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Tour of California announces impressive fields for 2016 races

Peter Sagan's win in Stage 4 of the 2015 Tour of California helped set him up for overall victory, and he'll be back in 2016 to defend his title. Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Organizers announced on Tuesday the full field for the 2016 Tour of California, the largest stage race in North America, including 10 UCI World Tour teams among the 18 teams in the men's field, and 19 women's teams competing in an overlapping four-day race.

On the men's side, Tinkoff sprinter Peter Sagan will return to defend his 2015 title, along with fellow podium finishers Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-Quick Step) and Mark Cavendish (Team Dimension Data-Qhubeka), who won four stages at last year's Tour of California.

"Last season was an incredible one for me," said Sagan, who also won the world road championships last fall. "The Amgen Tour of California is one of my favorite races of the season; I've done well and had the honor of wearing yellow, and it's important to me to build upon where I left off last year."

Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing Team) will be a favorite at the Folsom Time Trial, thanks in part to his record average time-trial speed (55.4 kilometers per hour) during Stage 1 of last year's Tour de France. Team Katusha, currently ranked second in the world, will bring top sprinter Alexander Kristoff to California, after Kristoff had several head-to-head battles with Cavendish at the Tour of Oman earlier this year.

Other notable names in the field include California-based Peter Stetina (Trek-Segafredo) and 2012 Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins, who will be at the Tour of California with his namesake team as part of preparation for the Rio Olympics.

A full rundown of the entire field, which will ride nearly 800 total miles from May 15-22:

UCI WorldTour

BMC Racing Team (USA)

Cannondale Pro Cycling Team (USA)

Etixx–Quick-Step Pro Cycling Team (BEL)

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka (RSA)

Team Giant–Alpecin (GER)

Team KATUSHA (RUS)

Team Lotto NL–Jumbo (NED)

Team Sky (GBR)

Tinkoff (RUS)

Trek–Segafredo (USA)

UCI Professional Continental Teams

Direct √Čnergie (FRA)

Team Novo Nordisk (USA)

UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team (USA)

UCI Continental Teams

Axeon Hagens Berman Cycling Team (USA)

Holowesko | Citadel Racing Team p/b Hincapie Sportswear (USA)

Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis (USA)

Rally Cycling (USA)

Team WIGGINS (GBR)

The women's race -- the first stage race of the inaugural Women's World Tour -- will run from May 19-22 and include some of the top names in the sport, including American Evelyn Stevens (Twenty16-Ridebiker), who set a new UCI women's hour record last week by riding 47.98 kilometers. Stevens also won the Tour of California in 2013.

Fellow Americans Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans), reigning U.S. road-race champion and 2015 world bronze medalist, and Kristin Armstrong (Twenty16-Ridebiker), the most decorated woman in American cycling history, will also take part.

“The Women's WorldTour is coming to home soil, and I couldn't be more excited. This amazing opportunity will showcase women’s cycling on the biggest stage in our sport ... just three months before Rio,” said Armstrong, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in Time Trial and a hopeful for the 2016 Rio team.

The women's teams in attendance will be:

  • BePink (ITA)

  • Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team (NED)

  • Canyon/SRAM Racing (GER)

  • Colavita | Bianchi p/b Vittoria Women’s UCI Pro Team (USA)

  • Cylance Pro Cycling (USA)

  • Drops Cycling Team (GBR)

  • Hagens Berman | Supermint Pro Cycling Team (USA)

  • Hitec Products (NOR)

  • Podium Ambition Pro Cycling p/b Club La Santa (GBR)

  • Rabo-Liv Women Cycling Team (NED)

  • Rally Cycling (USA)

  • Team TIBCO-SVB (USA)

  • Twenty16–Ridebiker (USA)

  • UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team (USA)

  • USA Cycling (USA)

  • Visit Dallas DNA Pro Cycling (USA)

  • Weber Shimano Ladies Power (ARG)

  • Wiggle High5 Pro Cycling (GBR)