In all, 17 teams will be represented at the race – 13 WorldTour squads and four Pro Continental outfits in Rally Cycling, Hagens Berman Axeon, Holowesko-Citadel and UnitedHealthcare – when the race lines up in Long Beach on Sunday May 13, faced with 1,038km over seven stages before finishing in Sacramento on Saturday May 19.
Last year’s winner of the race, LottoNL-Jumbo’s George Bennett, will not be there to defend his title. The New Zealander is instead at the Giro d’Italia, where he’s hoping to continue his development into a Grand Tour rider following his 10th place at the 2016 Vuelta a Espana.
Despite Bennett’s absence, the race nevertheless boasts a slew of the world’s biggest names in professional cycling, including world champion and 2015 California winner Peter Sagan (Bora Hansgrohe), sprint superstars Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data), Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) and Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott), and overall contenders including 2013 winner Tejay van Garderen (BMC), young gun Egan Bernal (Team Sky), and AG2R La Mondiale‘s Romain Bardet, who finished second at the 2017 Tour de France, and returns to the Tour of California for the first time since 2012, when he was in his first year as a pro.
While those names are confirmed, not all of the names of the riders who will back them up in California have yet been released, but Cyclingnews will be sure to keep you updated as they come in.
Arguably the most exciting male pro rider in the world right now, Peter Sagan, boasts an almost-as-exciting squad of riders to try to help him repeat his overall victory at the 2015 edition of the Tour of California, when he just edged out Quick-Step’s Julian Alaphilippe to win the race by three seconds.
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