World, National and Grand Tour Champions and Olympic Hopefuls Among World-class Men's and Women's Pro Teams Announced for May Race
LOS ANGELES, Calif. (March 1, 2016) - The 2016 Amgen Tour of California will enter its second decade as America's most prestigious annual cycling event with an unsurpassed field of men's and women's professional teams for the 2016 race. The 11th annual men's event will include 10 UCI WorldTour Teams, the most in race history, as some of the top cyclists in the world face off across nearly 800 miles of California terrain May 15-22. The four-day Women's Race empowered with SRAM will showcase some of the best talent in the sport and run in tandem May 19-22.
The eight-stage men's event will feature 18 of the world's most decorated and esteemed teams competing for one of the sport's most coveted titles. Top UCI WorldTour teams and riders will include Tinkoff (RUS), whose renowned sprinter Peter Sagan (SVK) proved his all-around excellence to win the 2015 Amgen Tour of California by the closest margin in its history (3 seconds), narrowly defeating young Ardennes Classic sensation Julian Alaphilippe (FRA) of Etixx - Quick-Step, who is also returning this year; rival sprinter Mark Cavendish (GBR), who returns to California having won four stages last year, this time riding for Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka in its inaugural season as a UCI WorldTour team; and Santa Rosa, Calif.-based BMC Racing Team, a 9-time participant. BMC Racing Team will be led by Rohan Dennis (AUS), a favorite for this year's Folsom Time Trial - last year he won the first leader's jersey of the 2015 Tour de France after recording the fastest average speed in race history, 55.446 km/hr.
"Last season was an incredible one for me," said Tinkoff's Peter Sagan, who followed up his 2015 Amgen Tour of California win with a World Championship Road Race title in the fall. "The Amgen Tour of California is one of my favorite races of the season; I've done well and had the honor of wearing yellow, and it's important to me to build upon where I left off last year."
The Amgen Tour of California has become known for epic sprinter shootouts, and this year will up the ante.
Russia's Team KATUSHA, currently ranked second in the world, will participate in the Amgen Tour of California for the first time with top sprinter Alexander Kristoff (NOR), who won 20 races in 2015, more than any other professional rider. Kristoff has already won 5 races this season, including several exciting head-to-head battles with Mark Cavendish at the recent Tour of Qatar (Cavendish took the overall win). Cavendish is widely considered one of the best sprinters of all time with a Road World Championship to his credit as well as having the distinction of winning the points classification in all three Grand Tours and twenty-six Tour de France stages, which makes him third on the all-time list. The 2016 Amgen Tour of California includes many opportunities for sprinters, which should result in matchups between the two riders as both prepare for this summer's Tour de France.
"I hope in May I will still manage to beat Mark Cavendish in the sprints at the Amgen Tour of California as I was able to do in the first race we did together this year, the Tour of Qatar. I'm well aware that Cav' won some stages in California last year and that Peter Sagan won the overall. In bringing Team KATUSHA to California for the first time, I'll do my best to arrive in good shape and fight for victories," said Kristoff.
One of the select few pro cyclists from California, Peter Stetina will endeavor to improve his 2014 6th place finish on his new team Trek-Segafredo as he mounts his return from a career-threatening injury last season.
"For Trek-Segafredo, a premier WorldTour team with American roots, the Amgen Tour of California is one of the most important races on our calendar. I'm honored to lead the charge for their overall ambitions, both to represent Trek Bicycles, and as a Californian," said Stetina, a two-time Under 23 National Time Trial Champion. "The 2016 Amgen Tour of California is a very personal affair for me. Stage 7 is entirely in my hometown of Santa Rosa, where all my friends live and I know every inch of the route. Stage 5 to South Lake Tahoe is special because I also live on the west shore of the lake part time - an ideal cycling location and one of the most picturesque places on Earth. I'm excited to show both these places off to my friends in the peloton!"
Continental team favorites rounding out the field include long-time race veteran Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis, which will mount notable Australian brother duo Lachlan and Angus Morton, and Team Wiggins with 2012 Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins (GBR) at the helm. Wiggins and his team are prepping to compete in Rio de Janeiro (this would be his fourth Olympic appearance; a podium finish would make him the most decorated British Olympian in history), not to mention a showing at the Track World Championships this week in London.
"It will be a special return to the Amgen Tour of California... the last edition I raced, I ended the week atop the podium. This time, I'm bringing my own team as part of our prep for the Rio Games. It's one of the best races in the world, we have some great young talent in the team, and so I'm excited to see what we can do," said Wiggins, who won the Amgen Tour of California in 2014.
The 18 professional men's teams confirmed for the 2016 Amgen Tour of California include:
UCI WorldTour (10):
UCI Professional Continental Teams (3):
UCI Continental Teams (5):
Since its inception in 2006, the Amgen Tour of California has become one of the most important races on the international cycling calendar, showcasing the most accomplished cyclists from around the world. In addition, the event provides cyclists the opportunity to preview their prospective competition leading to the Tour de France, and this year, the Summer Olympic Games.
It's a banner year for women's cycling with the Rio Games on the horizon and roster slots to be determined, as well as the first-ever UCI Women's WorldTour.
The Amgen Tour of California Women's Race empowered with SRAM will be the first North American stage race of the inaugural Women's WorldTour. The race will be more competitive than ever, with 7 of the top-10 UCI-ranked teams in contention, including current top-ranked Wiggle High5. Among Twenty16 - Ridebiker's roster will be Kristin Armstrong (Memphis, Tenn.), the most decorated woman cyclist in U.S. history, including six National Championship titles between time trial and road racing and two World Time Trial Championships.
"The Women's WorldTour is coming to home soil, and I couldn't be more excited. This amazing opportunity will showcase women's cycling on the biggest stage in our sport! The Amgen Tour of California Women's Race will bring the best of the best including Olympians, World Champions and National Champions representing countries from across the world - and not to mention the event lands just three months before Rio!," said Armstrong, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in Time Trial and hopeful for the U.S. Rio team.
The peloton will be the most impressive yet with other notable riders to include Evelyn Stevens (Claremont, Calif.), winner of last year's time trial as well as the 2013 overall title, and fellow Californian Allie Dragoo riding for Twenty16 - Ridebiker. Boels-Dolmans' Megan Guarnier (Glen Falls, New York), reigning Road Race National Champion and bronze medalist at the 2015 Road Race World Championships, will make things exciting for the peloton.
The full list of confirmed teams for the 2016 Amgen Tour of California Women's Race empowered with SRAM includes:
"The organizers of the Amgen Tour of California work extremely hard to get a top-level field. The combination of the men's and women's races will create a wonderful experience for the spectators while increasing the exposure for the women's teams," said Danny Stam, Director Sportif for Boels-Dolmans, the 2nd ranked team in the world after last season. "Boels-Dolmans is planning on bringing a strong team including two top American riders - we will aim high and give the best performance we have."
Voxwomen, the online women's cycling channel, will return to California to cover the women's event, providing the best of the race and behind-the-scenes action to give fans and followers insight into the women's professional peloton. Video coverage will be available at www.voxwomen.com and www.amgentourofcalifornia.com for the duration of the race, as well as live updates throughout the week on Voxwomen social media channels.
"Over the past decade, we've built the gold standard for cycling in America and one of the most respected races in the world for both men and women," said Kristin Klein, president of the Amgen Tour of California and executive vice president of AEG Sports. "One of the reasons the Amgen Tour of California has become prominent around the world is due to attracting premier teams and the best riders to California every year. For 2016, fans will have the opportunity to cheer for cyclists preparing for the upcoming Tour de France as well as many competitors who will represent their countries this summer in Rio."
Every spring, cycling enthusiasts around the world look forward to the Amgen Tour of California. On April 24, everyone has the chance to ride the Queen Stage with cycling legend Jens Voigt. The route takes riders on a journey from Thousand Oaks to the new Gibraltar Road summit in Santa Barbara. Over 106 miles, riders will experience challenging terrain and beautiful ocean views. Register today: http://www.amgentourofcalifornia.com/letapecalifornia
Or, experience the race as a VIP through exclusive behind-the-scenes experiences and access into an all-inclusive hospitality tent, featuring a premium location, full food & beverage, and lounge-style seating. To purchase VIP Experiences and Passes or for more information, visit amgentourofcalifornia.com/vip.
Interested in exhibitor opportunities for your brand within our daily Finish Line Festival Expo? Visit amgentourofcalifornia.com/festival for additional information.
About the Amgen Tour of California
The Amgen Tour of California is a Tour de France-style cycling road race created and presented by AEG that challenges the world's top professional cycling teams to compete along a demanding course that traverses hundreds of miles of California's iconic highways, byways and coastlines each spring. The teams chosen to participate have included Olympic medalists, Tour de France contenders and World Champions. Amgen Tour of California is listed on the international professional cycling calendar (2 HC, meaning "beyond category"), awarding important, world-ranking points to the top finishers. More information is available at amgentourofcalifornia.com.
This year, the men's course will cover nearly 800 miles over eight days through 12 host cities, including San Diego (first-time host), South Pasadena (first-time host), Santa Clarita, Thousand Oaks, Santa Barbara County, Morro Bay (first-time host), Monterey County, Lodi, South Lake Tahoe (first-time host), Folsom, Santa Rosa and Sacramento. The Amgen Tour of California Women's Race empowered with SRAM will run for the latter half of the men's race (May 19-22) as the U.S. debut event on the inaugural UCI Women's WorldTour (WWT).
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Founder and operators of the Amgen Tour of California, 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, StubHub Center, Sprint Center, The O2, Mercedes-Benz Arena, Microsoft Theater, L.A. LIVE and PlayStation Theater; sports franchises including the LA Kings (NHL), two Major League Soccer franchises, two hockey franchises operated in Europe, management of privately held shares of the Los Angeles Lakers; 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. For more information, visit AEG today at www.aegworldwide.com.
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Michael Roth, AEG
Josh Levitt, Canvas Blue