“Most prestigious field of talent ever’ confirmed for Tour of California
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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

“Most prestigious field of talent ever’ confirmed for Tour of California

by VeloNation Press at 12:03 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of California
Eight UCI ProTeams named as part of 2012 lineup

Chris HornerA total of eight UCI ProTeams have been confirmed as taking part in this year’s Amgen Tour of California, with those teams making up precisely half of the sixteen-team lineup for the 2.HC race.

Starting on May 13th and running for eight days, the event is in its seventh edition and will see strong field compete for the top prize.

American squads Garmin Barracuda and the BMC Racing Team are two of the eight; so too RadioShack Nissan, which is linked to last year’s similarly-named squad, which won the race with Chris Horner.

Now registered in Luxembourg and being an evolution of the Leopard Trek squad, the defending champion will likely be part of the lineup for the race. So too fan favourite Jens Voigt and US road race champion Matthew Busche.

Three-time winner Levi Leipheimer is also expected to return, and will be determined to improve on his runner-up slot behind then-teammate Horner last year. He is now with the Omega Pharma Quick Step team, which may opt to bring former world champion Tom Boonen, as it has done in the past.

The remaining four WorldTour teams are the Rabobank team of Robert Gesink, twice the best young rider in the race, the Australian GreenEdge squad, Italians Liquigas-Cannondale and the French team Ag2r La Mondiale.

There’s no place for teams like Saxo Bank and Sky Procycling, which both competed there last year. It’s not immediately clear if they were refused or opted not to ride, but Saxo Bank’s links to the American Specialized company make it unlikely that the team turned down an invitation.

Four UCI ProContinental teams have also been given a green light, namely the Canadian Team Spidertech C10 squad, the American UnitedHealthcare team, Dutch setup Project 1t4i and the new Colombia-Coldeportes team.

Team Type 1 and Champion System appear both to have been overlooked.

Four UCI Continental teams complete the lineup, all of whom come from the USA. They are Team Optum/Kelly Benefit Strategies, Bissell Pro Cycling, Team Exergy and the Bontrager Livestrong Team.

According to the organisers, the teams will ‘include Olympic hopefuls and Tour de France contenders representing more than 20 countries, giving fans around the world a preview of what is to come in July in both France and London.’

The rider lineup will be confirmed closer to the event but today’s communication from the organisers namechecks a number of riders, inferring that at least some of them will take part.

This list includes the Garmin Barraduda duo of Tom Danielson and Dave Zabriskie, who last year took third overall and a time trial victory between them, former US champion George Hincapie and his BMC Racing team-mate Tejay Van Garderen, who was fifth last year, Rabobank’s Laurens Ten Dam and Luis Leon Sanchez, Liquigas-Cannondale’s Ted King, Timny Duggan and multiple stage winner Peter Sagan.

Also mentioned are Australian TT champion Luke Durbridge and Robbie McEwen, plus AG2R La Mondiale’s Nicolas Roche and Rinaldo Nocentini.

Race named as major objective:

The 2012 edition will see the riders slug it out on a route slightly longer than 750 miles, beginning in Santa Rosa in exactly two month’s time and featuring stage finishes in that same town, as well as Santa Cruz County, Livermore, Clofis, Bakersfield, Big Bear Lake, Mount Baldy and Los Angeles.

Horner said that the route and field combined made the 2012 edition look to be an impressive one.

“Amgen Tour of California has always been a first class event, with great courses, amazing organization, and incredible fans,” he said. “This year's event looks to be the best ever, with an even more challenging route and a roster of 16 of the best teams in the world.

“I'm looking forward to coming back to defend my title - it promises to be a fantastic eight days in California!"

Garmin Barracuda’s Jonathan Vaughters confirmed that the race was high on the list of priorities for 2012. “The Amgen Tour of California is always a big goal for our team," he stated. “It is one of the premier races in the U.S. and one we take a lot of pride in. Every year, the competition is intense, the crowds get even bigger, and this year will be no exception. We're very excited to get back to California and we hope to give fans plenty of reasons to cheer.”

Kristin Bachochin, executive director of the race and senior vice president of AEG Sports, referred to the lineup as the ‘most prestigious field of talent ever to compete in our race.’

The GreenEdge team is one of the biggest of the new squads and, according to general manager Shayne Bannan, the event will be one of those the team wants to shine in in 2012.

“It's real priority for us to bring a strong team to California and the riders really want to go there and make their mark for GreenEDGE. There are a lot of races that stand out on the calendar and the Amgen Tour of California is one of those we don't want to miss. Having it as Robbie McEwen's last race, will make it extra special for us as an Australian team."

2012 Amgen Tour of California:


UCI ProTeams:

BMC Racing Team (USA)
Rabobank Cycling Team (NED)
Garmin- Barracuda (USA)
RadioShack-Nissan-Trek (LUX)
Liquigas-Cannondale (ITA)
Omega Pharma - QuickStep (BEL)
AG2R La Mondiale (FRA)
GreenEDGE Cycling Team (AUS)

UCI Professional Continental Teams:

Team Spidertech Powered By C10 (CAN)
UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team (USA)
Project 1t4i (NED)
Colombia-Coldeportes (COL)

UCI Continental Teams:

Team Optum Presented By Kelly Benefit Strategies (USA)
Bissell Pro Cycling (USA)
Team Exergy (USA)
Bontrager Livestrong Team (USA)


May 13th: Santa Rosa to Santa Rosa, 186.5km (115.9 miles)
May 14th – stage 2: San Francisco to Santa Cruz County, 188.5km (117.1 miles)
May 15th – stage 3: San José to Livermore, 185.5km (115.3 miles)
May 16th – stage 4: Sonora to Clovis, 209.6km (130.2 miles)
May 17th – stage 5: Bakersfield ITT, 29.7km (18.4 miles)
May 18th – stage 6: Palmdale to Big Bear Lake, 186.3km (115.7 miles)
May 19th – stage 7: Ontario to Mount Baldy, 126km (78.3 miles)
May 20th – stage 8: Beverly Hills to Los Angeles, 72km (44.7 miles)


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