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.
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
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
Successful Living Presented by Parkpre
Toyota/United Pro Cycling Team
UCI Women’s Teams
Colavita/Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light
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."