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by Neal Rogers
March 10, 2017
Photography by Cor Vos
Team selections have been announced for the May 14-20 Amgen Tour of California and the May 11-14 Amgen Breakaway from Heart Disease Women’s Race empowered with SRAM.
America’s most prestigious race joins the men’s UCI WorldTour this year with 11 WorldTour teams, three Pro Continental squads, and two Continental teams — marking the first time Continental teams have appeared at a UCI WorldTour event.
Four programs — Astana, Sunweb, UnitedHealthcare, and Rally Cycling — will field both men’s and women’s teams at the race.
Amgen Tour of California veteran Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) returns after taking his tenth Amgen Tour of California career stage win last year; he went on to win four stages at the 2016 Tour de France and his first Olympic medal (silver in the omnium).
“I’ve been racing in the Amgen Tour of California for years now, and it’s an event I look forward to,” Cavendish said. “Not only are their courses challenging, they are incredibly scenic and attract one of the best groups of fans we see every year. From a team and riders’ perspective, it’s one of the best organized events anywhere and an event that always takes great care of the riders,” said Cavendish. “It’s become an important part of my preparation for the Tour de France because the race attracts the best, and the competition is intense. It’s always a battle but I am hoping to add some more California victories this year.”
The Amgen Tour has become known for epic sprinter showdowns, and 2017 will be no different. Cavendish will face against Katusha-Alpecin star Alexander Kristoff, world champion and all-time Amgen Tour of California stage win record holder Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe), Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix winner John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) and Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis), who holds multiple stage wins at the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España.
Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-Quick Step), Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) , and Sergio Henao (Team Sky) on the final podium of the 2015 Amgen Tour of California. Photo Brian Hodes/Cor Vos.
“Racing in California is a challenge and a joy every time,” said Sagan, winner of the 2015 edition, who capped off the 2016 season by wearing the yellow jersey for the first time at the Tour de France and then winning his second world title.
The Amgen Tour of California has also become a race where young riders can make their mark. Last year, at age 23, France’s Julian Alaphilippe became the youngest rider in race history to claim overall victory. This year could see more of the same, Following his breakthrough 2016 season, 23-year-old Colombian rider Miguel Ángel López will make his California debut with Astana, and Cannondale-Drapac will bring 25-year-old Lawson Craddock, who finished third overall in 2014 and fifth overall last year.
Teammates joining Craddock will include reigning U.S. National Time Trial Champion Taylor Phinney and Andrew Talansky, who held the national TT title in 2015 and placed fourth overall at last year’s Amgen Tour.
The course will cover more than 575 miles through 12 host cities, including Sacramento, Modesto, San Jose, Pismo Beach, Morro Bay, Santa Barbara, Santa Clarita, Ontario, Mt. Baldy, Big Bear Lake, Mountain High and Pasadena.
UCI WorldTour Teams
Astana (Kazakhstan), BMC Racing (USA), BORA-hansgrohe (Germany), Cannondale-Drapac (USA), Quick-Step Floors (Belgium), Team Dimension Data (South Africa), Team Sunweb (Germany), Katusha Alpecin (Switzerland), Team LottoNL-Jumbo (Netherlands), Team Sky (Great Britain), Trek-Segafredo (USA)
UCI Professional Continental Teams
Cofidis, Solutions Crédits (France), Team Novo Nordisk (USA), UnitedHealthcare (USA)
UCI Continental Teams
Jelly Belly-Maxxis (USA), Rally Cycling (USA)
The 2017 Amgen Breakaway from Heart Disease Women’s Race empowered with SRAM will be a four-day stage race in Northern California, held May 11-14). A winner will be decided in Sacramento on the same day the men begin racing.
Over the course of the last decade, the Amgen Breakaway from Heart Disease Women’s Race has grown from a one-day race to a UCI Women’s WorldTour stage race, earning a designation as one of the top women’s races in the world.
The 2016 edition served as a critical race for the Rio Olympic team selections. Many riders who competed — and medaled — in Rio last summer will race in California in May. The teams selected for 2017, and the riders that compete for those teams, will comprise the strongest field to assemble in the U.S. this year.
As in 2016, the Amgen Breakaway from Heart Disease Women’s Race is part of the UCI Women’s WorldTour. This year’s race will include 16 star-studded teams, half of which are based in the United States.
2016 champion Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans), a three-time U.S. national champion, will return to California to defend her title with the UCI’s number-one ranked team.
“I was so proud to win last year’s Amgen Breakaway from Heart Disease Women’s Race empowered with SRAM, the most prestigious race in my home country,” said Guarnier, who finished 2016 as the UCI’s top-ranked woman. “It was one of the highlights of my season, and I can’t wait to see what’s ahead for me and my team in California this May.”
Kristin Armstrong, Megan Guarnier, and Evelyn Stevens, on the podium of the 2016 Breakaway From Heart Disease Women’s Race. Photo: Cor Vos.
2015 champion Trixi Worrack, who suffered a near career-ending injury as a result of a crash last year, will return with her Canyon-SRAM team to take another crack at the title. Sho-Air TWENTY20’s sensation Chloé Dygert, who won Olympic silver and a World Championship ttle as part of the Women’s Pursuit Team in 2016, will return to the race this year as well.
“Last year’s competition was the first UCI Women’s WorldTour race I competed in,” Dygert said. “To race alongside my coach and mentor Kristin Armstrong [a race ambassador for 2017] and finish the week wearing the Best Young Rider’s jersey was an amazing experience.”
The Amgen Breakaway from Heart Disease Women’s Race will visit South Lake Tahoe and Elk Grove before concluding in Sacramento as the men’s race gets underway.
Astana Women’s Team (Kazakhstan), BePink Cogeas (Italy), Boels-Dolmans (Netherlands), Canyon-SRAM Racing (Germany), Cylance (USA), Drops (Great Britain), Hagens Berman-Supermint (USA), Lares-Waowdeals (Belgium), Rally Cycling (USA), Sho-Air TWENTY20 (USA), Team Colavita-Bianchi (USA), Team Sunweb (Netherlands), Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank (USA), UnitedHealthcare (USA), Visit Dallas DNA (USA), Wiggle High5 (Great Britain)