Tour of California women’s field stacked

Team rosters for the Tour of California are stacked as riders from across the world descend upon northern California for four days of high-stakes racing that serve as an Olympics preview.

The women’s field includes six of the top-10 UCI ranked cyclists, including top-ranked Emma Johansson (Wiggle High5), who also took home the 2008 Olympic road race silver medal.

“I do love that we get four days of racing here because it makes it worth it,” Johansson said at a press conference on Wednesday. “You can get a really good block out of it. But looking toward Rio, and with the jet lag, it’s good to get more used to that.”

Johansson, who hails from Sweden, will join her U.S. teammate Mara Abbott, who recently won Tour of the Gila in New Mexico. They will do battle against the strongest riders in the world starting Thursday with a road race, Friday with a team time trial, Saturday with a road race and Sunday with a criterium.

11 World Champions in the field

Also racing will be 11 World Champions, including two-timer Kristin Armstrong of Twenty16 – Ridebiker, the accomplished U.S. rider who also earned two Olympic gold medals in the time trial (2008 and 2012). Two other Olympians in the lineup include UnitedHeathcare Pro Cycling Team’s Lauren Tamayo (USA), who won silver in the 2012 team pursuit, and Rabo-Liv Women Cycling Team’s Marianne Vos (NED), who took gold in the 2012 road race and the 2008 points race.

“It’s a top-class field,” Vos said. “If you look around it’s all best riders from all around the world. Especially in this Olympic year everybody is in very good form and getting prepared for Rio. It’s going to be a very tough but exciting race. And it will be suffering tomorrow especially up the final hill.”

Even USA Cycling’s Olympic track team (plus Tayler Wiles) will be in attendance just to check out the competition.

Click to look at insane full roster

Vos Johansson

Left to right: Evelyn Stevens, Emma Johansson and Marianne Vos laugh during the press conference (probably at how much they will make their competition suffer).

Knowing how to suffer

Evelyn Stevens (Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team) said her recent hour record will help her endure the pain Thursday on the first stage.

“I just rode today’s stage, and it’s actually spectacular,” Stevens said. “That finish looked super hard. Knowing I did 60 minutes pedaling and suffering – every race I do I kind of bring that into the racing.”

She added that it’s “thrilling” to see her European competitors flying over to the United States to race.

The team time trial is critical piece, and I think it could make or break this race.

Armstrong said she’s looking forward to the team time trial on Day 2.

“I think the course is a great course,” Armstrong said. “The team time trial is critical piece, and I think it could make or break this race.”

UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling’s Coryn Rivera agreed.

“We will tackle the race day by day and do our best together as a team,” she said. “We will definitely have to ride a good TTT to be in contention for [the general classification].”

She said it’s important that such a powerful field is competing this week because young riders in the United States may not have the opportunity to travel to Europe and experience the strength of the riders in this field.

‘Absolute pain fest’

Mia Manganello (Visit Dallas DNA Pro Cycling), who is also vying for a spot on Team USA for speedskating in the winter Olympics, said it’s an honor to race against the best women in the world.

“With that said, I think it’s going to be an absolute pain fest all four days,” Manganello said. “With the Olympics just around the corner, the level of intensity and each riders determination to win is going to be at an all time high.”

She said the best thing her team has going for it is that it isn’t being watched.

“We’re the dark horse,” Manganello said. “With no pressures or expectations, we’ll be able to just go out there, have some fun and race our bikes.”

Different dynamic than PRT

California native, Gretchen Stumhofer (Colavita/Bianchi), a former Stanford rower who began bike racing less than two years ago, will be testing her legs on U.S. soil after racing in Europe this spring.

The two-time collegiate national champion for University of California-San Diego said she’s ready for a hard-fought race at the Tour of California.

“I did my first block of racing in Europe this spring, and it was really eye-opening to see the depth and talent of the European pro peloton,” Stumhofer said. “With the emergence of the Women’s WorldTour and with many of the riders contending for spots on their respective Olympic teams this year, the competition is fiercer than ever. I have no doubt that the racing is going to be super fast, very exciting and tough as hell.”

Stumhofer’s teammate, Australian Lauretta Hanson said the Tour of California will give riders who race in the United States a way to compare themselves to bigger European teams.

It’s a totally different dynamic to the [Pro Road Tour] races.

“It’s a totally different dynamic to the [Pro Road Tour] races,” Hanson said. “There is so much depth and talent in this field that and it’s going to offer great racing. We’ve just had Kimberley Wells and Gretchen Stumhofer rejoin us after stints in Europe with their respective national teams so they add great knowledge and strength to our team, which will be really valuable.”

tour of california press conference


Featuring 18 teams of six cyclists, the women will face off over a 197.8-mile course during the four-stage event taking place in South Lake Tahoe, Folsom (team time trial), Santa Rosa and Sacramento. Favorites in popular categories include:

General Classification (Overall Contenders)

  • Emma Johansson (SWE) – Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling (WHT)
  • Megan Guarnier (USA) – Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team (DLT)
  • Lisa Brennauer (GER) – Canyon/SRAM Racing (LPR)
  • Lucinda Brand (NED) – Rabo-Liv Women Cycling Team (RBW)
  • Kirsten Wild (AUS) – Hitec Products (HPU)
  • Chantal Blaak (NED) – Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team (DLT)
  • Alena Amialiusik (BLR) – Canyon/SRAM Racing (LPR)
  • Lauren Stephens (USA) – Team TIBCO-SVB (TIB)
  • Marianne Vos (NED) – Rabo-Liv Women Cycling Team (RBW)
  • Emily Collins (NZL) – Team TIBCO-SVB (TIB)


  • Barbara Guarischi (ITA) – Canyon/SRAM Racing (LPR)
  • Lauren Tamayo (USA) – UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team (UHC)
  • Megan Guarnier (USA) – Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team (DLT)
  • Kirsten Wild (AUS) – Hitec Products (HPU)


  • Mara Abbott (USA) – Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling (WHT)
  • Lauren Stephens (USA) – Team TIBCO-SVB (TIB)
  • Lex Albrecht (CAN) – BePink (BPK)
  • Emily Collins (NZL) – Team TIBCO-SVB (TIB)
  • Chantal Blaak (NED) – Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team (DLT)
  • Alena Amialiusik (BLR) – Canyon/SRAM Racing (LPR)

Stage Wins

  • Emma Johansson (SWE) – Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling (WHT)
  • Marianne Vos (NED) – Rabo-Liv Women Cycling Team (RBW)
  • Linda Villumsen (NZL) – UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team (UHC)
  • Lisa Brennauer (GER) – Canyon/SRAM Racing (LPR)
  • Tayler Wiles (USA) – USA Cycling (USA)
  • Lauren Stephens (USA) – Team TIBCO-SVB  (TIB)
  • Barbara Guarischi (ITA) – Canyon/SRAM Racing (LPR)
  • Lex Albrecht (CAN) – BePink  (BPK)
  • Chloe Dygert (USA) – Twenty16 – RideBiker (T16)

NBC Sports Group will air highlights of the women’s race throughout its daily coverage of the 2016 Amgen Tour of California and will present a comprehensive highlight show featuring robust coverage of the women’s race on Thurs., May 26 at 10:30 p.m. PDT/ Friday, May 27 at 1:30 a.m. EDT on NBCSN. Race fans also can keep tabs on the action with the Microsoft Tour Tracker App for desktop and mobile as well as Voxwomen, the online women’s cycling channel, which will provide the best of the race and behind-the-scenes action to give fans and followers insight into the women’s professional peloton. Video coverage will be available at and for the duration of the race, as well as live updates throughout the week on Voxwomen social media channels.

For further information about the race and to experience it like never before with VIP Access, please

Photos by Amgen Tour of California