7 months agoby Tom Soladay

From the City of Trees to the City of Roses, Tour of California has arrived

The best male and female cyclists in the world are headed to North America’s biggest race – the WorldTour ranked Amgen Tour of California. Rally UHC Cycling is sending 13 of its men and women to tackle this grand event and chase victory on the west coast.

The team has experienced some of its greatest triumphs at the race. From Evan Huffman’s double stage winning performance in 2017 to Emma White’s Sprinter’s jersey and double-podium in 2018, the Amgen Tour of California remains the proving ground for North America’s greatest talents.

Entering its 14th edition, the men’s route sends the peloton from Sacramento to Pasadena over seven grueling stages from May 12th – 18th. The women’s race starts in Ventura on May 16th, where they will tackle the same stage finishes for the final three days of racing including the legendary ascent of Mt. Baldy.

Road captain Rob Britton enters the race after playing a vital role in teammate Brandon McNulty’s seventh overall finish in 2018. With a previous second-place finish on stage four in 2017 behind Huffman, Britton has high hopes for this year’s race.

“I’m really confident with the crew we have going to the race,” said Britton. “This will be my seventh Tour of California so I hope that my experience can help us stay out of trouble and in a good spot all week.”

ROSTER GRAPHIC

With five of the seven stages ascending between 9,000 and 14,500 vertical feet, a carefully selected roster filled with climbing talent is required. Choosing the race’s most difficult stage, however, is not hard.

“Baldy is the most difficult stage, hands-down,” said Britton. “It has the same amount of climbing in about half the distance compared to Tahoe and it’s likely to be scorching hot down there as well. Baldy is, without a doubt, the queen stage of the race. That’s where we will find out who the winner is.”

Britton’s sentiment was echoed by racing veteran and third overall at the 2018 Colorado Classic, Abby Mickey. Mickey will captain the women’s team for the hardest ever edition of the race.

“This year’s course is huge,” said Mickey. “With three stages for the women, I love that the race made them significant courses with a lot of potential for chaos. Baldy is by far the most important, it’ll be a big day. The climbing almost never stops on the way to Baldy, only the strongest will survive.”

Mickey, who is racing in her first Amgen Tour of California as a member of Rally UHC Cycling, has been targeting the race since November.

“Excited doesn’t even begin to describe it,” said Mickey. “One of my big goals this offseason was making the TOC team. It’s the only women’s WorldTour race this side of the Atlantic and an opportunity for American teams to show off so it’s a really big deal.”

Rally UHC Cycling brings some special cargo to California, in the form of six hand-painted Felt FR Disc road frames. The frames will be piloted by Mickey, Emma White, Kyle Murphy, Emerson Oronte, Brandon McNulty, and Nigel Ellsay. The “Inspired Bikes” will be auctioned LIVE during the race. All proceeds go to the UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation which provides medical grants to children and their families.

“Since long before I was a rider for Rally UHC, I have waited with bated breath for them to reveal their custom UHCCF bikes every year at TOC,” said Mickey. “The significance of this auction and the impact that it has on families in need makes me proud to be selected. This year I am riding a bike by Kaelyn, age 15, who loves biology. The bike itself is gorgeous but it’s the fact that I’ll be riding with Kaelyn in mind that will give me more courage and power going into TOC.”

Don’t miss any of the action and tune into NBCSN, NBC, and the Tour Tracker app for LIVE coverage throughout the week.

Network                    Date       Stage               Air Time (PST)
NBCSN  Sunday        5/12/19    Stage 1  LIVE    3:00pm – 6:00pm
NBCSN  Monday       5/13/19    Stage 2  LIVE    1:00pm – 4:00pm
NBCSN  Tuesday       5/14/19    Stage 3  LIVE    1:00pm – 4:00pm
NBCSN  Wednesday 5/15/19    Stage 4  LIVE    1:00pm – 4:00pm
NBCSN  Thursday     5/16/19    Stage 5  LIVE    1:00pm – 4:00pm
NBCSN  Friday          5/17/19    Stage 6  LIVE    2:00pm – 4:00pm
NBC      Saturday      5/18/19    Stage 7  LIVE    12:00pm – 2:00pm

Men’s roster
Rob Britton
Nigel Ellsay
Evan Huffman
Emerson Oronte
Gavin Mannion
Brandon McNulty
Kyle Murphy

Women’s roster
Sara Bergen
Krista Doebel-Hickok
Gillian Ellsay
Heidi Franz
Abigail Mickey
Emma White