PRESS RELEASE: One of the strongest and most talented fields ever assembled for a U.S. cycling race has been invited to the upcoming 2010 Amgen Tour of California, AEG, owner and operator of the eight-day event, which is considered to be the most popular and important professional race held on U.S. soil, announced today. With the raceâ€™s move on the calendar to May, a compelling set of teams has been invited to the fifth-annual race.The 16-team field will be comprised of a collection of the worldâ€™s best international professional cycling teams, along with a selection of top North American-based teams. The teams will be led by prominent UCI ProTour and Pro Continental teams, such as the three-time defending champion Levi Leipheimer and seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrongâ€™s team RadioShack; 2009â€™s No. 1-ranked Team HTC-Columbia, featuring sprint sensation Mark Cavendish; powerhouse Team Saxo Bank, featuring Tour of Flanders winner Fabian Cancellara and Tour de France runner-up Andy Schleck; Liquigas-Doimo, an exceptionally promising young Italian team; Colorado-based Garmin-Transitions; and BMC Racing Team, featuring current U.S. Pro champion George Hincapie. The more than 800-mile, eight-day stage race, modeled after the Tour de France, will take the worldâ€™s top professional cycling teams from Nevada City to Thousand Oaks/Westlake Village/Agoura Hills from May 16-23.Full list and more after the break…The 2010 Amgen Tour of California roster includes the following 16 professional cycling teams:* Bissell (USA)* BMC Racing Team (USA)* CervÃ©lo TestTeam (SUI)* Fly V Australia (AUS)* Garmin-Transitions (USA)* Jelly Belly Presented by Kenda (USA)* Kelly Benefit Strategies (USA)* Liquigas-Doimo (ITA)* Quick Step (BEL)* Rabobank (NED)* Spidertech Powered by Planet Energy (CAN)* Team HTC-Columbia (USA)* Team RadioShack (USA)* Team Saxo Bank (DEN)* Team Type 1 (USA)* UnitedHealthcare Presented by Maxxis (USA)â€œThese teams, with the riders we expect to compete, represent the one of the strongest fields we have had at the Amgen Tour of California. Our move to May means that we will have Tour de France contenders in prime form racing here in the Golden State,â€ said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports, presenter of the race. â€œWe also are pleased to have a selection of top North American-based Continental teams, who will have a chance to compete with some of the worldâ€™s best riders.â€Split between teams who compete on the UCI ProTour and those who race predominately in the United States, the field of 128 athletes will be one of the most diverse, accomplished groups of cyclists ever assembled for a stage race in the United States.â€œIn a few short years the Amgen Tour of California has become Americaâ€™s Grand Tour, one of our countryâ€™s premier sporting events, and a showcase for the demanding and dramatic California landscape,â€ said Bob Stapleton, owner of Team HTC-Columbia. â€œTeam HTC-Columbia will contend for both the General Classification and stage wins with top riders Michael Rogers, Mark Cavendish and an exceptional supporting cast of athletes.â€Along with ProTour and Pro Continental teams, the domestic teams will be represented by return competitors Bissell, BMC Racing Team, CervÃ©lo TestTeam, Fly V Australia, Jelly Belly Presented by Kenda, Kelly Benefit Strategies, Team Type 1, UnitedHealthcare Presented by Maxxis, and new competitor, Canadaâ€™s Spidertech Powered by Planet Energy.â€œThe entire Fly V Australia team is looking forward to going head-to-head with the best teams and riders in the world in the 2010 Amgen Tour of California,â€ said Chris White, team director of Fly V Australia. â€œThis is the biggest race of the year for our team and a great test for our riders.â€For more information about the teams competing in the 2010 Amgen Tour of California, please visit www.amgentourofcalifornia.com.
By Karolos GrohmannBayern Munich have set their sights on a record fourth consecutive Bundesliga title when the league gets under way this weekend, with VfL Wolfsburg ready to resume last season’s hunt.Few doubt the Bavarians, already considered by most Bundesliga coaches as the overwhelming title favourites, can do it.Coach Pep Guardiola, in his third season in charge, will be looking to set more records after two dominant Bundesliga campaigns.“No team has ever won the Bundesliga four times in a row,” he said. “It is going to be tough but that is our goal.”The Spaniard may still be missing the Champions League title with Bayern but he is the undisputed king of the Bundesliga, having led his team to the title virtually unopposed in the two previous seasons.He will be fielding a somewhat changed team with fans missing their talismanic midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, who joined Manchester United and winger Franck Ribery still nursing a months-long injury.The Frenchman will miss the start of the season, including the opener against Hamburg SV on Friday (9.30pm), but Guardiola has his replacement ready.Newcomer Douglas Costa has so far been impressive down the left wing, where Ribery has ruled for years, with the Brazilian’s pace, skills and speed opening up defences.Costa, who joined from Shakhtar Donetsk, Chile international Arturo Vidal and talented 20-year-old midfielder Joshua Kimmich are Guardiola’s big transfers but with a squad already brimming with talent and experience, he hopes it is even stronger than last season.“Normally Bayern will this season be again the measure of all things,” said VfL Wolfsburg coach Dieter Hecking. “They are just too far ahead with their potential.”Wolfsburg, second last season, are seen as the strongest rivals to the title, especially after signing forward Max Kruse from Borussia Moenchengladbach but they must hold on to Belgium international Kevin De Bruyne as offers pour in.The attacking midfielder, their key player in last season’s second place finish and German Cup victory, is being courted by Manchester City with sports director Klaus Allofs saying his “head is being turned” by the offers.Thomas Tuchel has the unenviable task of succeeding title-winning coach Juergen Klopp on the Borussia Dortmund bench and must rebuild a competitive team after last season’s implosion.The 2011 and 2012 German champions look to be on track after a 6-0 aggregate win over Austria’s Wolfsberger AC in the Europa League and a comfortable German Cup first round win last week.Borussia Moenchengladbach, third last season, are also in fine form in the pre-season and with a string of transfers, including Swiss striker Josip Drmic, boosting the squad, they also eye their maiden Champions League season with confidence. read more