Meet the 29 American and Canadian Riders in the 2018 Tour of California
The May 13-19 Tour of California – now in its 2nd year as a WT race – is the biggest race on the American continent. And this year’s line-up is impressive.
3 likely sprint stages have attracted virtually all the world star sprinters: Mark Cavendish, Peter Sagan, Marcel Kittel, Alexander Kristoff, Caleb Ewan, Fernando Gaviria.
As for the GC, stage 2 with the hard climb of Gibraltar Rd (12km at 8% average) to a summit finish, stage 4 with a long an technical 34.7km individual time trial in San José and a brutal stage 6 with 13,000ft of climbing will be key.
22 North American riders from 5 WT teams and 3 PC teams will be competing. No current US road national champion in the only men’s WorldTour race in the US as Larry Warbasse’s Aqua Blue Sport team didn’t get an invitation. George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo) winner last year will not be back to defend his title.
Climber / GC
In 2016, Powless then only 19 yo, launched a stunning attack on the tough Gibraltar road. He was caught and finished fifth on the day but he definitely got a lot of attention. He will this year too. Strong TT too.
All-rounder / Climber
Kuss is LottoNL's other American neo-pro recruit for 2018. Just like Powless, he is learning his way on the biggest stages in cycling but the ToC - with Utah - is more in his comfort zone. That means watch out for him.
Fresh off a strong ride in the Tour de Yorkshire (won by teammate Greg Van Avermaet) Brent will be a contender. In 2016 he took the 3rd place overall. Plans: co-lead with Van Garderen and grab wins when possible.
Tejay Van Garderen
This is Tejay's first participation since he took the overall in 2013. This is his big chance at an overall win in a WT stage race for the year and his manager Jim Ochowicz has turned the pressure on.
Ian has been training in California for a while now. He has performed well in this race in the past and has clear GC and stage ambitions. He finished 5th overall last year while riding with Team Sky.
Stage races / TT
Team leader and spectacular double stage winner last year. Watch out for Evan.
In great form: fresh of an overall win last month at the Tour of the Gila.
TT / All-rounder
A solo breakaway stage winner in 2014, Phinney is expected to do well. His recent 8th at Paris-Roubaix suggests a great form, i.e. a great threat.
The 2017 edition was disappointing for Lawson Craddock and he hopes to do a lot better this year. This is a home race and he says that adds to the fun.
Big GC goals for this team leader. Peter is healthy again and has been training around his Lake Tahoe cabin with the aim of a first big result for 2018 and maybe erase the memory of a 2016 near-win on Gibraltar.
Kiel has been training with teammate Peter Stetina and will be the team's sprinter in a race that is a major goal of the 2018 season.
Chief sports director Thomas Craven: “TJ has been looking forward to this race and the competition. I am banking that he brings the sunshine to Santa Barbara and the Gibraltar climb.”
Declared goal: a top 10 result overall. Recent results suggest he's on form coming into the race.
His focus: the expected bunch sprint finish to 3rd stage (King City to Laguna Seca Raceway). Can he snag a win from the star WT sprinters?