Final Seven Teams Announced for 2014 Tour of California
The field is locked and the stage is set for one of United States' largest and most prestigious professional cycling races, the 2014 Amgen Tour of California. In addition to the nine UCI Pro Teams announced previously, race organizer AEG today revealed it has chosen seven UCI Pro Continental and Continental teams to participate in the ninth edition of the popular stage race. Four of the top-10 ranked UCI America Tour teams are amongst the lineup.
Among the American-based Pro Continental teams are top-ranked UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team of Oakland, California, and Team Novo Nordisk, the world’s first all-diabetes professional cycling team, of Atlanta, Georgia.
Germany’s Team NetApp-Endura, whose climbing specialist Leopold Koenig won a stage in the Amgen Tour of California and La Vuelta a España last year, is honored to have been selected to participate in this year's edition of the Amgen Tour of California.
“We took the Queen stage at the summit of Mount Diablo last year, so we’ll be gunning for that victory again. It’s one of the toughest climbs in America, and tackling it so early in the race this year will make for an exciting week for sure. It’s anyone’s game,” NetApp-Endura team manager Ralph Denk commented.
“Our additional motivation is that the very same Mount Diablo is again the site of a stage finish. For our tour riders, California will be a test against some of the best riders in the world. Holding our own there is an important step on our planned path to the 2014 Tour de France. That’s why we’re aiming at a stage win and a leading position in the overall rankings,” Denk added.
“The team loves to race in California. We all look forward to the Amgen Tour of California because it has beautiful scenery, it’s warm and also incredibly competitive,” explained Leopold Koenig, who won the dramatic Queen stage of last year's Amgen Tour of California at the summit of Mt. Diablo last year. “We performed really well last year, and I’m definitely hoping to repeat the stage win at the top of Mount Diablo. That was an incredible moment last year.”
UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team finished the 2013 Amgen Tour of California third in the team standings, and features top climber and northern California native Lucas Euser and rising star Kiel Reijnen of Boulder, Colorado.
“Ever since I rushed home from the 2006 Amgen Tour of California to take a midterm exam the following morning, I knew the race would always play a special role in my career. This year, I am excited because there are two summit finishes. As a California native and the top climber on a California-based team, I plan to use the home field advantage in giving me the edge I need to succeed,” UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team's Lucas Euser commented.
The U.S. Continental teams selected for the 2014 edition of the race will include Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies, which features current U.S. National Time Trial Champion Tom Zirbel; Team Jamis-Hagens Berman presented by Sutter Home; Jelly Belly Cycling Team presented by MAXXIS, which features U.S. National Road Race Champion Freddie Rodriguez of Berkeley, California; and Bissell Development Team, which will be make their third appearance in the race under new management.
“Our team is proud to be competing in our sixth Amgen Tour of California. The race is always a great opportunity for our athletes to test themselves against the very best in the world and for our sponsors to gain exposure through a world-class event,” said Jonas Carney, Team Director of Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies.
The 2014 Amgen Tour of California, which takes place from May 11–18, will cover more than 740 miles through 12 host cities as the world's top professional cyclists compete from Sacramento to Thousand Oaks in front of many fans and an international television audience. With full team rosters yet to be announced, the race has been America’s biggest showcase of Olympic medalists, Tour de France stage winners and world champions since its inception in 2006.
In addition to the stellar roster of cycling teams that was completed today, earlier this week AEG announced that the 2014 Amgen Tour of California will feature more professional women’s racing than any previous race of its kind on U.S. soil with two days of action-packed competition. Invitations are now being extended to an elite international roster of female cyclists to compete in a circuit race surrounding the state capitol building in downtown Sacramento when the Amgen Tour of California begins on May 11. The following day, a field of nearly two dozen of the world’s top-ranked women time trialists will race the clock during a time trial in Folsom over the same course the men will ride later that day.
“With more UCI ProTeams in the line-up than ever before [due to new regulations] and the strongest field of Pro-Continental and Continental teams we have ever invited, the field this year is shaping up to be our most competitive ever,” said Kristin Bachochin, executive director of the race and senior vice president of AEG Sports.
“Our commitment to the fans and the competitors remains focused on fielding an exciting race for the top teams in the sport, as well as creating a climate for dynamic domestic teams to compete on an international platform and challenge the brightest talent in the world.”
The full 2014 Amgen Tour of California roster includes:
Team Garmin-Sharp-POC, USA
Belkin Pro Cycling Team, Netherlands
Team BMC Racing, USA
Cannondale Pro Cycling Team, Italy
Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team, Belgium
Team GreenEdge, Australia
Team Giant-Shimano, Netherlands
Team Sky Pro Cycling, Great Britain
Trek Factory Racing, USA
UCI Professional Continental Teams:
Team NetApp-Endura, Germany
Team Novo Nordisk, USA
UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team, USA
UCI Continental Teams:
Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies, USA
Team Jamis-Hagens Berman presented by Sutter Home, USA
Jelly Belly Cycling Team presented by MAXXIS, USA
Bissell Development Team, USA