Defending champion Joe Dombrowski and 2013 Vuelta a España winner Chris Horner are among the riders expected at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah, the race announced Wednesday as it revealed 12 of the 16 teams that will attend the UCI 2.HC stage race August 1-7.
Of those 12 teams, four are WorldTour squads — BMC Racing, Cannondale, IAM Cycling, and Trek-Segafredo.
Two Pro Continental teams, UnitedHealthcare and Novo Nordisk, were also announced.
Horner’s Lupus Racing Team is one of six Continental teams to receive invitations. A two-time runner-up in Utah, Horner finished fifth overall last year while battling a chest infection.
A Horner-Dombrowski GC battle would be significant for the difference in their ages; Horner is 44, while Dombrowski is 24.
Other Continental teams invited are Axeon Hagens Berman, Holowesko-Citadel, Jamis, Jelly Belly-Maxxis, and Rally Cycling. All registered in the United States. Axeon Hagens Berman was the only Continental team to register a stage win at last year’s Tour of Utah, with Logan Owen taking Stage 3.
Four more teams will be announced at a later date.
Dombrowski (Cannondale) won the overall in 2015, assuming GC leadership after his teammate Tom Danielson left the event before it began due to a doping violation.
“The Tour of Utah was the highlight of my season, and thus far, probably one of the biggest highlights of my career,” Dombrowski said. “It was my first win of anything as a pro and my first general classification win for the overall and stage race. So it was really exciting for me,” Dombrowski said. “It has been billed as ‘America’s Toughest Stage Race,’ and that’s pretty accurate.”
Dombrowski’s Cannondale teammate Mike Woods won a stage and finished second overall at last year’s Tour of Utah while riding for Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies.
The Swiss IAM Cycling team will make its inaugural appearance at the Tour of Utah. In its second appearance at the Tour de France last year, IAM Cycling finished ninth overall in the team classification.
Returning for a third time to Utah is Trek-Segafredo. At last year’s race, Trek’s Fränk Schleck finished fourth on the general classification. BMC Racing captured four podium spots in 2015, with American Brent Bookwalter winning the sprint classification and finishing third on GC.
With the cancellation of the USA Pro Challenge, the Tour of Utah has taken on increased importance for American squads; the only other U.S stage race with a 2.HC classification is the Amgen Tour of California, which recently announced that it would have 10 WorldTour teams in this year’s edition.
This year’s race marks the 12th edition of the Tour of Utah, which is owned by Larry H. Miller Sports & Entertainment.
In 2015, the Tour of Utah was the only stage race in North America to feature start-to-finish live webcasting, viewed by users from 139 countries. More than 21 hours of national television coverage was provided by Fox Sports and Fox Sports Networks, including 14 hours of live racing.