LOS ANGELES–Amgen Tour of California organizers have selected 16 teams from among the best international and domestic squads to compete in the country’s largest professional road cycling stage race May 12 to 19. With full rosters yet to be announced, the field will include Olympic medalists, Tour de France competitors and the reigning world champion.
This year’s event will be headlined by eight of the world’s top ranking Pro Teams along with UCI Pro Continental and Continental squads, collectively representing nine countries. Included among the American teams are the top two U.S. Pro Teams: BMC Racing Team of Santa Rosa, Calif., whose roster includes current world road champion Philippe Gilbert of Belgium, and eight-time* participant Team Garmin-Sharp of Denver, which will be defending its record-setting three Overall Team Standings wins.
Returning for their sixth year of California competition are Belgium’s top team Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team and Italy’s top professional team Cannondale Pro Cycling. Other top World Tour teams selected include perennial powerhouse RADIOSHACK LEOPARD TREK of Luxembourg, whose roster includes 2011 Amgen Tour of California champion Chris Horner of Bend, Ore., Australia’s top team ORICA-GreenEDGE, Denmark’s top professional team Team Saxo-Tinkoff, and Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team from the Netherlands.
“The Amgen Tour of California consistently attracts the world’s elite teams and riders, and has become one of the most important races on the international calendar,” said Kristin Bachochin, executive director of the race and senior vice president of AEG Sports. “With our eighth edition this year, we are honored to again host one of the top fields ever assembled in a spectacular showcase for cycling fans in California and around the world.”
UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team of Oakland, Calif., the top American-based Pro Continental team, will compete alongside Germany’s Team NetApp – Endura and China’s top squad Champion System Pro Cycling Team in their Amgen Tour of California debut. Also announced to the lineup are some of the United States’ top Continental squads: BISSELL Pro Cycling, the winningest team in the National Racing Calendar (NRC) in 2012; Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies; Team Jamis – Hagens Berman; Bontrager Cycling Team; and 5-hour Energy presented by Kenda Racing.
“This year’s Amgen Tour of California will be awesome,” said Peter Sagan, Cannondale Pro Cycling, winner of five stages at the 2012 Amgen Tour of California. “I had an amazing experience last year and from the looks of the route this year, there are some incredible stages and sprints I can’t wait to take on.” Several teams returning this year have made many prior appearances, including seven-time participant BMC Racing Team, which in addition to Gilbert, will race Tejay van Garderen, the top American finisher in the 2012 Tour de France (5th overall).
“The Amgen Tour of California is a big objective of mine because it’s not very often that we get to race in front of a home crowd. So I’m really going to relish that,” said Tejay van Garderen, BMC Racing Team. “If we can go into the hometown of the BMC Racing Team (Santa Rosa) on the last day in the leader’s jersey, that would be a special feeling. I’d love to be able to do that and to pay back the team for the support it’s given to me. To get the reception of the crowd in a situation like that would definitely be a career highlight.”
The race will wind through some of California’s most demanding – and scenic – roads and serve as a preview of key contests, including the Tour de France. This year, worldwide fans will get a new perspective on nearly 750-mile course. In February, organizers announced that for the first time, the 2013 Amgen Tour of California will run from south to north and provide new challenges for the athletes.
“As the biggest stage race in the U.S., the Amgen Tour of California continues to provide our cyclists with a challenging and exciting competition, and our North American and Asian athletes are looking forward to the test,” said Ed Beamon, General Manager, Champion System Pro Cycling Team. “This year will be over-the-top, literally, with several grueling climbs and a mountaintop finish at Mount Diablo.”
The race will begin in Escondido on May 12, north of San Diego proper, and will conclude on May 19 in Santa Rosa in the San Francisco Bay Area. Teams will cover a full range of challenging terrain as they speed through some of California’s most majestic and iconic highways, bridges, roadways and coastlines to claim stages in 12 official host cities.
“Every year the organizers of the Amgen Tour of California take it up a notch with a route that challenges cyclists and gives fans an incredible event,” said Team Garmin-Sharp’s Tyler Farrar, an elite cyclist who has won stages at all three Grand Tours. “I’m really looking forward to racing again on the West Coast with some of the best riders in the world, and I’m excited about this year’s route, especially the Santa Barbara stage and the final stage in Santa Rosa.”
“The Amgen Tour of California is the jewel of U.S. racing. I’m very excited that the 5-hr Energy presented by Kenda Racing Team will compete in this year’s race,” said Frankie Andreu, the team’s Director Sportif. “The new route will be challenging and should be great for the fans. We look forward to taking our shot at winning one of the stages or a coveted jersey.”
Also this year, the third annual Amgen Tour of California Women’s Time Trial Race, presented by SRAM, will take place in San Jose on Friday, May 17, just prior to the men’s Stage 6 individual time trial. The invitation-only women’s time trial will use the same course as the men and will offer a $10,000 prize.
The 2013 Amgen Tour of California roster includes:
- BMC Racing Team, USA
- Cannondale Pro Cycling, Italy
- Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team, Belgium
- ORICA GreenEDGE, Australia
- RADIOSHACK LEOPARD TREK, Luxembourg
- Team Garmin-Sharp, USA
- Team Saxo-Tinkoff, Denmark
- Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team, The Netherlands
UCI Professional Continental Teams:
- Champion System Pro Cycling Team, China
- Team NetApp-Endura, Germany
- UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team, USA
UCI Continental Teams:
- 5-hour ENERGY presented by Kenda Racing Team, USA
- BISSELL Pro Cycling, USA
- Bontrager Cycling Team, USA
- Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies, USA
- Team Jamis – Hagens Berman, USA
Cycling fans can experience the excitement of America’s biggest professional stage race up close and personal by becoming a race volunteer. Race organizers are looking to fill nearly 5,000 volunteer positions. Registration and further information about the various duties available are now online at www.AmgenTourofCalifornia.com.