16 elite teams invited to race in Tour of California

By Union Democrat staff March 14, 2012 06:21 pm
    Sixteen professional cycling teams will ride through Sonora in May as part of the Amgen Tour of California.
    Tour organizers announced Tuesday the list of teams that will compete in the annual cycling competition, which draws some of the top competitors in the world. Of those scheduled to compete, 11 are returning as Amgen Tour veterans.
      According to organizers, the teams include Radio Shack-Nissan-Trek, with a roster of defending Amgen champion Chris Horner, U.S. road race champion Matthew Busche and Jens Voigt; top-ranked Omega Pharma-QuickStep, which features three-time Tour of California winner Levi Leipheimer and Tom Boonen; 2011 Tour de France champion BMC Racing, with cycling veteran George Hincapie and Tejay van Garderen; and Garmin-Barracuda, featuring Amgen tour veterans Tom Danielson and Dave Zabriskie.
    The teams represent more than 20 countries and include cyclists preparing for the 2012 Tour de France and Summer Olympics in London.
    “These 16 teams represent the most prestigious field of talent ever to compete in our race and we are honored to have them join us,” race executive director and senior vice president of AEG Sports Kristin Bachochin stated in a release. “Cycling fans will see some favorite and familiar faces back in California this May, as well as a few new teams who will be racing with us for the first time.”
    Sonora was chosen to be one of this year’s host cities for the biggest cycling race in the country. The race teams will start their fourth of eight stages from Washington Street on May 16 and face a 130-mile stretch down Highway 49 through Moccasin, Coulterville and Mariposa before ending the day at Clovis in Fresno County.
    This year’s Tour of California will begin May 13 in Santa Rosa. Competitors will travel more than 750 miles in eight days before finishing in Los Angeles on May 20.
    The complete 2012 Amgen Tour of California includes UCI Pro Teams BMC Racing Team, Rabobank Cycling Team, Garmin-Barracuda, RadioShack-Nissan-Trek, Liquigas-Cannondale, Omega-Pharma-QuickStep, AG2R La Mondiale and GreenEDGE Cycling Team; UCI Professional Continental Teams Spidertech Powered By C10, United Healthcare Pro Cycling Team, Project 1t4i and Columbia-Coldeportes; UCI Continental Teams Optum Presented By Kelly Benefit Strategies, Bissell Pro Cycling, Team Exergy and Bontrager Livestrong Team.
    For more information about the tour and the Sonora stop, visit AmgenTourofCalifornia.com or atocsonora.com.