17 professional cycling teams will compete in the 2008 Amgen Tour of California, including Pro Tour teams and several top USA domestic teams to make this a world class bicycle race for an American audience.
Split between teams who compete on the UCI Pro Tour and those who race predominately in the United States, the field of 136 athletes will be one of the most diverse, accomplished groups of cyclists ever assembled for a stage race in the U.S.
"Even though the new Astana Cycling Team is making its U.S. racing debut, we are bringing numerous riders who have found success on U.S. soil in the past," said Philippe Maertens, spokesman for the Astana Cycling Team. "The riders are excited to begin the season in California and are motivated to help Levi Leipheimer defend his Amgen Tour of California title."
Along with Pro Tour teams, the growing class of top domestic teams will be represented by return competitors Health Net Pro Cycling Team Presented by Maxxis, Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team, Jelly Belly Cycling Team and Bissell Pro Cycling Team, and new competitors Rock Racing and Kelly Benefit Strategies/Medifast.
"The Jelly Belly Cycling Team is very excited about being selected by the Amgen Tour of California to participate in this year's event," said Danny Van Haute, manager of the Jelly Belly Cycling Team. "This will be Jelly Belly's ninth season in the cycling community. The team is looking forward to the competition."
Several of the 17 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.
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...i'd love to know if micheal ball's controversial 'rock racing' received a straight up invitation or if they bought their way in...it is a fact that medalist sports does allow 'bumping for bucks' in their races...
...i'd never break a confidence, so you'll have to trust me, but i know for a fact that a specific 'donation' will get a lesser american team bumped...
...hey, the racing will be great, but i do wonder about 'the rock'...