Zabriskie Spearheads Garmin’s California Bid
LOS ANGELES, May 10, 2013 – Dave Zabriskie, a four-time Tour of
California runner-up, can expect stiff opposition from fellow American Tejay
van Garderen when the eighth edition of America’s top stage race begins on
Zabriskie, 34, headlines a Garmin-Sharp team that also includes Belgian
Johan Van Summeren and US sprinter Tyler Farrar, who will be aiming to end the
sprint stage dominance of Cannondale rider Peter Sagan.
Zabriskie, who finished second in California in 2006, 2009, 2010 and 2012,
will be racing on home soil for the first time since serving a six-month
suspension for doping.
The sanction resulted from his testimony to the US Anti-Doping Agency in
the probe that ended with a lifetime ban of Lance Armstrong.
The 2013 edition of the Tour of California offers the sport a chance to try
to burnish a reputation shattered by the scandal in the United States, where
it already fought for recognition.
Van Garderen leads a talent-laden BMC team that also includes Belgian world
champion Philippe Gilbert in his first US start.
Van Garderen, who would love to warm up for the Tour de France with a
California victory, has made a solid start to the season with a runner-up
finish at the Tour de San Luis and a fourth-place finish at Paris-Nice.
He said the demands of a new baby didn’t hinder his recent training in
“I have had to be flexible with the weather and with the new addition to
our family, but I feel like I have gotten good work in and I am ready to
race,” he said.
Dutch rider Robert Gesink isn’t back to defend the title he won last year,
racing this month instead in the Giro d’Italia.
Chris Horner, the 2011 champion, was ruled out by a knee injury that has
sidelined him since the Tour of Catalonia. Australian Michael Rogers, the
winner in 2010, returns leading the Saxo team.
For former Tour de France winner Andy Schleck of Luxembourg, the race
offers another rebuilding opportunity after a difficult 2012 season.
He broke his sacrum – a triangular bone at the base of the spine – in a
crash at the Criterium du Dauphine last year, forcing him out of the Tour de
France and has yet to regain his prior form.
For the first time, the Tour of California will take riders on a route from
southern California northward, starting at Escondido near Sand Diego and
finishing on May 19 in Santa Rosa, near San Francisco.
America’s most important stage race will cover some 1,200 kilometers over
the eight stages, highlighted by an individual time trial on the sixth stage
and the hors categorie Mount Diablo climb on stage seven.