The Amgen Tour of California will have a new team in the men’s peloton, wearing the Stars and Stripes of the USA at the WorldTour stage race. On Friday, USA Cycling named 10 riders to its long list for this composite national team, which will be pared down to seven final starters.
“The Amgen Tour of California is the biggest race on U.S. soil and we are happy to be able to give the opportunity to some of our up-and-coming riders to compete alongside the best in the world and gain valuable experience,” said Jeff Pierce, director of elite athletics, road and track for USA Cycling.
The long list is composed of riders who are all in their 20s. Tyler Stites, Michael Hernandez, and Alex Hoehn are the three youngsters at 21 years of age each. The two oldest riders on the list are former national criterium champion Travis McCabe and Justin Williams, who are both 29.
This year, the seven-day race chose to include a composite national team to afford a chance for American riders on Continental teams to participate in the country’s biggest road race, May 12-18.
Up until 2018, it was common for American Continental teams to have a chance to shine under the California sunshine, facing off against an increasingly deep field of international teams. However, in 2018, one year after the race was added to the WorldTour, UCI rules kicked in to allow only WorldTour and Pro Continental teams to compete. This left many riders and teams without a high-profile event to show off their sponsors.
“As we ride towards the 2020 Olympics, we will be looking for more opportunities like the Amgen Tour of California to showcase the U.S. National Team and the amazing depth of talent we have in our riders,” said USA Cycling president and CEO, Rob DeMartini, “There is nothing more inspiring than seeing our riders on the attack in their Red, White and Blue kits.”
Tour of California 2019 USA Cycling national team long list
- Alex Hoehn (Aevolo), 2018 U23 national road race champion
- Brendan Rhim (Arapahoe-Hincapie), second overall at 2018 Joe Martin Stage Race
- Justin Williams (Legion of Los Angeles), 2018 amateur road national champion — Road Race and Criterium
- Keegan Swirbul (Floyd’s Pro Cycling), second overall at 2019 Tour de Langkawi
- Michael Hernandez (Aevolo), seventh place in stage 1, 2018 Colorado Classic
- Miguel Bryon (Arapahoe-Hincapie), fifth place in stage 7, 2018 Amgen Tour of California
- Sam Boardman (Wildlife Generation), 10th at 2018 U.S. Pro national time trial championships
- Tanner Putt (Arapahoe-Hincapie), 11th at 2018 Dwars door West-Vlaanderen
- Travis McCabe (Floyd’s Pro Cycling), 2018 U.S. Pro Criterium national champion
- Tyler Stites (Aevolo) seventh overall at 2019 Joe Martin Stage Race