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The Amgen Tour of California peloton takes in stunning scenery along the coast.
Movistar added to team roster
The Amgen Tour of California will include 19 teams in its race on May 15 through May 22. Organizer AEG selected a mix of international and domestic teams for its sixth annual race.
HTC-Highroad, Garmin-Cervélo, Sky, Rabobank, Liquigas-Cannondale, Saxo Bank Sungard, Leopard Trek, RadioShack and BMC are the nine UCI ProTeams who will participate.
UCI Professional Continental Teams NetApp, Team Type 1-sanofi aventis, Spidertech Powered By C10 and UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling as well as UCI Continental Teams Movistar Team, Jamis-Sutter Home, Kelly Benefit Strategies - OptumHealth, Bissell Pro Cycling, Jelly Belly p/b Kenda and Kenda/5-Hour Energy Pro Cycling p/b Geargrinder also received invitations.
HTC-Highroad, a team based in California, is likely to field riders such as sprint sensation Matt Goss and promising young American Tejay Van Garderen. Team Garmin-Cervélo could bring Americans David Zabriskie and Christian Vande Velde while three-time race winner Levi Leipheimer will lead his RadioShack team in search of a fourth win.
Sky ProCycling will bring last year's winner Michael Rogers along and Saxo Bank's prolific sprinter Juan Jose Haedo will be looking to add to his five previous stage wins. Finally, Rabobank's Australian Under 23 world champion Michael Matthews and BMC Racing's veteran George Hincapie will be other men to watch.
"The caliber of teams participating in the Amgen Tour of California seems to grow with each passing year, which is a great testament to the status of our race on the professional racing calendar," said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports.
"Beyond the incredible talent of Tour de France competitors, world champions, Olympic champions and internationally known cyclists, is the amazing talent of up and coming American cyclists, like Peter Stetina of Team Garmin-Cervélo, Ben King of Team RadioShack and Tejay Van Garderen of HTC-Highroad. I am thrilled that our race gives them the opportunity to build their profile among cycling in the US."
There are a total of 14 teams returning to the Amgen Tour of California for 2011, including: Bissell Pro Cycling, BMC Racing Team, HTC-Highroad, Jamis-Sutter Home (formerly Colavita-Sutter Home), Jelly Belly p/b Kenda, Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth, Liquigas-Cannondale, Rabobank Cycling Team, Saxo Bank Sungard, Team Garmin-Cervélo, Team RadioShack, Team Spidertech Powered by C10, Team Type 1-sanofi aventis and UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling.
Teams new to the Amgen Tour of California roster include Kenda/5-Hour Energy Pro Cycling p/b Geargrinder, Leopard Trek, Movistar, Sky ProCycling and Team NetApp.
"The Amgen Tour of California has become one of the world's great sporting events," said Bob Stapleton, owner of HTC-Highroad. "With its epic stages in Tahoe, the central coast and Mt Baldy, it's a spectacle only exceeded in cycling by the Tour de France. Our home state provides a stunning setting for athletes, spectators and a world-wide television audience."
"The Amgen Tour of California is one of world's greatest showcases for professional cycling full stop. The atmosphere, the fans and the race as such is something truly special and we are very happy to participate with a strong line-up for Leopard Trek," said Brian Nygaard, general manager of Leopard Trek. "It is without a doubt one of our big goals of the season, and we look forward to racing one of the most scenic and attractive races of the season with the highest ambitions."
The official roster of teams matches a likely roster published in February on Cyclingnews except the Movistar team has been added.
2011 Amgen Tour of California Teams
Rabobank Cycling Team
Saxo Bank Sungard
BMC Racing Team
UCI Professional Continental Teams
Team Type 1-sanofi aventis
Team Spidertech Powered By C10
UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
UCI Continental Teams
Kelly Benefit Strategies - OptumHealth
Bissell Pro Cycling
Jelly Belly p/b Kenda
Kenda/5-Hour Energy Pro Cycling p/b Geargrinder