California Welcomes Cycling Icons – World Champions, Olympic Medalists, Hopefuls and Tour de France Champ – in All-Star Lineup for 2016 Race

U.S. Welcomes Inaugural UCI Women’s WorldTour When Amgen Breakaway from Heart Disease Women’s Race Empowered with SRAM Begins Wednesday in South Lake Tahoe Featuring International Cycling Superstars

Amgen Tour of California - Stage 1 - San Diego

The 11th annual Amgen Tour of California presented by AEG entered its second decade as America’s most prestigious annual cycling event, welcoming an unsurpassed field of professional teams for the race start in San Diego. One of the most important races on the international calendar, the 8’day event attracts some of the brightest cycling stars in the world to the golden state each May. This year’s field features 11 World Champions, five Olympic medalists and Rio Olympic hopefuls, with more than 30 countries represented.

The 2016 Amgen Tour of California includes 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, visiting 12 Host Cities from San Diego to Sacramento.

2016 marks the debut of the UCI Women’s WorldTour, which brings the highest level of professional women’s cycling competition to cities around the world. The four-dayAmgen Breakaway from Heart Disease Women’s Race Empowered with SRAM May 19-22 marks the U.S. debut of the Women’s WorldTour and will showcase some of the best talent in the sport. The peloton will include two-time Olympic champion Kristin Armstrong and eight Rio Olympic hopefuls.

The eight-stage men’s event began Sunday with 18 of the world’s most decorated and esteemed teams competing for one of the sport’s most coveted titles. World Champion and reigning race champion Peter Sagan of Tinkoff roared to victory in a bunch sprint to the finish line in Mission Beach, San Diego, putting him back into the yellow leader jersey he wore at the race’s conclusion last year.

“I came here [to the Amgen Tour of California for] the first time in 2010…it was a very nice race, very good organization, very nice hotels, food… Also, the level of the race is very good, and it’s also very good for preparation because it’s good weather. Now it’s the Giro and Tour of California. And I prefer to come here to train and prepare. And also I like California for the fans, and I’ve won a lot of stages here, and I’m very happy always to return here,” said Sagan of his 14th Amgen Tour of California career victory (the race’s all-time record holder for stage wins).

The Amgen Tour of California is known for epic sprinter shootouts, and the 2016 edition pits UCI’s top-ranked rider Sagan (Tinkoff) against rivals Mark Cavendish (Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka), who came away with the green jersey last year, John Degenkolb (Team Giant-Alpecin) and Alexander Kristoff (Team KATUSHA).

In addition to Sagan, general classification hopefuls include 2014 race champion Bradley Wiggins, back with his development squad (Team WIGGINS), French sensationJulian Alaphilippe (Etixx – Quick-Step Pro Cycling Team), who placed second by mere seconds last year, Laurens ten Dam (Team Giant-Alpecin), Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing Team), Andrew Talansky (Cannondale Pro Cycling Team) and Lawson Craddock (Cannondale Pro Cycling Team), two-time Best Young Rider at the Amgen Tour of California.

“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.

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.

Amgen Tour of California – Stage 1 – San Diego

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