A world-class field of 17 domestic and international cycling teams set to compete in the 2008 Amgen Tour of California was announced by AEG, owners and presenters of the upcoming cycling road race.
Team CSC, the world’s No. 1-ranked cycling team, 2007 Amgen Tour of California winner Levi Leipheimer's new team, Astana, and Health Net presented by Maxxis, winner of USA Cycling’s 2007 National Race Calendar, will lead some of the world’s top cycling teams in the third annual race.
The 650-mile, eight-day stage race will take the world’s top professional cycling teams from Palo Alto-Stanford University to Pasadena from February 17-24.
The 2008 Amgen Tour of California roster includes the following 17 professional cycling teams:
Bissell Pro Cycling Team (USA)
BMC Racing Team (USA)
Bouygues Telecom (FRA)
Crédit Agricole (FRA)
Health Net Presented by Maxxis (USA)
High Road Sports (GER)
Jelly Belly Cycling Team (USA)
Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast (USA)
Quick Step (BEL)
Rabobank Cycling Team (Netherlands)
Rock Racing (USA)
Saunier Duval-Scott (ESP)
Team CSC (DEN)
Team Slipstream Powered by Chipotle (USA)
Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team (USA)
Split between teams who compete on the UCI Pro Tour and those who race predominately in the United States, the field of 136 athletes will be one of the most diverse, accomplished groups of cyclists ever assembled for a stage race in the U.S.
"Even though the new Astana Cycling Team is making its U.S. racing debut, we are bringing numerous riders who have found success on U.S. soil in the past," said Philippe Maertens, spokesman for the Astana Cycling Team.
"The riders are excited to begin the season in California and are motivated to help Levi Leipheimer defend his Amgen Tour of California title," he added.
Along with Pro Tour teams, the growing class of top domestic teams will be represented by return competitors Health Net Pro Cycling Team Presented by Maxxis, Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team, Jelly Belly Cycling Team and Bissell Pro Cycling Team, and new competitors Rock Racing and Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast.
"The Jelly Belly Cycling Team is very excited about being selected by the Amgen Tour of California to participate in this year's event," said Danny Van Haute, manager of the Jelly Belly Cycling Team. "This will be Jelly Belly's ninth season in the cycling community. The team is looking forward to the competition."
Several of the 17 professional cycling teams will hold their pre-season training camps in California, which will give residents throughout the state an opportunity to watch these elite athletes prepare for the top professional cycling race in the United States.
For more information about the teams competing in the 2008 Amgen Tour of California, visit www.amgentourofcalifornia.com. Stay tuned to BikeRadar.com for complete coverage of the race.