Tejay Van Garderen aims for USA Pro Challenge win

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Tejay Van Garderen will ride in the USA Pro Challenge with the hope of defending his title, whilst Jens Voigt will bid farewell to professional cycling after competing in the event.

Van Garderen won the 2013 race and will look to win it again this year after coming out of the Tour de France in good spirits.

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The BMC rider finished fifth in the overall standings at the Tour which was a great achievement seeing it was the first time he had led team BMC in a major race.

The American replaced Cadel Evans as the team leader for the Tour after Evans announced he would only be racing in the Giro d'Italia this year.

Strong support team

Van Garderen will be supported by a strong team in America including Michael Schar but retaining his title will not be a formality. Five World Tour teams will feature in the seven stage race and these teams will include riders such as Rafal Majka who won the King of the Mountains classification at the Tour de France and Cannondale's Ivan Basso.

Van Garderen admits the race will be hard this year but he can't wait to race in front of his friends and family as the race starts in his hometown.

The 24 year old said, according to Cycling Weekly: "I'm really looking forward to defending my race title in Colorado this year.

“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.”

Voigt's last race

The USA Pro Challenge will also mark Jens Voigt's last race before retirement from the sport.

Voigt has ridden in every Tour de France since 1998 and only failed to make it to Paris three times. This year the German finished in 108th place.

The 42 year old explained why he decided to ride his final race in America and admits it was because of the fans.

“I chose the Pro Challenge as my final race because of the fans. 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.”

I think every cycling fan would like to see Voigt's career end on a high and it is quite possible that he could win the Pro Challenge.

The USA Pro Challenge starts on the 18th August and ends on the 24th August.

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