The American WorldTour stage race’s organiser announced that the trio of fastmen will take part in the 2018 edition of the race, as it also confirmed the routes for both the men’s and women’s races.
Cavendish will return to the race after being forced to take a year out in 2017 after suffering with mononucleosis, which scuppered the first part of the British rider’s season. Previously, he has taken 10 stage victories in the race.
“I have been very successful in California,” Cavendish said of his participation in the race, continuing: “It’s been a pretty smooth winter. I deserved a little bit of smoothness after last year. And now I’m looking for victories.”
Cavendish took his first win of the year at the Dubai Tour on Thursday, where he beat a world-class field of sprinters – including Kittel – to claim stage three of the race.
Cavendish’s stage win record in the Tour of California is only bettered by Sagan, who boasts no less than 16 stage wins. The Slovak has been become a mainstay of the race, and will vie for a seventh points classification victory in the 2018 edition.
“Building up to the Tour de France with a strong performance at the Amgen Tour of California is always an important goal,” said Sagan. “The race is one of my favourite competitions every year – always challenging competition and such beautiful scenery – and I’m excited to return and try for more stage wins this year.”
The full 1039km (645.5 mile) route of the 2018 Tour of California was confirmed, but with a note that the route may be altered in the wake of the region’s recent wildfires and subsequent mudslides.
Stage two finishing on the climb to Gibraltar Road, stage four’s 34.7km time trial and stage six to South Lake Tahoe look to be the decisive days in terms of the general classification.
New Zealander George Bennett riding for LottoNL-Jumbo took the 2017 victory ahead of Rafał Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Andrew Talansky (Cannondale-Drapac).
Amgen Tour of California 2018 stages (men)
Stage one, Sunday May 13, Long Beach to Long Beach, 133km
Stage two, Monday May 14, Ventura to Gibraltar Road, 155km
Stage three, Tuesday May 15, King City to Laguna Seca, 197km
Stage four, Wednesday May 16, San Jose/Morgan Hill, 34.7km ITT
Stage five, Thursday May 17, Stockton to Elk Grove, 176km
Stage six, Friday May 18, Folsom to South Lake Tahoe, 196.5km
Stage seven, Saturday May 19, Sacramento to Sacramento, 146km
Amgen Tour of California 2018 stages (women)
The three-stage route for the women’s Tour of California (May 17-19) has also been confirmed, with stages one and two expected to end in a bunch sprint and stage two to South Lake Tahoe providing the platform for the overall classification battle to be fought. Dutch rider Anna van der Breggen (Boels-Dolmans) won the 2017 edition.
Stage one, Thursday May 17, Elk Grove, 123.5km
Stage two, Friday May 18, South Lake Tahoe, 108km
Stage three, Saturday May 19, Sacramento, 70km