Final Seven Teams Announced for 2014 Tour of California
Tour of California organizers have chosen seven pro continental and continental teams, which will join nine ProTeams for 2014 Amgen Tour of California, including four top-10 America Tour teams.
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