Cavendish’s Dimension Data squad have officially announced their line-up for the eight-day American stage race, with the British sprinter leading their hopes for stage victories.
Cavendish arrived in California well before the race to join a Great Britain training camp at Big Bear, where he has been riding with Sir Bradley Wiggins, Andy Tennant and other members of the GB track team and Team Wiggins.
Commenting on the Dimension Data line-up for the AToC, sports director Roger Hammond said: “We’ll look for our chances in the sprints with Mark Cavendish, but do also have all-rounders in the team that can be a surprise in the hilly stages. Nathan Haas was recently crowned the King of the Mountains at the Tour de Yorkshire. Together with Daniel Teklehaimanot and Jacques Janse van Rensburg, he will be one of our key riders for the latter part of the race.”
Also confirmed this week, defending champion Peter Sagan will head up Tinkoff’s prospects at the race. A hillier parcours for 2016 mean that the world champion will be hunting for stage wins, rather than attempting to repeat his overall win of last season.
Sagan currently holds the record for the most number of AToC stages won with 13, and Cavendish is second with nine. Last year, Cavendish secured four stage wins.
Alexander Kristoff will be part of Katusha’s team, with American Taylor Phinney (BMC) one of the home favourites for the race’s individual time trial stage.
German John Degenkolb continues his welcome return to racing after he was involved in a horrific training incident when a car ploughed into the Giant-Alpecin team. He’s joined at Giant-Alpecin by ToC regular Laurens Ten Dam.
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British road race national champion Peter Kennaugh heads up a Brit-heavy line-up for Team Sky, which also includes Andy Fenn, Alex Peters and Ben Swift.
With Team Wiggins, Sky, Cavendish and Tinkoff’s Adam Blythe on the provisional start list there’s a high possibility of over a dozen British riders taking part for the first time in the race’s 11-year history. It’s a stark contrast to the zero British riders taking part at the same time at the Giro d’Italia.
The 2016 Amgen Tour of California starts in San Diego on Sunday, May 15, and concludes the following Sunday, May 22, in Sacramento.