The Amgen Tour of California has quickly become the US’ top stage race. Drawing the likes of Levi Leipheimer, Lance Armstrong, Michael Rogers and a host of international cycling giants, it is already a fixture for top pro teams, especially those leaning heavily on American sponsors, like Garmin and RadioShack. The ToC will be drugged tested by the US Anti-Doping Agency, a connection that will withdraw power from the International version which had tested the event, and many others worldwide for the past two decades. The ToC drew heavy criticism in its inaugural year, 2006, by not testing for EPO, a blood boosting drug that was extremely prevalent and popular throughout the ‘90s and early 2000s. Amgen, the title sponsor of the ToC, is a pharmaceutical company that produces EPO and other drugs meant for cancer and other medical uses. The USDA will begin out of competition testing for all of its entrants 90 days before the races start on May 15th.
HTC’s Tony Martin, the 2010 winner, enjoys Cal-eh-fornia Gurls and the sweet, tingling sensation of victory.