FIRST THREE PROFESSIONAL ROAD CYCLING TEAMS ENTERED FOR FEBRUARY 2007First U.S. Professional Race of the Season Set for February 18-25
LOS ANGELES, November 29, 2006 – Three of the world's top professional road cycling teams will compete in the 2007 Amgen Tour of California scheduled for February 18-25, 2007, it was announced by Shawn Hunter, president of AEG Sports, promoter and operator of the 650-mile, eight-stage cycling race modeled after the Tour de France.
The Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team, Team CSC and Predictor-Lotto are the first of the expected 16 professional cycling teams to be announced for the second annual race, which was attended by more that 1.3 million spectators in 2006.
"The level of competition returning for the second annual Amgen Tour of California rivals any race in the world and proves that cyclists and fans alike are hungry for this caliber of racing in America," said Shawn Hunter, president of AEG Sports. "We are excited to welcome many of the best teams in cycling back to California to compete on another world-class course."
Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team
With the popularity of former team member Lance Armstrong and the addition this season of top-U.S. cyclist Levi Leipheimer, who hails from California, Team Discovery is one of the most recognized teams in the field. Coming off the 2006 season with 26 victories and 42 podiums, Discovery rode their way to team classification wins at the Vuelta a España and the Tour de Georgia. Individual riders secured stage wins and wore Leader's Jerseys in all three European Grand Tour races this year. Closely following Team CSC in the 2006 Amgen Tour of California, Discovery took second place in the team classification, with George Hincapie (USA) securing two stage wins to finish fourth overall. "Our Team has always enjoyed coming to California for our training camps, so when the Amgen Tour of California was announced last year, I did not hesitate to put it on our schedule," said Johan Bruyneel, directeur sportif of the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team. "I was very impressed with the organization and the crowds on the roads in just the first year of the race. Being an American Team, we are excited to come back again in 2007." Team Discovery will hold their pre-season training camp in areas near Solvang, Calif. Many of the Santa Barbara county roads these teams will use during training will be part of the official 2007 race route, which will be announced in December.
With a first-place team classification finish in the 2006 Amgen Tour of California, Team CSC will be back to defend their title in 2007. Team CSC performed well in the 2006 Amgen Tour of California, not only at the team level, but with individual riders taking honors as well. David Zabriskie (USA) came in second overall in last year's race and Bobby Julich (USA) took home third place overall. With the recent addition of Juan José Haedo (ARG) from Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team, who won stages one and four in the 2006 Amgen Tour of California, Team CSC continues to strengthen its roster in preparation for the season ahead. "The Amgen Tour of California is an event that complements our style of racing – we like to ride aggressively and the course allows for that," said Bjarne Riis, directeur sportif of Team CSC. "Last year we proved our strength in this race as the first place team overall, and we are looking forward to another challenging race in 2007."
Predictor-Lotto, formerly Davitamon-Lotto, finished third overall in the 2006 Amgen Tour of California, assisted by Cadel Evans' (AUS) seventh place overall finish. Also racing last year for the team were California resident "Fast Freddie" Rodriguez (USA) and California native Chris Horner (USA). "We are excited to be returning to the Amgen Tour of California in 2007," said Marc Sergeant, team manager of Predictor-Lotto. "We look forward to another exhilarating week of cycling in California in February."
Amgen's invaluable support of the 2006 Amgen Tour of California helped ensure its impact beyond the sporting arena. As the returning title sponsor of the 2007 Amgen Tour of California, Amgen, based in Thousand Oaks, CA, continues to raise awareness and support for people living with cancer through the Breakaway from CancerTM education and fundraising initiative. Last year, Amgen raised more than $1 million to support The Wellness Community, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing free support, education and hope for all people affected by cancer. This year, in addition to The Wellness Community, the initiative also will support the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, the oldest survivor-led cancer advocacy organization in the country. Fundraising activities include charity bicycle rides in Washington D.C. (November 12), San Francisco (December 3) and Thousand Oaks (December 11). All proceeds benefit both non-profit organizations. For more information about Breakaway from CancerTM and the upcoming charity rides, visit www.breakawayfromcancer.com. For more information about the Amgen Tour of California, please visit www.amgentourofcalifornia.com. The site includes updated race information as well as official merchandise, including a limited edition commemorative Amgen Tour of California F75 bike, complete with a custom paint job and certificate of authenticity.
Amgen discovers, develops and delivers innovative human therapeutics. A biotechnology pioneer since 1980, Amgen was one of the first companies to realize the new science's promise by bringing safe and effective medicines from lab, to manufacturing plant, to patient. Amgen therapeutics have changed the practice of medicine, helping millions of people around the world in the fight against cancer, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and other serious illnesses. With a broad and deep pipeline of potential new medicines, Amgen remains committed to advancing science to dramatically improve people's lives. To learn more about Amgen's pioneering science and vital medicines, visit www.amgen.com.
AEG is one of the leading sports and entertainment presenters in the world. AEG, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Anschutz Company, owns or controls a collection of companies including facilities such as STAPLES Center, The Home Depot Center, Toyota Park, Toyota Sports Center, Anaheim Convention Center Arena, El Rey Theatre, Colosseum at Caesars Palace, NOKIA Theatre at Grand Prairie and NOKIA Theatre Times Square; sports franchises including the Los Angeles Kings (NHL), Los Angeles Riptide (MLL), four Major League Soccer franchises, , two hockey franchises operated in Europe, management of privately held shares of the Los Angeles Lakers (NBA) and Los Angeles Sparks (WNBA), the ING Bay to Breakers foot race and the Amgen Tour of California cycling road race; AEG LIVE, the organization's live-entertainment division, is a collection of companies dedicated to all aspects of live contemporary music performance, touring and a variety of programming and multi-media production. Additionally, the company has begun fully developing London's 28-acre Millennium Dome which includes a 23,000-seat arena, the O2 and over 650,000sf of leisure and entertainment use within the ‘Dome' and additional arenas, The O2 World on a 45-acre site in the heart of Berlin, Citizen's Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California, Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri as well as Red Bull Park, a soccer stadium in Harrison, New Jersey and L.A. Live, a $2.5 billion sports and entertainment district in downtown Los Angeles. For more information, visit AEG today at www.aegworldwide.com