olympic and world road champion. Other members of the team should be Russian sprinter Sergey Kudentsov, currently ranked fifth on the UCI Asia Tour, and Australians Jai Crawford and Rhys Pollock.