Posted by Editor on 11/29/06
Tour of California Announces First ProTour Teams for 2007 Race
Three of the world's top professional road cycling teams will compete in the 2007 Amgen Tour of California scheduled for February 18-25, 2007, it was announced by Shawn Hunter, president of AEG Sports, promoter and operator of the 650-mile, eight-stage cycling race modeled after the Tour de France.
The Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team, Team CSC and Predictor-Lotto are the first of the expected 16 professional cycling teams to be announced for the second annual race, which was attended by more that 1.3 million spectators in 2006.
"The level of competition returning for the second annual Amgen Tour of California rivals any race in the world and proves that cyclists and fans alike are hungry for this caliber of racing in America," said Shawn Hunter, president of AEG Sports. "We are excited to welcome many of the best teams in cycling back to California to compete on another world-class course."
Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team
With the popularity of former team member Lance Armstrong and the addition this season of top-U.S. cyclist Levi Leipheimer, who hails from California, Team Discovery is one of the most recognized teams in the field. Coming off the 2006 season with 26 victories and 42 podiums, Discovery rode their way to team classification wins at the Vuelta a Espana and the Tour de Georgia. Individual riders secured stage wins and wore Leader's Jerseys in all three European Grand Tour races this year.
Closely following Team CSC in the 2006 Amgen Tour of California, Discovery took second place in the team classification, with George Hincapie (USA) securing two stage wins to finish fourth overall.
"Our Team has always enjoyed coming to California for our training camps, so when the Amgen Tour of California was announced last year, I did not hesitate to put it on our schedule," said Johan Bruyneel, directeur sportif of the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team. "I was very impressed with the organization and the crowds on the roads in just the first year of the race. Being an American Team, we are excited to come back again in 2007."
Team Discovery will hold their pre-season training camp in areas near Solvang, Calif. Many of the Santa Barbara county roads these teams will use during training will be part of the official 2007 race route, which will be announced in December.
With a first-place team classification finish in the 2006 Amgen Tour of California, Team CSC will be back to defend their title in 2007.
Team CSC performed well in the 2006 Amgen Tour of California, not only at the team level, but with individual riders taking honors as well. David Zabriskie (USA) came in second overall in last year's race and Bobby Julich (USA) took home third place overall. With the recent addition of Juan JosÃƒÂ© Haedo (ARG) from Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team, who won stages one and four in the 2006 Amgen Tour of California, Team CSC continues to strengthen its roster in preparation for the season ahead.
"The Amgen Tour of California is an event that complements our style of racing Ã‹â€ we like to ride aggressively and the course allows for that," said Bjarne Riis, directeur sportif of Team CSC. "Last year we proved our strength in this race as the first place team overall, and we are looking forward to another challenging race in 2007."
Predictor-Lotto, formerly Davitamon-Lotto, finished third overall in the 2006 Amgen Tour of California, assisted by Cadel Evans' (AUS) seventh place overall finish. Also racing last year for the team were California resident "Fast Freddie" Rodriguez (USA) and California native Chris Horner (USA).
"We are excited to be returning to the Amgen Tour of California in 2007," said Marc Sergeant, team manager of Predictor-Lotto. "We look forward to another exhilarating week of cycling in California in February."
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