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Amgen’s most competitive cycling race in history will ride through Santa Clarita for an exciting Stage 5 Finish on May 14, officials announced Friday.

The 10th annual Amgen Tour of California on May 10-17 is a professional cycling race will feature 18 of the world’s top international and domestic teams, according to a news release.

“Without a doubt, the 2015 race stacks up as the most dynamic Amgen Tour of California ever,” officials said. “Eighteen of the world’s most decorated and esteemed teams will compete for one of the sport’s most coveted titles.”

This year’s nearly 700-mile course will wind through 13 host cities, including Sacramento, Nevada City, Lodi, San Jose, Pismo Beach, Avila Beach, Santa Barbara, Santa Clarita, Big Bear Lake, Ontario, Mt. Baldy, L.A. LIVE (Downtown Los Angeles) and Pasadena, according to a news release.

The Amgen Tour of California, America’s largest and most prestigious professional cycling race will feature an unprecedented lineup of the world’s top cycling teams for 2015, according to a news release.

Race presenter AEG has increased the field over last year to include 18 international and domestic teams to compete on a picturesque but grueling eight-day route that will cover nearly 700 miles of California’s most beautiful roadways, highways and coastlines, according to a news release.

When the international field of Pro riders begins its eight-day journey in the state capital of Sacramento, eight top-ranking UCI ProTeams will lead the pack, including Tinkoff-Saxo, whose sprinter Peter Sagan (SVK) will return to California to try to add to his race record of 11 stage wins, according to a news release.

Also including team Giant-Alpecin, who will challenge Sagan’s hopes with Marcel Kittel (GER), one of the few cyclists to win sprints in all three Grand Tours; Santa Rosa, Calif.-based BMC Racing Team, an 8-time participant that swept the overall race and team classification in 2013 and is ranked second in the world; and Trek Factory Racing, which fielded a top-5 finish in last year’s competition, according to a news release.

“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, the 15th ranked rider in the world after the 2014 season and the race’s Visit California Sprint Jersey defending champion. “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.”

Adding to the Professional Continental lineup is Africa’s MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung, a first for the country, according to a news release. The team also recently became the first African-registered team to receive a wildcard invite to the Tour de France for the 2015 race.

“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 p/b Samsung. “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. Pro Road Race Champion Eric Marcotte; the San Marcos, California based Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis, whose four-time U.S. National Champion and Berkeley, California based Freddie Rodriguez will be riding his farewell season; and Team Novo Nordisk of Atlanta, Ga., the world’s first all-diabetes professional cycling team, according to a news release.

“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,” said Klein. “Year after year, we’re proud to raise the bar and deliver an even more exciting race to our supporters, partners and participants.”

“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 acclaimed sprinter who has won the first and last stages of the Tour de France for two years running for Team Giant-Alpecin (formerly Team Giant-Shimano). “I look forward to the competition and returning to the beautiful course in California.”

 

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