The Pro Cycling Challenge is notable in that it routinely draws some of the world's best riders, usually following appearances in the Tour de France. So while there is no shortage of cyclists we could tell you about, here are five to keep an eye on.
Eric Marcotte, USA, 34 years old
Dr. Eric Marcotte is a chiropractor from Scottsdale, Ariz., who in May just happened to become the 2014 U.S. Pro Road National Champion. Racing for Team SmartStop, Marcotte hopes, as reported by cyclingnews.com, to get "into the winning move" at the USA Pro Challenge. "That opportunity," he says, "may come on the testing Colorado Springs circuit on stage 4."
Tejay van Garderen, USA, 26 years old
A resident of Aspen, Tejay van Garderen has all but owned the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, having finished third in 2011 and second in 2012, before winning it outright in 2013 — in addition to winning the Tour of California — as a member of BMC Racing Team. This year, he comes back home fresh off a fifth-place finish in the Tour de France.
Rafal Majka, Poland, 24 years old
Rafal Majka is a rising star. He's the first Pole to win a jersey in the Tour de France — the polka-dotted "King of the Mountains" jersey — and is fresh off an overall victory in the Tour de Pologne. He races for the Russian team Tinkoff-Saxo, seizing an opening created by the injury of teammate and two-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador.
Ivan Basso, Italy, 36 years old
Ivan "the Terrible" Basso races for the Cannondale Pro Cycling Team. He's twice won the Giro d'Italia, one of three Grand Tours, which includes the Tour de France, but has recently struggled. Regarding the Pro Challenge, he told VeloNews on Aug. 12: "My ambition is always high, but it is difficult to say that I will [stay with the best riders] when you don't have any good results in the last [several] months."
Fränk Schleck, Luxembourg, 34 years old
Racing for Trek Factory Racing once again after a one-year ban for testing positive for Xipamide (a diuretic), the venerable Fränk Schleck is on the back side of a cycling career that's seen considerable success, especially in mountain stages. Cycling's in his blood, with his father Johny having raced professionally in the '60s and '70s and his brother Andy winning the Tour de France in 2010.
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