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Amgen Tour of California announces 2015 teams

Amgen Tour of California invites 18 teams to the 2015 event, expects sprint showdown between Sagan and Kittel for race's 10th anniversary

LOS ANGELES — The Amgen Tour of California revealed the teams invited for its 2015 race, May 10-17. Organizers announced Friday that the field has been increased to include 18 international and domestic teams to contest the eight-day race that will cover nearly 700 miles of California’s roadways, highways, and coastlines.

Eight top-ranking UCI ProTeams will lead the pack, including Tinkoff-Saxo, whose sprinter Peter Sagan will return to California to try to add to his race record of 11 stage wins.

“I have had some of my best results at the Amgen Tour of California, and I want to return every year because it just gets better and better,” said Tinkoff-Saxo’s Peter Sagan, who won the 2014 sprint competition at the Tour of California. “The sprint competition will be tougher than ever because of all the talent this year, but I’m hoping to wear green again in the Golden State!”

Team Giant-Alpecin will challenge Sagan with sprinter Marcel Kittel, one of the few cyclists to win sprints in all three grand tours.

“The Amgen Tour of California has become known for legendary sprint contests, and I’m excited to get out on the battlefield again this year,” said Germany’s Marcel Kittel, the sprinter who won the first and last stages of the Tour de France for two years. “I look forward to the competition and returning to the beautiful course in California.”

Adding to the lineup is Professional Continental team MTN-Qhubeka from Africa. The team recently became the first African-registered team to receive a wildcard invite to the Tour de France.

“The Amgen Tour of California is a really competitive and important race, and we’re thrilled to join this year,” said Brian Smith, general manager of MTN-Qhubeka. “The team looks forward to returning to racing in America, and we’ll be pushing hard for a good showing. The boys are excited to make their mark in California.”

Eleven of the top U.S.-based teams will be vying to shake things up at every turn, including North Carolina-based Team SmartStop, whose roster includes U.S. national road race champion Eric Marcotte. The California-based Jelly Belly-Maxxis team will bring four-time U.S. national champion Freddie Rodriguez, who will be riding his farewell season.

“The 10th anniversary of the Amgen Tour of California is a momentous occasion, and that will be reflected in a bigger-than-ever competition with the highest caliber of teams yet for 2015,” said Kristin Bachochin Klein, executive director of the Amgen Tour of California and senior vice president of AEG Sports. “Over the past 10 years, this race has developed into the most well-regarded cycling event in the nation, and beyond that, something really special that resonates with fans around the world. Year after year, we’re proud to raise the bar and deliver an even more exciting race to our supporters, partners, and participants.”

Amgen Tour of California 2015 invited teams

BMC Racing
Etixx-Quick-Step
Cannondale-Garmin
Giant-Alpecin
LottoNL-Jumbo
Team Sky
Tinkoff-Saxo
Trek Factory Racing

Drapac
MTN-Qhubeka
Novo-Nordisk
UnitedHealthcare

Axeon Cycling Team
Hincapie Racing Team
Jelly Belly-Maxxis
Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies
Jamis-Hagens Berman
Team SmartStop