Tour of California announces teams, looks for volunteers |

Tour of California announces teams, looks for volunteers

Dylan Silver

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – The Amgen Tour of California announced the 19 cycling teams from around the world that will compete in the statewide race, the largest cycling event in the U.S. The first stage of the tour will kick off in South Lake Tahoe on May 15 with riders speeding one and a half times around Lake Tahoe before ending at Northstar-At-Tahoe Resort.

Teams will include Team Radioshack, featuring three-time Tour of California winner Levi Leipheimer, last year’s general classification winner Michael Rogers’ Team Sky ProCycling, and Team HTC-Highroad, which has had more than 400 wins since 2008.

“The caliber of teams participating in the Amgen Tour of California seems to grow with each passing year, which is a great testament to the status of our race on the professional racing calendar,” said Andrew Messick, president of AEG Sports.”

Fourteen of the teams will be returning to the Tour of California while five, including Leopard Trek, Movistar and Sky ProCycling, are new to the race.

“The Amgen Tour of California is one of world’s greatest showcases for professional cycling,” said Brian Nygaard, general manager of Leopard Trek, in a statement. “It is without a doubt one of our big goals of the season, and we look forward to racing one of the most scenic and attractive races of the season with the highest ambitions.”

Management of the overall start of the race and operation of the first and second stages of the tour will require up to 710 volunteers, most of which will be offered a front row view as court marshals when the cyclists zoom past.

“Just as we couldn’t have a race without the participation of top professional cycling teams from around the world, we simply could not operate this event without the support of the thousands of volunteers who help make this world-class race a reality,” said Andrew Messick, president of race operators AEG. “Being involved in the race as a volunteer allows community members to experience this amazing competition first-hand, which is truly a one-of-a-kind experience.”

Course marshals, about 95 percent of the volunteer force, will be assigned to a designated area along the course and tasked with keeping the track clear of pedestrians, spectators and cars.

They will work with professional course marshals and inform spectators of the race’s progress.

“The reason I’m doing it because I love this community and hope that we can get more events like this,” said regional volunteer coordinator Sean Sweeney. ” Also I’m a huge bike enthusiast and can’t wait to see the top racers in the world ride the rides I get to do every day.”

Volunteering is a great way to act as an ambassador for the Tahoe region, said Andy Chapman, director of tourism.

“This is probably the biggest event to hit Tahoe since the 1960 Olympics,” Chapman said.

Other positions include distributing media credentials, working with security staff and checking in volunteers. Volunteers must be 18.

Close to 200 volunteers have already signed up and about 90 percent are from out of the area, Sweeney said.

For more information or to access the volunteer sign-up form visit http://www.Amgen

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