LOS ANGELES COUNTY, CA - MAY 21: (L-R) Rob Britton of Canada riding for Bissell Cycling, Grischa Niermann of Germany riding for Rabobank and George Hincapie of the BMC Racing Team work in the breakaway as they pass through the Angeles National Forest during stage seven of the 2011 AMGEN Tour of California from Claremont to Mt. Baldy on May 21, 2011 in Los Angeles County, California. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Tour of California 2012 begins on Sunday. Here's a guide to local riders and teams competing in the most important American-based cycling race of the year.
The annual Tour of California, a professional cycle stage race starts on Sunday, May 13th in Santa Rose, Calif. and ends a week later on Sunday, May 20th in Los Angeles.
The eight-day race is a part of the USA Cycling Professional Tour and serves as a preparatory event for those riders who aspire to race in the Tour de France in July.
Several of the cyclers competing have Bay Area-connections either calling Northern California their birthplace or place of residence. Here's a quick rundown of those riders:
Born in/near the Bay Area:
Ben Jacques-Maynes, Watsonville, CA: Bissel Pro Cycling
Ian Boswell - Chico, CA: LIVESTRONG
Andrew Bajadali - Sacramento, CA: Optum Pro Cycling
Ryan Eastman - Petaluma, CA: Bontrager-LIVESTRONG
Logan Loader - Pacific Grove, CA: Team Exergy
Fred Rodriguez - Berkeley, CA: Team Exergy
Living in the Bay Area:
Chris Jones - California - Auburn, CA - UnitedHealtcare Pro Cycling
Levi Leipeimer - Santa Rosa, CA: OmegaPharma-Quickstep
Among the six teams competing, Bissel Pro Cycling TEAM BMC is based in Santa Rosa, CA while UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling is based in Oakland, CA.
For more news and analysis on the Tour of California, head over to SB Nation's cycling blog, Podium Cafe.