Nine WorldTour teams for Tour of California

UCI allows higher percentage of top teams

The 2014 Amgen Tour of California will include nine WorldTour teams, one more than previous years, thanks to a new ruling by the UCI allowing a higher percentage of ProTeams in non-WorldTour events.

AEG announced today from the Cannondale team camp that the field will include BMC, Belkin, Cannondale, Giant-Shimano, Garmin, Trek Factory Racing, Omega Pharma-Quickstep, Orica-GreenEdge and Team Sky.

Organisers can now invite up to 65% WorldTour teams, up from 50% after the UCI changed the rule. There will be 16 teams in the 2014 Tour of California. Technical director Jim Birrell of Medalist Sports named the teams, saying they had more requests for invitations than they could accept. “The selection process was hard, some we had to decline because we didn't have room to accommodate them," Birrell stated.

Seven more teams from the Professional Continental and Continental ranks will be announced at a later date.

While last year's Tour of California champion Tejay van Garderen will not take part in the 2014 race, as his preparation to lead the BMC Racing Team in the Tour de France shifts his schedule to European racing in May, the race will be the focus for his new teammate Peter Stetina. The American said on Twitter, "Proud to report that, after 3 years of Giro d'Italia's, I'll return to [the Amgen Tour of California in] 2014! It's got a big target on it's back! "

The race is also expected to attract Cannondale's Peter Sagan, who holds the record for stage wins in the race with a career total of 10.

The Tour of California starts on May 11 in Sacramento, and concludes May 18 with a circuit in the title sponsor's base of Thousand Oaks, California.

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