Tour of California organiser AEG Sports believes it has the "greatest field ever assembled" in the USA for the running of the fourth edition of its stage race, February 14 to 22.
"It is clear that this year's Amgen Tour of California has the greatest field ever assembled in our country," said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports. "We have legendary champions like Lance Armstrong, ... the best professional cyclists riding today and many of the most talented young riders in the world."
Armstrong will race with Astana teammate Levi Leipheimer, who is the 2008 and 2007 winner. Other participants include Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre, 2006 Giro d'Italia winner Ivan Basso, Olympic gold medallist Fabian Cancellara, Tom Boonen, Oscar Freire, Christian Vande Velde, George Hincapie, 2006 winner Floyd Landis and best young rider at the Tour de France Andy Schleck.
"The level of competition, the challenge of the course and the highly professional atmosphere makes it the ideal situation for me to continue my training," said Armstrong. "I have also chosen the Amgen Tour of California because of the race's record of supporting cancer awareness and research ... and its commitment to partner with our Lance Armstrong Foundation."
There are 17 teams that will compete in the 2009 races. The teams announced to participate are AG2R La Mondiale, Astana, Garmin-Slipstream, Liquigas, Quick Step, Rabobank, Columbia-High Road, Saxo Bank, BMC Racing Team, Cervélo Test Team, Bissell, Colavita - Sutter Home, Fly V Australia, Jelly Belly, Ouch-Maxxis, Rock Racing and Team Type 1.
The nine-day race consists of 750 miles. It starts with a prologue time trial in Sacramento in northern California. It ends with a stage to Escondido.