Team HTC-Columbia to compete in Tour of California

Team HTC-Columbia, a San Luis Obispo-based cycling organization, was among 16 teams invited to this year’s Amgen Tour of California, which will be held May 16-23.

Team HTC-Columbia, 2009’s top-ranked team, is led by sprint star Mark Cavendish. The fifth annual event will also feature UCI ProTour and Pro Continental teams, including three-time defending champion Levi Leipheimer and seven-time Tour de France champion RadioShack.

“In a few short years, the Amgen Tour of California has become America’s grand tour, one of our country’s premier sporting events and a showcase for the demanding and dramatic California landscape,” Team HTC-Columbia owner Bob Stapleton said in a statement. “Team HTC-Columbia will contend for both the General Classification and stage wins.”

The race, which spans more than 800 miles and eight days of stages, will go from Nevada City to Thousand Oaks.