First Eight Teams Announced for 2009 Amgen Tour of California
The 2009 Amgen Tour of California will once again bring together a world-class field of cycling teams from multiple nations, including eight of the sport’s top-rated ProTour teams. Race organizers confirmed today that entries for the fourth annual race will include Lance Armstrong and the Amgen Tour of California’s two-time defending champion Levi Leipheimer’s team, Astana, along with two of the top U.S.-based teams, Team Garmin-Slipstream (new to the ProTour circuit) and Team Columbia Highroad (previously Team High Road). Also racing will be Team Saxo Bank, which finished in the top-three of the world rankings last season and Team Quick Step, which claimed 55 victories in the 2008 season.
The 2009 Amgen Tour of California roster so far includes the following eight ProTour professional cycling teams:
• Ag2r-La Mondiale (FRA)
• Astana (LUX)
• Garmin-Slipstream (USA)
• Liquigas (ITA)
• Quick Step (BEL)
• Rabobank (NED)
• Columbia Highroad (USA)
• Team Saxo Bank (DEN)
The recently expanded 750-mile, nine-day stage race, considered to be the most important and popular race held on U.S. soil, will take the world’s top professional cycling teams from Sacramento to San Diego County from February 14-22, 2009.
"The success of the Amgen Tour of California has created a very positive reputation among the professional cycling community, which has helped to ensure the high level of competition that people have come to expect from our race," commented Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports, presenter of the race. “We have invited the best teams that the world has to offer to compete on an outstanding course. The success of the race, combined with an updated, world-class route will ensure a level of competition that is unprecedented in the United States.”
Split between teams who compete in the UCI ProTour and those who race predominately in the United States, the field of athletes competing in the 2009 Amgen tour of California will be one of the most diverse, accomplished groups of cyclists ever assembled for a stage race in the U.S. The full list of teams will be announced in January, with final rosters due in February.
“We have a great roster of top athletes, and the Amgen Tour of California delivers a great stage on which to perform,” said Bob Stapleton, owner, Columbia Highroad. “The Amgen Tour of California is great for the sport of cycling in the U.S. and great for the sport overall.”
Several of the ProTour 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.