February 17, 2008 (Palo Alto, CA) – The official 2008 Amgen Tour of California pre-race press conference was held yesterday in Palo Alto, CA and here are some quotes from several of the key players who were on hand including riders, organizers and special guests.
“We are so happy and excited to be in Palo Alto on the eve of the third Amgen Tour of California. We are looking forward to 1 p.m. tomorrow, when all the anticipation is over and the guys can start riding. We believe this is the best course we’ve had; there is a good chance that the overall winner won’t be determined until the last day of the race. We have the best riders in the world, including World Champions, Olympic medalists and several riders who have worn the Yellow Jersey at the Tour de France. We have representation from the best international and North American cycling teams. Also this year, for the first time ever, we are including the Women’s Criterium, which will take place on Monday in Santa Rosa on a part of the actual race course.”
Andrew Messick, President, AEG Sports, on the 2008 race.
“First and foremost, we are delighted with all of the support we’ve gotten for the initiatives we have implemented in order for this to be a clean and fair race. We want to thank all the teams and riders for helping us manage these new protocols. There is a process by which all riders end up on the team rosters, and every team participating in this year’s race agreed to our new anti-doping protocols.”
Andrew Messick, President, AEG Sports, on the anti-doping policy.
“I think the Mt. Hamilton and Angeles Crest climbs are great new additions to the Amgen Tour of California; I look forward to those. I think I have the advantage because Stage 1 and Stage 2 go through my hometown. This race has always been an important goal of mine, no matter what else is going on in the racing calendar.”
Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana, Defending Champion, on the 2008 race.
“I owe a lot of great memories to the Amgen Tour of California. It was a very overwhelming experience to lead the race into my hometown of Santa Rosa last year. It was very emotional; I really didn’t know what to expect. I knew my friends and family would be there but what I saw was unbelievable. It was like riding into the Champs-Ã‰lysÃ©es – it was packed. When I got on the awards stage in Santa Rosa last year, I was at a loss for words. I will never forget that.”
Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana, Defending Champion, on his 2007 stage win in Santa Rosa.
“The teams, all 17 teams, are the ones who agreed to the new protocols. I think it’s time for the teams to work with the organizers to follow the rules. It is what the teams and the riders agreed to, so I’m behind it.”
Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana, Defending Champion, on the anti-doping policy.
“The competition here is at the same level as that of the Tour de France – it’s the best competition in the world. The Prologue is going to be a good gauge of competition – I’m actually a bit nervous. We are seeing a new wave of professional cycling, and I think the state of California should be proud that this new wave will start here. This is the first big race of the year. This race means a lot to us; we put this race up there as one of our biggest objectives.”
David Millar (GBR) Slipstream Chipotle Powered by H30, on the 2008 race.
“The initiatives that AEG have taken are really the future of the sport. It is all about taking responsibility and I think this is the way it should be.”
David Millar (GBR) Slipstream Chipotle Powered by H30, on the anti-doping policy.
“I’ve always enjoyed racing in the U.S., especially in California where I grew up. The more competition, the better for us – it opens the playing field. We have a great team, including some top sprinters, so I think we are really going to do our best this year. For us, we are really excited to come here; we’ve been working really hard. The guys are motivated, we are having fun and we’re stepping it up to another level.”
Fred Rodriguez (USA) Rock Racing, on the 2008 race.
“Every year we try to perform our best; we really try to go for it. We’re always trying to take the next step to reach the highest spot on podium.”
Jens Voigt (GER) Team CSC, on his team.
The Amgen Tour of California is a great race; a great race to start the season. It has a lot of big, wide roads and lots of spectators.”
Jens Voigt (GER) Team CSC, on the 2008 race.
Our team is great; we have some of the best young talent in the world. It’s a great mix of guys.”
George Hincapie (USA) High Road, on his team.
I have a lot of friends in this room; we are all professionals. We are going to try to win as much as we can and it’s going to be a battle, but in the end, we’ll still be friends.”
George Hincapie (USA) High Road, on the competition.
“This race has grown into an enviable organization. The field of riders for this year’s race is the best so far. The Prologue is as good of a start as the start in London during the Tour de France. It is going to be one great competition this year.”
Phil Liggett, VERSUS Announcer, on the 2008 race.
“There is a lot to prove this year for the world of cycling; we want to prove a point. At the moment, what we need is a clean race here, and an ongoing clean sport. Then, the sport can return to the greatness that it has always been.”
Phil Liggett, VERSUS Announcer, on the state of professional cycling.
“This race has been world-class, first-class, since day one and it’s only getting better, which is hard to believe. Looking at the field, there are some excellent riders. We’ve had some great fields compete here in the U.S. in the past, but to see this type of talent these days is phenomenal. It’s a tremendous compliment to all the partners involved.”
Sean Petty, Chief Operating Officer, USA Cycling, on the 2008 race.
“AEG and Amgen are to be applauded for the initiatives they’ve taken this year to have a stronger anti-doping protocol; it’s not pretty but it’s necessary. When you’re serous about it, this is what it looks like. I applaud the riders for making the sacrifices to support these programs. They have done it willingly because it is the right thing and the best thing for this sport. They are sending the right message at the right time. It is because the best of the best in this sport have agreed to these new protocols that we are able to do what we’re doing.”
Sean Petty, Chief Operating Officer, USA Cycling, on the anti-doping policy.
“The nice thing about life is that you learn something new every day. For the 2008 course, we listened to our critics. Although we haven’t yet achieved a mountain-top finish, we achieved a course that will allow us to see a dynamic race unfold each day. The top General Classification will be really tight going into Stage 1. You can expect to see very competitive racing, one that creates excitement for the riders. In an effort to see the Amgen Leader Jersey change on the last day, we removed the circuit finish.”
Jim Birrell, Race Director, Amgen Tour of California, on the 2008 race.
“We have a great roster, top athletes, and the Amgen Tour of California delivers a great stage on which to perform. We have unlimited potential. We have a lot of new athletes on our team and hopefully we’ll get a chance to put on a great show. This race could become a signature cycling event among the top races in the world; it has that potential. The Amgen Tour of California is great for the sport of cycling in the U.S. and great for the sport overall. You could do anything with this event. This sport has a bright future, but it needs a dramatic event like this to make it happen.”
Bob Stapleton, Owner, Team High Road, on the 2008 race.
“If the Prologue of the 2008 Amgen Tour of California is anything like last year, Sunday is going to be an absolutely great day. The competition is at such a high level that it will be a bit daunting, but I’m excited to be here.”
Rory Sutherland (AUS) HealthNet Presented by Maxxis, on the 2008 race.
“Here we are on the eve of the biggest race in America and we are excited to get started. This is a huge race and tomorrow, it’s on. I feel motivated and fresh – the whole team is ready.”
Bobby Julich (USA) Team CSC, on the 2008 race.
“My decision to race in the Amgen Tour of California is easy because everyone speaks so highly about it. We are in the beginning of the season, the weather is good and this is a good start to the season. I think that we have a good team; we have good, young riders. California is nice.”
Oscar Freire (ESP) Rabobank, on the 2008 race.
“We are delighted to be here and honored to be here with these athletes – they are inspiriting. One of the things we are most proud of is the Breakaway from Cancer initiative, which benefits the Wellness Community and the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship.”
Phyllis Piano, Vice President of Corporate Communication, Philanthropy, Amgen, on the 2008 race.
Prologue Start List
1. Iker Camano Ortuzar (Esp) Saunier Duval-Scott
2. Doug Ollerenshaw (USA) Rock Racing
3. Vincent Jerome (Fra) Bouygues Telecom
4. JosÃ© Luis Rubiera Vigil (Esp) Astana
5. John Murphy (USA) Health Net Pro
6. Dominique Rollin (Can) Toyota-United Pro
7. Edward King (USA) Bissell
8. Pedro Horrillo Munoz (Esp) Rabobank Cycling
9. Bernard Van Ulden (USA) Jelly Belly
10. Thomas Peterson (USA) Slipstream-Chipotle P/B H30
11. Julien Simon (Fra) CrÃ©dit Agricole
12. Jurgen Vandewalle (Bel) Quick Step
13. Taylor Tolleson (USA) Bmc
14. Kevin Lacombe (Can) Kelly Benefit Strategies-Medifast
15. Karsten Kroon (Ned) Csc
16. Peter Wrolich (Aut) Gerolsteiner
17. Adam Hansen (Aus) High Road
18. Michael Creed (USA) Rock Racing
19. Ermanno Capelli (Ita) Saunier Duval-Scott
20. Laurent Lefevre (Fra) Bouygues Telecom
21. Sergey Ivanov (Rus) Astana
22. Frank Pipp (USA) Health Net Pro
23. Hilton Clarke (Aus) Toyota-United Pro
24. Tom Zirbel (USA) Bissell
25. Mauricio Alberto Ardila Cano (Col) Rabobank Cycling
26. Nicholas Sanderson (Aus) Jelly Belly
27. David Zabriskie (USA) Slipstream-Chipotle P/B H30
28. Patrice Halgand (Fra) CrÃ©dit Agricole
29. Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Quick Step
30. Danilo Wyss (Sui) Bmc
31. Jonathan Mumford (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies-Medifast
32. Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Csc
33. Bernhard Kohl (Aut) Gerolsteiner
34. Thomas LÃ¶vkvist (Swe) High Road
35. Victor Hugo Grisales Pena (Col) Rock Racing
36. Angel Gomez (Esp) Saunier Duval-Scott
37. Julien Belgy (Fra) Bouygues Telecom
38. Aaron Kemps (Aus) Astana
39. Matthew Crane (USA) Health Net Pro
40. Ivan Dominguez (Cub) Toyota-United Pro
41. Benjamin Jacques-Maynes (USA) Bissell
42. Mathew Hayman (Aus) Rabobank Cycling
43. Nicholas Reistad (USA) Jelly Belly
44. Steven Cozza (USA) Slipstream-Chipotle P/B H30
45. Jonathan Hivert (Fra) CrÃ©dit Agricole
46. Andrea Tonti (Ita) Quick Step
47. Jackson Stewart (USA) Bmc
48. Nicholas Waite (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies-Medifast
49. Gustav Larsson (Swe) Csc
50. Markus Zberg (Sui) Gerolsteiner
51. Mark Cavendish (Gbr) High Road
52. Freddie Rodriguez (USA) Rock Racing
53. Eros Capecchi (Ita) Saunier Duval-Scott
54. SÃ©bAstanaien Turgot (Fra) Bouygues Telecom
55. Christopher Horner (USA) Astana
56. Philip Zajicek (USA) Health Net Pro
57. Caleb Manion (Aus) Toyota-United Pro
58. Richard England (Aus) Bissell
59. Aaron Barry Tuckerman (Nzl) Jelly Belly
60. Thomas Danielson (USA) Slipstream-Chipotle P/B H30
61. Cyril Lemoine (Fra) CrÃ©dit Agricole
62. Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel) Quick Step
63. Jeff Louder (USA) Bmc
64. Jonathan Sundt (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies-Medifast
65. Jason Mccartney (USA) Csc
66. Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Gerolsteiner
67. Gerald Ciolek (Ger) High Road
68. Mario Cipollini (Ita) Rock Racing
69. Luciano AndrÃ© Pagliarini Mendonca (Bra) Saunier Duval-Scott
70. Dimitri Champion (Fra) Bouygues Telecom
71. Andrey Mizurov (Kaz) Astana
72. Roman Kilun (USA) Health Net Pro
73. Hendricus Vogels (Aus) Toyota-United Pro
74. Burke Swindlehurst (USA) Bissell
75. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Cycling
76. Bryce Mead (USA) Jelly Belly
77. Tyler Farrar (USA) Slipstream-Chipotle P/B H30
78. Yannick Talabardon (Fra) CrÃ©dit Agricole
79. Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Quick Step
80. Scott Nydam (USA) Bmc
81. Dan Bowman (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies-Medifast
82. Juan Jose Haedo (Arg) Csc
83. Mathias Frank (Sui) Gerolsteiner
84. Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) High Road
85. Raivis Belohvosciks (Lat) Saunier Duval-Scott
86. Perrig Quemeneur (Fra) Bouygues Telecom
87. Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Astana
88. Karl Menzies (Aus) Health Net Pro
89. Jonathan Clarke (Aus) Toyota-United Pro
90. Scott Zwizanski (USA) Bissell
91. Oscar Freire Gomez (Esp) Rabobank Cycling
92. Scott Tietzel (USA) Jelly Belly
93. Danny Pate (USA) Slipstream-Chipotle P/B H30
94. Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) CrÃ©dit Agricole
95. Dmytro GRabobank Cyclingovskyy (Ukr) Quick Step
96. Darren Lill (Rsa) Bmc
97. Alexander Candelario (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies-Medifast
98. Robert Julich (USA) Csc
99. Johannes FrÃ¶hlinger (Ger) Gerolsteiner
100. Kim Kirchen (Lux) High Road
101. Rubens Bertogliati (Sui) Saunier Duval-Scott
102. Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Bouygues Telecom
103. Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana
104. Timothy Johnson (USA) Health Net Pro
105. Heath Blackgrove (Nzl) Toyota-United Pro
106. Garrett Peltonen (USA) Bissell
107. Paul Martens (Ger) Rabobank Cycling
108. Michael Lange (USA) Jelly Belly
109. Christian Vandevelde (USA) Slipstream-Chipotle P/B H30
110. Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) CrÃ©dit Agricole
111. Tom Boonen (Bel) Quick Step
112. Alexandre Moos (Sui) Bmc
113. Andrew Bajadali (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies-Medifast
114. Jens Voigt (Ger) Csc
115. Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Gerolsteiner
116. Bradley Wiggins (Gbr) High Road
117. David Canada Gracia (Esp) Saunier Duval-Scott
118. Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Bouygues Telecom
119. Rory Sutherland (Aus) Health Net Pro
120. Benjamin Day (Aus) Toyota-United Pro
121. Aaron Olson (USA) Bissell
122. Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank Cycling
123. Matthew Rice (Aus) Jelly Belly
124. David Millar (Gbr) Slipstream-Chipotle P/B H30
125. Mark Renshaw (Aus) CrÃ©dit Agricole
126. Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick Step
127. Antonio Cruz (USA) Bmc
128. Justin Spinelli (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies-Medifast
129. Fabian Cancellara (Sui) Csc
130. Oliver Zaugg (Sui) Gerolsteiner
131. George Hincapie (USA) High Road
132. Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana