SAN FRANCISCO — Reigning world road race champion Philippe Gilbert and the BMC Racing Team are among 16 squads that have accepted invitations to the Tour of California in May.
Organizers of North America's largest cycling event announced Thursday that the Belgian rider will headline the team that's based in Santa Rosa, where the eight-stage tour will end May 19. Tyler Farrar will lead Team Garmin-Sharp of Denver, which has topped the team standings the last three years, a race record.
Chris Horner, the 2011 Tour of California champion, will race for RadioShack Leopard Trek. Sprinter Peter Sagan, who won five stages last year, will race with Cannondale Pro Cycling.
The other teams in the field are Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team; Orica Greenedge; Team Saxo-Tinkoff; Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team; Champion System Pro Cycling Team; Team NetApp-Endura; UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team; 5-hr Energy presented by Kenda Racing Team; Bissell Pro Cycling; Bontrager Cycling Team; Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies; and Team Jamis.
Full rosters will be announced at a later date.