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USA Cycling - 21 UCI Sanctioned Teams
 
By Staff
Date: 12/30/2006
USA Cycling - 21 UCI Sanctioned Teams
 

USA Cycling - 21 UCI Sanctioned Teams
New teams and a drive for a ProTour event driven by growth in National Calendar Events and Grassroots growth as cycling grows in North America.

USA Cycling recently announced the roster of 21 UCI-sanctioned teams that will compete on the domestic and international scene in 2007. Next season’s lineup includes one UCI ProTour squad, three Professional Continental teams, 13 Continental outfits and four women’s teams.

ProTour & Pro Continental Teams
The Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team headlines the roster as the only UCI ProTour team again in 2007 while the Health Net Pro Cycling Team presented by Maxxis and the Navigators Insurance Cycling Team return to the fold as Professional Continental squads. In addition to the returning pair, Team Slipstream powered by Chipotle, formerly TIAA-CREF, makes the jump to Pro Continental status after being a Continental team in 2006.

Continental Teams
The 13 Continental teams include 10 incumbents and three new programs. Returning to the fray in 2007 are AEG-Toshiba-JetNetwork Pro Cycling Team, Colavita/Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light, Jelly Belly Cycling Team, The Jittery Joe’s Pro Cycling Team, KodakGallery Pro Cycling/Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Nerac Pro Cycling, Priority Health/Bissell, Rite Aid Pro Cycling, Successful Living/Parkpre and Toyota/United Pro Cycling Team.

Three New Continental squads
BMC Racing Team, Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast and Rock Racing.

4 New Women's Pro Teams
Last year’s only American women’s UCI squad, T-Mobile, is now registered as a German team in conjunction with the men’s program, but four new teams have registered as internationally-sanctioned squads. Cheerwine, Colavita/Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light, TEAm Lipton and Verducci Breakaway Racing are all UCI-registered teams for 2007.

In the United States, men’s teams will compete primarily in the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar (NRC), the inaugural USA Cycling Professional Tour and USA Cycling National Championship races. Women’s squads will focus on the NRC which includes several national championship and UCI-sanctioned events. USA Cycling announced plans this week to pursue the first-ever UCI ProTour event on American soil.

2007 UCI-Sanctioned American Teams
UCI ProTour Teams
Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team

UCI Professional Continental Teams
Health Net Pro Cycling Team presented by Maxxis
Navigators Insurance Cycling Team
Team Slipstream powered by Chipotle

UCI Continental Teams
AEG – Toshiba – JetNetwork Pro Cycling Team
BMC Racing Team
Colavita/Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light
Jelly Belly Cycling Team
The Jittery Joe’s Pro Cycling Team
Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast
KodakGallery Pro Cycling Team Presented by Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Nerac Pro Cycling
Priority Health Cycling Team Presented by Bissell
Rite Aid Pro Cycling
Rock Racing
Successful Living Presented by Parkpre
Toyota/United Pro Cycling Team

UCI Women’s Teams
Cheerwine
Colavita/Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light
TEAm Lipton
Verducci Breakaway Racing

USACycling Lobbies for ProTour Events
Although professional cycling is facing some challenging times internationally, from the well-publicized struggle between the UCI and the organizers of the Grand Tours to the infighting of the UCI ProTour teams to the ongoing fight against doping in sport, professional cycling in the United States has enjoyed unprecedented growth. The future is so bright, USA Cycling has its sights set on and strongly believes the U.S. will have a UCI ProTour race in the very near future.

Steve Johnson, chief executive officer of USA Cycling, shared his thoughts on the organization's goals and vision for professional men's cycling.
"(UCI President) Pat McQuaid and the UCI have made clear their intention to truly globalize professional cycling and expand the highest level of the sport beyond its traditional Western European borders," said Johnson. "This forward-looking vision and direction from the UCI is exactly what is required for professional cycling to reach new markets and grow in stature and popularity worldwide. We are very supportive of the vision for the sport expressed by Mr. McQuaid and believe that the U.S. is perfectly positioned and prepared to be a player in the expansion of the ProTour outside of its present structure."

"Frankly, I think the continued expansion of professional cycling into the global marketplace will benefit the entire sport. By way of example, the sport of cycling clearly benefited from the tremendous awareness that Lance Armstrong created as he captured the entire world's imagination by winning seven Tours de France. It's hard to ignore the obvious synergy between the increased world-wide interest in the Tour de France and Lance's remarkable story."

"Domestically, this newfound awareness for the sport has translated into more bike racers, new sponsors and the creation of new world-class events, including the Tour de Georgia and the Amgen Tour of California. Ultimately, all of this activity feeds back to support the continued growth of the sport and create opportunities for more professional riders"

One important aspect of the UCI's plans to globalize the sport of cycling was the creation of the "Continental Tours" in 2005. Since that time, USA cycling has worked to grow the number of UCI pro men's road events, adding six new races for 2007 alone.

"Ultimately, our healthy calendar of top-level international events attracts ProTour teams and the best riders in the world, creating a showcase for the highest level of professional racing in the U.S. and providing the opportunity for our athletes to compete against the world's best on American soil."

The steady increase in the number of UCI races and continuing growth in the number and sophistication of domestic professional teams was the impetus for the creation of the inaugural "USA Cycling Professional Tour," which is a separate ranking to recognize the UCI trade teams in the domestic UCI race calendar.

"In my mind, one of the most exciting developments with the new events in the U.S. is that, in many cases, important people at the state level are seeing the opportunity to promote tourism through the production of a world class bike race," said Johnson. "The state of Georgia was one of the first to really get behind their race and push the state-supported model. Subsequently, the states of California, Missouri and Utah have seen the benefits of cycling and all have made major commitments to support bike racing. Lately, we have heard from several other states very interested in promoting major stage races. We believe the partnership of the states in cycling events is very important for the growth of the sport and will create a much more sustainable model in the long-run."

"All levels of the competition pyramid for road cycling are very strong in the U.S., from our 2,500 sanctioned grassroots events, to our National Racing Calendar events, to the UCI America Tour events," said Johnson. "The next logical step for the U.S. is to host a ProTour event. As a country, I think we have proven we can provide a racing experience worthy of ProTour consideration. More importantly, as one of the five original founding countries in the UCI, we are very excited by the potential for professional bike racing to continue to develop in the U.S. and the rest of the world; and I strongly support Pat McQuaid as he works to develop his vision of a global sport."
 

 
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