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FIRST EIGHT TEAMS ANNOUNCED FOR 2009 AMGEN TOUR OF CALIFORNIA
World-Class, Accomplished Teams to Compete in February 14-22 Stage Race
‘Best Field Ever to Compete on U.S. Soil Anticipated For Nine Day Stage Race’
LOS ANGELES, December 18, 2008 – The 2009 Amgen Tour of California will once again bring together a world-class field of cycling teams from multiple nations, including eight of the sport’s top-rated ProTour teams. Race organizers confirmed today that entries for the fourth annual race will include Lance Armstrong and the Amgen Tour of California’s two-time defending champion Levi Leipheimer’s team, Astana, along with two of the top U.S.-based teams, Garmin-Slipstream (new to the ProTour circuit) and Team Columbia (formerly Team High Road). Also racing will be Team Saxo Bank, which finished in the top-three of the world rankings last season and Quick Step, which claimed 55 victories in the 2008 season.
The 2009 Amgen Tour of California roster includes the following eight ProTour professional cycling teams:
• Ag2r-La Mondiale (FRA)
• Astana (LUX)
• Garmin-Slipstream (USA)
• Liquigas (ITA)
• Quick Step (BEL)
• Rabobank (Netherlands)
• Team Columbia (USA)
• Team Saxo Bank (DEN)
The recently expanded 750-mile, nine-day stage race, considered to be the most important and popular race held on U.S. soil, will take the world’s top professional cycling teams from Sacramento to San Diego County from February 14-22, 2009.
"The success of the Amgen Tour of California has created a very positive reputation among the professional cycling community, which has helped to ensure the high level of competition that people have come to expect from our race," said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports, presenter of the race. “We have invited the best teams that the world has to offer to compete on an outstanding course. The success of the race, combined with an updated, world-class route will ensure a level of competition that is unprecedented in the United States.”
Split between teams who compete on the UCI ProTour and those who race predominately in the United States, the field of athletes competing in the 2009 Amgen tour of California will be one of the most diverse, accomplished groups of cyclists ever assembled for a stage race in the U.S. The full list of teams will be announced in January, with final rosters due in February.
“We have a great roster of top athletes, and the Amgen Tour of California delivers a great stage on which to perform,” said Bob Stapleton, owner, Team Columbia. “The Amgen Tour of California is great for the sport of cycling in the U.S. and great for the sport overall.”
Several of the ProTour professional cycling teams will hold their pre-season training camps in California, which will give residents throughout the state an opportunity to watch these elite athletes prepare for the top professional cycling race in the United States.
For more information about the teams competing in the 2009 Amgen Tour of California, please visit www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.
ABOUT THE ATOC
Since its 2006 inaugural, the Amgen Tour of California has become one of the pre-eminent professional cycling events in the world with over 100 international cyclists traversing over 700 miles of scenic state highways, back roads and coastline from northern to southern California. An extra day and more varied terrain have been added to the route for 2009 which now starts in Sacramento.
Riding for Team Astana, legendary cyclist and 7-time winner of the Tour de France, Lance Armstrong will be in the peloton, as will ATOC defending champion Levi Leipheimer of Santa Rosa. It will be Armstrong’s first race on U.S. soil since coming out of retirement.
The 2008 event drew 1.8 million spectators – the record for a single sporting event in the State of California, as well as for any cycling event ever held in the U.S. Tour officials estimated that the 2008 race generated $100 million in economic growth for the state. Local merchants in Sausalito also benefited from the influx of visitors over the race weekend.
With stunning bay vistas and waterfront views, and now the Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito will once again provide a dramatic backdrop for the Amgen Tour of California. The city is again planning a week of race-related activities for locals and visitors alike including the popular Tour de Cuisine.
The Amgen Tour of California is produced by The Anshutz Entertainment Group (AEG) -- one of the leading sports and entertainment presenters in the world with a collection of companies including facilities such as STAPLES Center, The Home Depot Center, Toyota Park, Toyota Sports Center, Anaheim Convention Center Arena, El Rey Theatre, Colosseum at Caesars Palace, NOKIA Theatre at Grand Prairie and NOKIA Theatre Times Square; sports franchises including the Los Angeles Kings (NHL), Los Angeles Riptide (MLL), four Major League Soccer franchises, two hockey franchises operated in Europe, management of privately held shares of the Los Angeles Lakers (NBA) and Los Angeles Sparks (WNBA), the ING Bay to Breakers foot race and the Amgen Tour of California cycling road race. AEG LIVE, the organization’s live-entertainment division, is a collection of companies dedicated to all aspects of live contemporary music performance, touring and a variety of programming and multi-media production. Additionally, the company has begun fully developing London’s 28-acre Millennium Dome which includes a 23,000-seat arena, the O2 and over 650,000sf of leisure and entertainment use within the ‘Dome’ and additional arenas, The O2 World on a 45-acre site in the heart of Berlin, Citizen’s Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California, Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri as well as Red Bull Park, a soccer stadium in Harrison, New Jersey and L.A. Live, a $2.5 billion sports and entertainment district in downtown Los Angeles. For more information, visit AEG today at www.aegworldwide.com
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