The organisers of the 2014 Tour of California published the provisional start list for the race, with 2012 Tour de France winner and multi-time Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins in the starring role for Team Sky.
The 2014 edition of the race features a 20km time trial, the mountain finishes on Mount Diablo and Mountain High and the final stage in Thousand Oaks as the decisive stages for the general classification.
Among the favorites, along with Wiggins, is last year's podium finisher Janier Acevedo (Garmin-Sharp), who, together with Tom Danielson and Rohan Dennis will attempt to give Garmin-Sharp its first overall victory in the race.
The 2013 overall winner, Tejay van Garderen will not be in attendance, but BMC is bringing a strong team with American contender Peter Stetina. The team will also include Thor Hushovd, Taylor Phinney and sprinter Greg Van Avermaet, a podium finisher in nearly every spring classic.
In between the critical stages, there are opportunities for the sprinters, and 10-time stage winner Peter Sagan (Cannondale) will be the man to beat. Omega Pharma-Quickstep will be keen to take him on, with both Mark Cavendish and Tom Boonen in attendance.
Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge), John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) and Juan Jose Haedo (Jamis-Hagens Berman) should also make Sagan's past domination a bit more difficult this year.
The domestic teams will be on the attack as always, but this time with real opportunities to shake up the overall classification. Last year's Mt. Diablo stage winner Leopold König (Netapp-Endura) will be hard to shake, as will Jamis-Hagens Berman's climbers Daniel Jaramillo and Gregory Brenes. Looking for a dark horse? Try Matthew Lloyd, who has made his comeback from injury with Jelly Belly, or Novo Nordisk's Javier Megias, fresh off a strong ride at the Tour of Turkey.
Optum's Carter Jones, hot off his victory in the Tour of the Gila, will be a prime contender to repeat as the mountains classification winner, but will be up against Tour of Turkey mountain winner Marc de Maar. Finally, any one of the Bissell Development team riders could take out the best young rider jersey, in particular Redlands Classic runner-up James Oram.
You can see the provisional start list here.
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