Tour de l'Avenir draws world's top U23 talent to France

Colorado Springs, Colorado (September 3, 2010) — The USA Cycling National Development Program will field six of the country's top under-23 talent at the upcoming Tour de l'Avenir. The group, who have logged hundreds of days of European race experience with USA Cycling's NDP between them, should be among the favorites to win the Tour of the Future, the U23 equivalent of the Tour de France.

A 7.8-kilometer prologue kicks off the 47th edition of the Tour de l'Avenir on Sunday, September 5, in Vierzon in central France. The peloton will then make its way southeast over the course of seven stages, ending on September 12 with a 13.5 km individual time trial that is almost entirely uphill to the Alpine resort town of Risoul.

The Tour de l'Avenir's history, though varied, has been mainly one as a race for amateurs. In 1981 organizers first allowed professionals to participate. The following year Greg LeMond became the only American to win the overall classification. The race shifted to a U25 format in 1992 before eventually lowering the age range to the current U23.

In 2009, Tejay Van Garderen finished second overall, the highest American finish since LeMond.

Putting the rubber to the road for the USA Cycling National Development Program on Sunday will be:

Ian Boswell (Bend, Ore./BISSELL Pro Cycling Team) — At just 19, Boswell finished third overall at the recent Tour of Utah, where he claimed the Best Young Rider jersey. He also won this year's Nevada City Classic and had two top-10 stage finishes at the Cascade Classic.

Chris Butler (Hilton Head Island, SC/BMC Racing Team) — From a Cat. 5 collegiate freshman in 2007 to finishing the Tour of California this past May, the 22-year-old Butler has had a quick rise to the pro ranks. A climbing specialist, Butler will be one to watch in France.

Alex Howes (Boulder, Colo./Team Holowesko Partners) — In 2009, Howes doubled as the USA Cycling U23 national champion in both the road race and criterium. This year, at 22, he was runner-up at the U23 road nationals to l'Avenir teammate Ben King.

Ben King (North Garden, VA/Trek-LIVESTRONG) — The reigning U23 national champion in the road race and criterium, the 21-year-old King also scored golds at this year's Pan American Games in the U23 road race and time trial.

Taylor Phinney (Boulder, Colo./Trek-LIVESTRONG) — A two-time individual pursuit world champion on the track, Phinney won this year's U23 Paris-Roubaix and the Olympia's Tour in Holland. Only 20 years old, he was recently chosen to ride as a stagiaire for Team RadioShack.

Andrew Talansky (Napa, Calif./Cal Giant Berry Farms-Specialized) — The 21-year-old Talansky had a strong June, finishing second overall at the Volta Tarragona in Spain, winning a stage of the Tour de Pays Savoie, and claiming the USA Cycling U23 Time Trial National Championship.

For more information, visit the official Tour de l'Avenir site.

About USA Cycling's National Development Programs
One of USA Cycling's dual missions is to achieve sustained success in international cycling competition. To that end, USA Cycling maintains development programs for all disciplines of competitive cycling, including men's and women's U25 and junior road; mountain bike; track (endurance and sprint) and BMX development programs. These programs provide a structured pathway to the top tier of the sport through athlete development that begins with Junior racing series, Regional Development Camps and racing and moves through to international competition. For more about USA Cycling's Athlete Development Programs, click here.

This Article Published September 3, 2010 For more information contact: