PALO ALTO, CA (BRAIN)—Stage 1 of the Tour of California gets underway today with another strong field including returning champ Levi Leipheimer.
"I think the Mt. Hamilton and Angeles Crest climbs are great new additions to the Amgen Tour of California, I look forward to those," Leipheimer said. "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."
Another marquee American, George Hincapie, wants to be in the mix at the end as well.
"I have a lot of friends in this room; we are all professionals," Hincapie said. "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."
The classic voice calling the race once again for Versus is Phil Liggett. He thinks it's going to be a great competition at this year's race. But Liggett believes this race needs to serve a greater purpose for the sport.
"There is a lot to prove this year for the world of cycling; we want to prove a point," Liggett said. "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."
The race ends in Pasadena, California on Sunday, February 24.