Tour of California organizers announced a field of 17 domestic and international cycling teams set to compete in the 2008 edition of the race from February 17-24. In the third edition of the annual event, 136 racers will cover 650 miles (1,046 km) over eight days from Palo Alto - Stanford University to Pasadena.
"The success of the Tour of California over the past two years has created a very positive reputation among the professional cycling community, which has helped to ensure the high level of competition that people have come to expect from our race," said Kristin Bachochin, senior director of AEG Sports, presenter of the race.
Among the top teams are Team CSC, the world's number one ranked team and Team Astana, the new team of last year's winner Levi Leipheimer. Health Net presented by Maxxis will lead the domestic squads as the winner of the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar. The teams are split among those which compete for the UCI ProTour and those which race predominantly in the US. Jonas Carney's Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast team is one of those which will benefit from the chance to race the larger outfits.
"Even though the new Astana Cycling Team is making its US racing debut, we are bringing numerous riders who have found success on U.S. soil in the past," said Philippe Maertens, spokesman for the Astana Cycling Team. "The riders are excited to begin the season in California and are motivated to help Leipheimer defend his Amgen Tour of California title."
Several of the 17 professional cycling teams will hold their pre-season training camps in California.
Teams for Tour of California: Astana, Bissell Pro Cycling Team, BMC Racing Team, Bouygues Telecom, Crédit Agricole, Gerolsteiner, Health Net Presented by Maxxis, High Road Sports, Jelly Belly Cycling Team, Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast, Quick Step, Rabobank Cycling Team, Rock Racing, Saunier Duval-Scott, Team CSC, and Team Slipstream Powered by Chipotle, Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team.