This story was first published on Cyclingnews.com
Race organizers have named the 16 teams, including some of the world’s best international and domestic squads, to compete in the 2012 Amgen Tour of California, which will take place May 13 to 20.
Comprised of Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) ProTeam, Pro Continental and Continental squads, the 16 world class teams chosen to participate in the 2012 race will include Olympic hopefuls and Tour de France contenders representing more than 20 countries, giving fans around the world a preview of what is to come in July in both France and 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 for the seventh edition of the Amgen Tour of California," said Kristin Bachochin, executive director of the race and senior vice president of AEG Sports. "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. We look forward to presenting another impressive race for fans around the world."
As previously announced by race presenters AEG, the 2012 Amgen Tour of California will start in Santa Rosa on May 13 and travel more than 750 miles throughout some of California’s most majestic and iconic highways, roadways and coastlines before the final stage on May 20 when the race will start in Beverly Hills on Rodeo Drive and finish at L.A. LIVE in downtown Los Angeles.
The 16 elite teams include the newly restructured RadioShack-Nissan, whose roster includes Amgen Tour of California defending champion Chris Horner, Jens Voigt and current U.S. National Road Race Champion Matthew Busche, who will compete against a field that includes the No. 1-ranked team in the world, Omega Pharma – QuickStep, featuring three-time Amgen Tour of California winner Levi Leipheimer and Tom Boonen; Garmin-Barracuda, featuring Amgen Tour of California veterans Dave Zabriskie and Tom Danielson; and the 2011 Tour de France champion's BMC Racing Team, including veteran cyclist and fan favorite George Hincapie and one of the fastest rising stars in cycling today, Tejay Van Garderen.
"Amgen Tour of California has always been a first class event, with great courses, amazing organization, and incredible fans,” said Chris Horner, Amgen Tour of California’s defending champion. "This year's event looks to be the best ever, with an even more challenging route and a roster of 16 of the best teams in the world. I'm looking forward to coming back to defend my title - it promises to be a fantastic eight days in California."
Also, competing in California for the seventh consecutive year will be the Rabobank Cycling Team, featuring Laurens Ten Dam and Luis Leon Sanchez. Liquigas-Cannondale is set to compete as well, featuring American cyclists, Ted King and Timothy Duggan, as well as Peter Sagan, who has taken multiple stages in previous editions of the Amgen Tour of California.
Competing in California for the first time will be the Australian GreenEdge Cycling Team, who plan to bring Luke Durbridge and Robbie McEwen. "We are thrilled to ride the Amgen Tour of California in our debut season,” said Shayne Bannan, the squad's general manager. “It's a great race and a fantastic event. It's real priority for us to bring a strong team to California and the riders really want to go there and make their mark for GreenEdge. There are a lot of races that stand out on the calendar and the Amgen Tour of California is one of those we don't want to miss. Having it as Robbie McEwen's last race, will make it extra special for us an Australian team."
AG2R La Mondiale is also on the roster, featuring Nicolas Roche and Rinaldo Nocentini.
Teams new to the Amgen Tour of California roster include the newly formed GreenEdge Cycling Team (Aus); Project 1t4i (Ned); Colombia-Coldeportes (Col) Team Exergy (USA); and Bontrager Livestrong Team (USA).
The 2012 Amgen Tour of California roster includes the following 16 teams:
- BMC Racing Team (USA)
- Rabobank Cycling Team (Ned)
- Garmin- Barracuda (USA)
- RadioShack-Nissan (Lux)
- Liquigas-Cannondale (Ita)
- Omega Pharma - QuickStep (Bel)
- AG2R La Mondiale (Fra)
- GreenEdge Cycling Team (Aus)
UCI Professional Continental Teams
- Team Spidertech Powered By C10 (Can)
- UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team (USA)
- Project 1t4i (Ned)
- Colombia-Coldeportes (Col)
UCI Continental Teams
- Team Optum Presented By Kelly Benefit Strategies (USA)
- Bissell Pro Cycling (USA)
- Team Exergy (USA)
- Bontrager Livestrong Team (USA)