Organisers of the Amgen Tour of California men's and women's races released their 2019 team rosters today, with both races featuring multiple returning champions to battle it out past iconic California landmarks and up some of the state's most notorious climbs.
The Amgen Tour of California men's race will feature the US national team for the first time this year when the race rolls out of Sacramento. USA Cycling will field a roster of riders whose trade teams aren't competing in the race, joining 18 other teams on the roads from the start in the Golden State's capitol on May 12 to the finish in Pasadena on May 18.
Thirteen WorldTour teams have signed up for the men's race in its third year on the WorldTour calendar, joining five Pro Continental teams and the US national team to form the biggest men's field yet. Defending champion Egan Bernal (Team Sky) will take leadership of Team Sky at the Giro d'Italia this year and will skip California, but 2017 overall winner George Bennett (Jumbo-Visma) will return with US teammate Sepp Kuss, who came on at the end of his neo-pro season last year with the Dutch team and won the overall at the Tour of Utah.
Tejay van Garderen, the 2013 overall winner and second last year, will return with his new team EF Education First. Rohan Dennis (Bahrain-Merida), the current time trial world champion who was second in California in 2016, will line up to test his climbing legs as well.
Peter Sagan, the so-called King of California who won the overall in 2015, will return with Bora-Hansgrohe in hopes of adding to his record 16 stage wins. He'll take on Dimension Data's Mark Cavendish, Katusha-Alpecin's Marcel Kittel and Cofidis' Nacer Bouhanni in the bunch sprints, as well as expected fastmen from Deceuninck-QuickStep, Bahrain-Merida, Trek-Segafredo and UAE Team Emirates.
"I'm really looking forward to coming back for my 10th Amgen Tour of California," Sagan said in a statement released with the team announcement. "I really love the Amgen Tour of California…come visit us and enjoy."
Hall will return to defend women's title
Seven of the current top-nine UCI ranked women's teams will compete in the three-day road race that starts May 16 in Ventura and finishes May 18 in Pasadena.
Defending women's champion Katie Hall will return with her new Boels Dolmans team, which will also feature 2017 California champion, Olympic gold medalist and current world champion Anna van der Breggen. Chantal Blaak, the 2017 world champion, is also expected on the Boels Dolmans roster.
"I'm excited to say I'll be coming to California in May to race the Amgen Tour of California," Hall said. "California is really special to me - it's my home state, and I'm excited to race these new courses in Southern California. This is going to be an exciting race. The courses are new and well-designed, and will make for some aggressive and exciting finishes."
The 16-team women's field will also include newcomer Trek-Segafredo, which has been off to a fast start so far this season. The team will feature 2018 runner-up Tayler Wiles and 2018 Giro Rosa stage winner Ruth Winder, along with 2015 world champion Lizzie Deignan.
WNT Rotor will bring German rider Lisa Brennauer, who holds multiple world and national championship titles, while Astana's Arlenis Sierra (Astana) claimed the green jersey at the 2017 California race and took a stage win in Sacramento last year.
Also expected to compete in the women's race are sisters Kendall Ryan (Tibco-SVB) and Alexis Ryan (Canyo-SRAM), as well as Ashleigh Moolman Pasio (CCC-Liv) and Kasia Niewiadoma (Canyon-SRAM), who took third place at last year's race and recently finished third at Strade Bianche. Other top Americans expected on the start line include 2020 Tokyo Olympic hopefuls Emma White (Rally UHC) and Chloé Dygert (Sho-Air Twenty20) as well as sprinter Coryn Rivera (Team Sunweb).
2019 Tour of California teams
Astana Pro Team
EF Education First
UAE Team Emirates
Hagens Berman Axeon
Israel Cycling Academy
Rally UHC Cycling
Team Novo Nordisk
2019 Tour of California Women's Race teams
Cogeas Mettler Look
Rally UHC Cycling
Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank
Valcar Cylance Cycling
WNT Rotor Pro