April 7, 2006 — Renowned sprinter Robbie McEwen (AUS) of Davitamon-Lotto , current No.1 ProTour rider Floyd Landis (USA) of the Phonak Hearing Systems, and defending champion Tom Danielson (USA) of Discovery Channel Pro Cycling team headline the field of professional cyclists who will compete at the 2006 Ford Tour de Georgia. Event organizers, Medalist Sports, announced today the 8-man rosters for each of the 15 teams, comprised of six ProTour teams, two U.S.-based Professional Continental teams and seven Continental teams from the America Tour .
“The Ford Tour de Georgia continues to attract the best professional cyclists in the world. This year race fans will see some unbelievable talent, with competition from Grand Tour riders like Floyd Landis, Robbie McEwen, Yaroslav Popovych, and David Zabriskie. There are a total of 22 countries represented this year by the 120-man field,” Chris Aronhalt, project director for the Tour and managing partner of Medalist Sports.
Danielson enters his third year of professional racing, including an eighth place finish in the 2005 Vuelta a Espana. Other members of the Discovery team to watch are Trent Lowe (AUS), winner of the GE Best Young Rider jersey at the 2005 Tour de Georgia while riding for Jittery Joe’s , Yaroslav Popovych (UKR) winner of the Best Young Rider award at the 2005 Tour de France, and Viatcheslav Ekimov (RUS), the 2000 Olympic Games time trial gold medalist and 14-time veteran of the Tour de France.
Landis has hit form early this year winning both Paris-Nice and the inaugural Amgen Tour of California. He finished third overall in the 2005 Tour de Georgia, including a win in the individual time trial. Teammate Robert Hunter of South Africa is one of Phonak’s best riders, and won the first stage of the Tour de Georgia last year.
McEwen, in his 11th professional season, is a sprint specialist who has won 16 Grand Tour stages. Also look for American sprinter Fred Rodriguez on the Davitamon-Lotto team, returning for what promises to be an exciting follow-up to his 2003 Tour de Georgia visit where he won two stages.
Team CSC was the top-ranked UCI ProTour team in 2005 and brings a strong team to Georgia for the third consecutive year. This Danish team will bring American David Zabriskie to Georgia, a General Classification contender who wore the yellow jersey in the 2005 Tour de France and won the Stage 8 individual time trial in the Giro d’Italia. He will be joined by teammate Brian Vandborg of Germany, who won a stage in the 2005 Tour de Georgia.
Belgian giant Team Quick Step-Innergetic came away with at least one stage win in all three of the Grand Tours and five of the Classics last year, and also has the current world champion titles for time trial and road racing. Quick Step has sponsored professional cycling teams in Europe for years, and its teams have competed in the Tour de France for six consecutive years. The Ford Tour de Georgia marks the first big race on American soil for the Quick Step team, who will have American-Italian Guido Trenti, who has represented the U.S. at the world championships and is a stage winner from the Vuelta a Espana (2001).
Prodir-Saunier Duval will bring two newcomers to their roster this year, American Aaron Olson, who was a standout on the Under-23 U.S. National Team, and Charles Dionne, the Canadian National Champion and two-time winner of the T-Mobile International Pro Cycling race in San Francisco.
For a complete roster for each team and a look at the team jerseys, visit the official event website, www.fordtourdegeorgia.com.