Tour de France team champion Discovery Channel and Team CSC, the world's top-ranked cycling team, will be among those competing in the inaugural Amgen Tour of California, a 600-mile road race starting Feb. 19 in San Francisco and ending Feb. 26 in Redondo Beach.
Sanctioned by Union Cycliste International and USA Cycling, the 16-team field will be split among teams that compete on the UCI pro circuit and those that race predominantly in the United States, creating one of the most internationally diverse groups ever assembled for a domestic professional stage race.
"The field is going to be very attractive," said Johan Bruyneel, manager for the Discovery Channel team.
The event is being staged by AEG, which owns and operates Staples Center and Home Depot Center. Amgen, the title sponsor, is a Thousand Oaks-based biotechnology firm that sponsors its own cycling team.
Bob Colarossi, managing director of Amgen Tour of California and AEG Cycling, said the goal of his organization is to bring a scaled-down version of the Tour de France to the U.S.