February 8, 2006 – The Colavita Olive Oil/Sutter Home Winery Cycling Team has been selected to race in the inaugural Amgen Tour of California, the Tour de France-style bicycle stage race scheduled to begin February 19 in San Francisco and conclude February 26 in Redondo Beach. Director Sportif Frank McCormack made the announcement.
The roster for The Amgen Tour of California reads like the “Who’s Who” of international cycling, with 16 of the world’s top teams competing, including the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team, whose colors Lance Armstrong wore for his most recent wins at the Tour de France. The Tour of California marks the first race of 2006 for Team Colavita Olive Oil/Sutter Home Winery, which is ranked #2 in USA Cycling’s standings after just three seasons on the pro circuit.
Over 1 million spectators are expected to attend The Amgen Tour of California’s highly anticipated debut, with millions more following the competition via nightly broadcast on ESPN2. Wendy Nyberg, Director of Marketing for St. Helena, CA-based Sutter Home Winery, produced by family-owned Napa Valley wine company Trinchero Family Estates, said “I’m thrilled that the Colavita Olive Oil/Sutter Home Winery Cycling Team will be among the ‘home teams’ in The Tour of California’s debut year. We’ll be cheering for our riders as they climb the hills near our winery in Napa Valley.” John Profaci, Vice President of Colavita USA adds, “We’re proud that the Colavita Olive Oil/Sutter Home Winery squad, which combines Italy’s great food and wine traditions, will represent the sport’s Italian heritage at The Tour of California.” Profaci continues, “I applaud AEG’s commitment to establishing a world-class cycling race in the U.S. The sport of cycling can be enjoyed by people of all ages and we champion this message through support of the Colavita Junior Development Team, recreational cycling clubs, including the Colavita Southern California Amateur/Elite team which will be helping out at the Tour of California, local cycling races, community bike paths, and the Colavita Foundation for Children, which donates bicycles to children in need.”
Among the cyclists from the Colavita Olive Oil/Sutter Home Winery Team who will be competing at the Amgen Tour of California are Mark McCormack, ranked #2 in the NRC Men’s Individual Standings and a former USPRO Road Champion; Belarus-native and two-time winner of the International Cycling Classic Viktor Rapinski; Kyle Wamsley, who ranked first at the Tour of Somerville and third at the USPRO & USCF Criterium Championships in 2005; and Davide Frattini of Varese, Italy, whose career highlights include first place at La Vuelta de Bisbee and the Giro d’Italia Elite under 26. Like the Tour de France, The Tour of California is organized as a stage race, with road races, individual time trials, and a circuit race scheduled over eight consecutive days. Beginning in San Francisco, with stops in Sausalito, Santa Rosa, Martinez, San Jose, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Thousand Oaks, the route will cover nearly 700 miles by the conclusion of the race in Redondo Beach. The complete roster of teams participating in The Amgen Tour of California, race routes, and details on the health, fitness, and lifestyle festivals scheduled for the conclusion of each race are available at www.amgentourofcalifornia.com. “We are thrilled to participate in what we expect will become the annual Tour of California. We are honored to share the field with some of the best cycling teams in the world. Our riders have achieved incredible results since we joined the pro circuit three years ago,” said Frank McCormack. Jim Felt, founder of Lake Forest, CA-based Felt Racing, adds that The Tour of California is the ideal event to launch the fourth season for the Colavita Olive Oil/Sutter Home Winery Team, noting, “Fresh from training camp in Napa Valley, our riders will be well-prepared for the challenges of time trials, road races, and a circuit race over eight days.” Felt continues, “We appreciate all of the time and effort that the host cities and volunteers are investing to establish the Tour of California as a major event on the international cycling calendar.”