Colorado local to face tough competition in mountainous 'home' race

American Tejay van Garderen is set to defend his race title at the upcoming USA Pro Challenge that has this year attracted five WorldTour teams.

Van Garderen finished fifth overall at the Tour de France last month in what was his first stint as a Grand Tour leader at BMC and has raced San Sebastian, in which he placed 58th, in the interim to the August 18-24 ‘home’ event.

The 24-year-old is set to have strong support with Tour of Utah stage winner Michael Schar amongst those named on a provisional team line-up. Van Garderen however will face strong opposition in Ivan Basso (Cannondale) as well as Frank Schleck (Trek), Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo), not to mention title hopefuls from the four Professional Continental teams, including Leopold Konig (NetApp-Endura), and the seven Continental due to compete.

“I’m really looking forward to defending my race title in Colorado this year,” said van Garderen. “Because it starts in my hometown, it’s different and more relaxed. To race in front of my family and friends is always special. We are bringing a really motivated team and with a summit finish this year, it promises to be another hard race.”

The seven-stage event that traverses the Colorado Rockies will also mark popular German veteran Jens Voigt’s last race before retirement. It’s understood his team and technical sponsor Trek is to host a suitable party in Denver to acknowledge the super domestique’s long contribution to the sport.

“I chose the Pro Challenge as my final race because of the fans,” Voigt said. “The fans in Colorado love outdoor activities, so they are all experts. They know exactly how hard it is to go up those crazy-long climbs. It’s a beautiful state and I just always love the warm welcome and the support I get from the fans.”

For more information visit the USA Pro Challenge race website.