Bissel Pro Cycling will be riding their sixth Tour of California, making them the team with the most consecutive invites. That's a big deal for riders like Bay Area native Ben Jacques-Maynes. With stages moving through both San Jose and Santa Cruz, don't be surprised if the rider puts in a huge effort for his hometown fans. Given the relative popularity of bike racing in Europe versus the US, that's something of a rare opportunity for American riders.
Bissel has brought a nice mix of veterans and young riders to the tour, using the shorter stage race to season some of their members for bigger things down the road. US National Criterium Champion Eric Young and Andrew Dahlheim are both riding the ToC for the first time and will be looking to see what they can do with their skills in the sprint stages.
The full Bissel Pro Cycling roster for the 2012 Tour of California is:
Christopher Baldwin (USA)
Chris Barton (USA)
Patrick Bevin (New Zealand)
Andrew Dahlheim (USA)
Ben Jacques-Maynes (USA)
Carter Jones (USA)
Frank Kevin Pipp (USA)
Jeremy Vennell (New Zealand)
It can be difficult for some of the smaller budget teams to compete when they're facing organizations that are larger, better funded, and better organized than they are, but don't count anyone out. There are lot of different ways to succeed in bike racing and a number of different places through the race for a rider to make his mark, and Bissel Pro Cycling has a number of riders who will look to do just that.