Organizers of the American Eagle Outfitters Tour of Pennsylvania presented by Highmark Healthy High 5, named the Pennsylvania Lightning espoirs team as one of 20 national and international six-man teams selected to compete in the six-day, 450-mile race across the state from June 24 to 29.
Also named were international squads from Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada,Ireland, Netherlands, South Africa and Sweden and American teams from Arizona, California, Colorado, Minnesota, New England, New York, North Carolina and New England.
The Pennsylvania (PA) Lightning is an under-25 espoir cycling team which debuted in 2007 with just four cyclists and competed in over 40 American track and road events, with a dozen top-three finishes in elite and professional races from March through August.
The PA Lightning is managed by Pro Cycling Tour, organizers of major U.S. cycling events and is the official development squad of the Rite Aid Pro Cycling Team, Pennsylvania’s only registered professional cycling team. The team also has an affiliation with the Johan Bruyneel Cycling Academy in Belgium.
Two Pennsylvania riders are returning from the 2007 squad, Taylor Brown and Michael Chauner. Both are former junior national champions with international experience in road and track racing. They will be joined by fellow Pennsylvanians, Chris Ruhl, a four-time national champion and former junior world’s team member; Kyle Wagner, a former junior national team member with racing experience in Belgium, Canada and France, and newcomer Jeff Salvitti.
The team also includes Ben Showman, a West Point Cadet and number-one ranked rider in the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference, and Eric Chrabot, captain of the Virginia Tech cycling team who spent last season racing in Belgium. Several other American cyclists who have competed with the Johan Bruyneel Cycling Academy may also be named to the 2008 squad.
All of the PA Lightning team members are spending the early season representing their schools in intercollegiate events leading to the Intercollegiate National Championships in Ft. Collins, Colorado in mid-May. Official introduction of the team will take place at the Turkey Hill Country Classic in Washington Boro, Pennsylvania on May 3 and at the Memorial Hall Criterium in Philadelphia on May 4.
For more information, visit http://www.palightning.com/.