Reigning world road race champion Philippe Gilbert and the BMC Racing Team are among 16 squads that have accepted invitations to the Tour of California in May.
Organizers of North America’s largest cycling event announced Thursday that the Belgian rider will headline the team that’s based in Santa Rosa, where the eight-stage tour will end May 19. Tyler Farrar will lead Team Garmin-Sharp of Denver, which has topped the team standings the last three years, a race record.
Chris Horner, the 2011 Tour of California champion, will race for RadioShack Leopard Trek. Sprinter Peter Sagan, who won five stages last year, will race with Cannondale Pro Cycling.
The other teams in the field are Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team; Orica Greenedge; Team Saxo-Tinkoff; Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team; Champion System Pro Cycling Team; Team NetApp-Endura; UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team; 5-hr Energy presented by Kenda Racing Team; Bissell Pro Cycling; Bontrager Cycling Team; Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies; and Team Jamis.
Full rosters will be announced at a later date.
The event features eight of the world’s top-ranked Pro Teams along with UCI Pro Continental and Continental squads, representing nine countries. Dutchman Robert Gesink won the event last year.
“With our eighth edition this year, we are honored to again host one of the top fields ever assembled in a spectacular showcase for cycling fans in California and around the world,” said Kristin Bachochin, executive director of the race and senior vice president of AEG Sports.
The Tour of California begins May 12 in Escondido in San Diego County and will cover more than 750 miles, taking riders through Santa Barbara, San Jose and San Francisco before ending in Santa Rosa.
For the first time in its history, the route will go north instead of south.
Tour of California
- WHEN: May 12-19
- ROUTE: Covers more than 750 miles
- FINAL STAGE: Stage 8 starts in San Francisco before concluding in Santa Rosa
- INFO: www.amgentourofcalifornia.com