Teams, route announced for inaugural women's Tour of California

Organisers of the Tour of California announced the route and teams for the inaugural edition of the women's Amgen Tour of California. The race, which takes place in the days leading up to men's stage race, will include two stages near Lake Tahoe before the women join the men for a race in Sacramento.

14 teams were invited to the UCI 2.1-ranked stage race. The three stages combine for 158 miles of arduous racing

Fourteen of the top women’s cycling teams from around the world are confirmed to lead off the 10th edition of the Amgen Tour of California with three days and 158 miles of stage racing May 8-10 and an invitational Time Trial on May 15. The four days of women’s competition will be staged in conjunction with the men’s eight-day race.

The Velocio-SRAM of world time trial champion Lisa Brennauer will take part, as will UnitedHealthcare, Team Tibco-SVB, Twenty16-Sho-Air, Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies and and Alé-Cipollini.

Stage 1 will use the course that was part of the 2011 Tour of California race route, on a stage that was cancelled by a late-season snow storm. The 74-mile route will circle Lake Tahoe counter-clockwise and tackle two mountain sprints before heading back to the starting point at the Heavenly Mountain Resort. Stage 2 starts from the same location, but rather than head to the lake, racers will face two laps of a 25-mile route including a mountain sprint on Apache Avenue. On the final day, the women's race joins up with the men's in Sacramento. The women will 34 miles of the men's finishing circuit, completing their three-day race an hour before the men enter the circuit.

A select group of women will then join up with the men's Tour of California for the Women's Invitational Time Trial at Big Bear Lake. The 15-mile course may be relatively flat, but it takes place at 6,752ft above sea level. The women start at 11 am, and will finish up roughly an hour before the first man takes to the start ramp.

Women's teams for the Tour of California:
BMW p/b Happy Tooth Dental
Canada National Team
Colavita|Bianchi p/b Fine Cooking
Grassi Pro Cycling Team Mexico
Itau Shimano Ladies Power Team
Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
Pearl Izumi Sports Tours International
Pepper Palace Pro Cycling p/b The Happy Tooth
Twenty16 p/b Sho-Air
UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team
Xirayas de San Luis

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