Garmin-Sharp, a top pro American team, provided the 2012 USA Pro Challenge winner in Christian Vande Velde. The squad was originally founded as a development squad by CEO Jonathan Vaughters. Over the years the team has evolved from a group of promising U.S. riders to one of the top teams in the pro peloton, all while staying true to its roots. The squad now has athletes from various parts of the world, including some of the top young talent in the sports, including the likes of Aussie Rohan Dennis, who recently led France’s Criterium du Duaphine.
Last year, the team earned its first Grand Tour in the Giro d’Italia with Ryder Hesjedal of Canada. It also won a team time trial victory. The past two years in 2011 and 2012 have been banner years. In 2011 the team won the Team Classification and four stages at the Tour de France (including the Team Time Trial) and held the yellow jersey for several stages. The team also won the 2011 edition of monument Paris-Roubaix. 2012 also brought a stage win at the Tour de France and an overall victory at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. Team Garmin-Sharp has kicked off 2013 with young American Andrew Talansky winning Stage 2 of Paris-Nice and taking the leader's jersey.
The team animated the 2012 USA Pro Challenge, led by Tom Danielson, who attacked from the gun on Stage 1 and again during the Queen’s stage, riding solo into Aspen for a stage win. Vande Velde won the final stage, a time trial, on the final day to come from behind to defeat 2011 champion Levi Leipheimer.
Hometown: North Garden, VA
Ben King came to everyone’s attention with his gutsy win at the 2010 US Pro Road Race Championship in Greenville, South Carolina. The Trek-Livestrong rider was part of an early break and survived until the end, earning the stars and stripes jersey.
This was not the first national jersey for King. In 2010 he was both U-23 road and criterium national champion.
In 2011 he transferred to the RadioShack-Nissan team and won the young rider classification at the Tour of Beijing. In addition to Beijing, King raced some of the classics such as Scheldeprijs and Paris-Roubaix. He ended his season with a solid ride at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.
The former national road champion started his 2012 European campaign backing RadioShack-Nissan’s strong riders in such races as the Critérium International and Vuelta al Pais Vasco. He was also part of the RadioShack-Nissan roster for the Amgen Tour of California.