Sports

Thanks to Lance Armstrong, Tour of California field is filling up fast

Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, of the U.S., pedals during the sixth and final stage of the Tour Down Under cycling race in Adelaide, Australia, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2009. Armstrong is scheduled to participate in the 2009 Tour of California, which includes a stage from Merced to Mariposa.
Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, of the U.S., pedals during the sixth and final stage of the Tour Down Under cycling race in Adelaide, Australia, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2009. Armstrong is scheduled to participate in the 2009 Tour of California, which includes a stage from Merced to Mariposa. Associated Press photo

Nine Pro Continental and Continental cycling teams were added to the Tour of California on Thursday, putting the field at 17 full teams for the fourth annual race.

Here's the complete team lineup: Ag2r-La Mondiale (France), Astana (Kazakhstan), Bissell Pro Cycling Team (United States), BMC Racing Team (U.S.), Cervelo Test Team (Switzerland), Colavita/Sutter Home Presented by Cooking Light (U.S.), Fly V Australia presented by Successful Living Foundation Team (Australia), Garmin-Chipotle (U.S.), Jelly Belly Cycling Team (U.S.), Liquigas (Italy), Ouch Presented by Maxxis (U.S.), Quick-Step (Belgium), Rabobank (Netherlands), Rock Racing (U.S.), Saxo Bank (Denmark), Team Columbia (U.S.) and Team Type 1 (U.S.).

The nine-day stage race will feature world-renowned riders Lance Armstrong, two-time defending champion Levi Leipheimer, three-time World Champion Oscar Freire and 2008 Olympic gold medal winner and world champion Fabian Cancellara.

The 115.4-mile Stage 4 will wind through the Madera County foothills from Merced to Clovis on Feb. 18. Cyclists will be driven to Visalia for Stage 5, which will pedal 134 miles from Visalia to Paso Robles.

TOC on TV The cable channel Versus will broadcast wall-to-wall coverage of the fourth annual Amgen Tour of California. The coverage begins with a preview show to air at 2 p.m. Feb. 7. It will continue through Stage 8, Rancho Bernardo to Escondido, to begin 2 p.m. Feb. 22.

Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen will call the race action.

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