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Tour Of California 2012: Bay Area Riders And Teams Prepare For Sunday

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.

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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.