Home: Gallarate, Italy
Italian Ivan Basso is a national sports hero in his home country of Italy. The 2006 and 2010 winner of the Tour of Italy, considered by many to be the second biggest race in the world, Basso will enter the 2012 USA Pro Challenge as its team leader. A notoriously strong climber, especially on steep grades, Basso remains one of the top all around riders on the world's Pro Tour. Basso has won an amazing eight stages of the Tour of Italy but also has one a stage of the Tour de France. He has finished twice on the podium of the Tour de France (3rd, 2003; 2nd, 2004). Basso has consistently won races throughout his career throughout Italy but actually notched his first big win outside his native country at the 1998 Under-23 World Championships. In 2011, Basso entered the USA Pro Challenge with hopes of a stage win, narrowly missing on the stage into Breckenridge with Andy Schleck one of his breakaway companions.
Hometown: Boulder, CO
This is Timmy Duggan’s second season on the Liquigas-Cannondale squad and he is showing his worth to the Italian squad.
Many people are calling this his breakthrough season. At the Amgen Tour of California he was constantly at the front during several of the stages. He followed that strong showing in the Golden State with a solo win at the US Pro road race championships in Greenville, South Carolina. Not long after he was selected for the Olympic squad for the London Games. However, Duggan hasn’t always had it this easy.
In the 2008 Tour de Georgia he crashed heavily in stage 3 resulting in a traumatic brain injury. There was concern that he wouldn’t be the same person again, let alone race a bike. He didn’t return to racing until the following year at Australia’s Tour Down Under.
Off the bike Duggan, along with his friend Ian Mac Gregor, started the Just Go Harder Foundation, a 501©3 non-profit organization creating scholarships that give kids an opportunity to get involved and find mentors in cycling and skiing.
Duggan is sure to be along side team leader Vincenzo Nibali throughout the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.
Hometown: Mastromarco, Italy
Nicknamed “The Shark” Vincenzo Nibali was third in the junior world time trial championships in 2002 and third again in the U-23 time trial championships in 2005. In his first Giro d’Italia Nibali finished in 19th place, showing his ability to be a future grand tour winner.
In the 2011 season Nibali was focused on his Italian national tour. It started off with a fifth place overall in Tirreno-Adriatico and an eighth in both the one-day classics Milan-San Remo and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. In the Giro he finished third in the overall general classification, but was advanced to second after winner Alberto Contador was disqualified. Skipping the Tour de France, he was the leader of the team at the Vuelta a España finishing seventh overall.
In 2012 the roles were reversed for Nabali as he was now focused on the Tour de France rather than the Giro. Once again the start of his season included a overall win at Tirreno-Adriatico, second at the Tour of Oman, third in Milan-San Remo and second in Liège–Bastogne–Liège. Just before lining up for the Tour de France, Nibali finished the Amgen Tour of California in 32nd place overall and the Critérium du Dauphiné in 28th. These performances put him on the short list of potential winners at the Tour.
While Englishman Bradley Wiggins (Sky) dominated the three week race, Nabali was always a rider to watch. Stage 6 of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, with over 10,000 feet of climbing, could be where the Italian shows his climbing skills to the American fans.